Food waste is a major problem in the Middle East. A significant portion of food is discarded at various supply chain stages. A recent study commissioned by the World Government Summit (WGS), titled Food Loss & Waste: GCC Solutions for a Global Challenge, states that one-third of the world’s current food production is wasted or lost annually and focuses on the GCC countries, as they are vulnerable to food loss and waste, due to hot climate and high reliance on food imports.
The report, which was in partnership with Oliver Wyman, emphasizes the important role of governments in accelerating initiatives through legislation, increasing food waste awareness, facilitating collaboration between public and private sector stakeholders, and influencing private sector behavior through incentives.
To tackle the issue, it features innovative initiatives by regional players. Saudi Arabia aims to halve food loss and waste by 2030 as part of its national food security strategy. The UAE has developed a food security strategy to lead on the Global Food Security Index (GFSI) by 2051. Qatar has also developed a food security strategy that tackles food loss.
Mohamed Yousef Al Sharhan, Deputy Managing Director of the WGS, highlighted the importance of innovative and sustainable solutions, and the promotion of global cooperation among governments and the private sector, as a necessary action toward sustainable consumption and production.
“Food loss and waste have a social, environmental, and economic impact; therefore, working collaboratively to find and implement solutions now is paramount to the security, prosperity, and equity of our world’s future,” says Sabri Hamade, Author and Partner at Oliver Wyman.