RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Sunday launched plans to reduce SR40 billion ($10.66 billion) in food waste through a national program from the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture and the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing.
During his speech at the launch ceremony and the first meeting of the board of trustees, Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing Majid Al-Hogail stressed the importance of preserving the blessings of food and the country’s Islamic teachings and values.
He said that excessive food waste and the disposal of large quantities of food were hurting food security and the Kingdom's economy.
He revealed that the volume of waste in the Kingdom had reached about SR40 billion, saying the problem needed to be addressed in several ways. The most important of these was activating the community and government to find positive ways of making use of food waste.
The goal of the program was to create a sustainable legal entity to maximize community participation in solutions to reduce food waste, he added.
The ministry aims to achieve its goals by providing a source of financial support, knowledge, logistical information, and community sources.
Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli said the Kingdom’s interest in the nonprofit sector was part of the social development aligned with the ambitions of Vision 2030.
The ministry has strategic objectives to increase the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product, and the initiative to establish the program is an essential step in supporting the growth of charitable work.
The two ministers expressed their hope that the National Program for Reducing Food Loss would contribute to achieving sustainability and enhancing community awareness around reducing food waste.
The program seeks to raise community awareness about the efficiency of consumer behavior and ways to reduce food loss and waste rates, in line with the Kingdom's Islamic values in preserving the blessings of food.