Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen A. AlFadley, calls for joint efforts to stop food waste, as more than 33% of food is wasted, which costs Saudi Arabia SR40 billion a year.
"We are all responsible for food waste and its health, environmental and the economic consequences. Living a life with more sense of responsibility to conserve food is obedience to Allah the Almighty and compliance with the directives of the government," AlFadley said in a tweet announcing the launch of a campaign aiming to raise awareness about food preservation.
The campaign was launched by the Ministry in collaboration with the Saudi Grains Organization. The latter has carried out a nationwide field study on 3700 samples, as part of the National Transformation Program, that targeted 19 food commodities divided into 8 groups. The study shows that each individual wastes 184 kgs a year. And that flour and bread waste accounts for 917 thousand tons annually, while 557 thousand tons of rice, 22 thousand tons of meat, 13 thousand of camel meat, 41 thousand tons of beef, 444 thousand tons of poultry meat and 69 thousand tons of fish are wasted annually.
On the other hand, vegetables waste exceeds 335 thousand tons annually, except for some vegetables such as zucchini and potatoes as the amount of waste came to 38 thousand and over 200 thousand tons, respectively.
The Ministry confirmed that the Kingdom has achieved a qualitative shift in the rates of local production of agricultural and animal products this year as compared to years past. The Kingdom's production of milk and its derivatives reached 7.5 million tons per day, achieving high abundance and a self-sufficiency rate of more than 100%, covering 109% of local consumption, while poultry production exceeds 900 thousand tons annually, covering 60% of local consumption.
The Ministry also worked hard to cover the local consumption of agricultural products, as it was able to produce 180,000 tons of different types vegetables per month, which covers 60% of the consumption. As for the production of seafood products, it was able to cover 55% of the local consumption. It has also secure fresh food supplies from international sources in sufficient quantities that meet the individuals' need throughout the year.
The Ministry affirmed that overbuying and stockpiling leads to food waste as storing food for long periods of time will cause food spoilage and expiration. This will deprive others from having what they need and impose an economic burden on families and producers, stressing the significant role of everyone in achieving responsible consumption.
To create awareness of responsible use of foods, the Ministry and parties participating in the campaign called on followers to rationalize food consumption, by sharing our Islamic teachings that strongly advocate the preservation of food, and preserve our valuable national resources, which are reflected in the Saudi Vision 2030. The Ministry has also launched several initiatives to develop and conserve these resources.
This campaign aims also to raise public awareness about the concept of food loss and waste, as it shares several tips and ideas related to reducing food waste and making the most of leftovers.
The Ministry urges followers to actively interact and share their experiences and daily practices with others for preserving this blessing.