Jordan Boosts Efforts to Combat Food Waste with National Initiative

Amman, March 31 (Petra) – Jordan is intensifying its efforts to combat food waste as part of the national initiative “No to Food Waste,” launched by the Ministry of Agriculture in November 2022, said Minister of Agriculture Khaled Hneifat.

He affirmed that Jordan is committed to taking significant steps to minimize food waste in alignment with the objectives outlined in the National Food Security Strategy 2021-2030. This strategy, coupled with its action plan for 2022-2024, aims to introduce innovative approaches to mitigate food wastage and promote awareness regarding responsible consumption practices.

In an interview with the Jordan News Agency (Petra) on Sunday, marking the International Day of Zero Waste, Hneifat emphasized the comprehensive nature of the initiative. It encompasses various programs and interventions, notably a nationwide awareness campaign aimed at fostering behavioral changes to reduce food wastage. Hneifat stressed the urgency of addressing the global challenge of food waste, highlighting its detrimental economic, environmental, and social ramifications.

According to the Food Waste Index Report 2024 issued by the United Nations Environment Program, the world discards approximately 1.3 billion tons of food annually, amounting to 132 kilograms per capita. In Jordan, the annual per capita food waste stands at about 101 kilograms, totaling approximately 1.136 million tons, which could sustain the food needs of 1.5 million people for a year. This alarming trend not only strains limited natural resources but also exacerbates water scarcity issues in the country.

The initiative is multifaceted, focusing on both entrepreneurial endeavors and research initiatives. The entrepreneurial track seeks to nurture innovative solutions for managing food waste, providing participants with training to develop sustainable business models. Meanwhile, the research track aims to establish methodologies for quantifying food waste in collaboration with the Department of Statistics, laying the groundwork for a national waste index.

Thirty-seven teams from all governorates of the Kingdom applied for the program, and the five best innovative ideas for five teams were selected. The winning teams were given $45,000 to enable them to develop their innovative ideas in addition to enabling food waste management initiatives.

The Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development and the World Food Program, is spearheading efforts to establish a union comprising associations dedicated to addressing food waste. This initiative aims to institutionalize and coordinate the activities of various stakeholders involved in food waste management.

Hneifat underscored the importance of a concerted national awareness campaign to instill a culture of responsible consumption and reduce food waste across households, restaurants, hotels, and other sectors. The campaign, slated for a one-year duration, seeks to educate the public about the scale and impact of food waste, targeting negative behaviors and promoting sustainable practices.

The campaign will be executed in two phases: the first phase will focus on raising awareness about the challenges of food waste, while the second phase will concentrate on behavioral change through social and educational interventions.

Hanifat stated that the campaign will organize efforts to create a culture of stopping food waste through schools, mosques, churches, media, and social incubators, in order to achieve the goal of reducing food loss and waste by 50% by 2030.

Against the backdrop of the climate crisis and regional conflicts, Hneifat emphasized the collective responsibility of society and its institutions in combating food waste. He urged concerted efforts to mitigate the impact of food shortages, particularly in war-torn regions like Gaza, underscoring the imperative of sustainable consumption practices to secure food security for all.

//Petra// AO
31/03/2024 13:54:12