A vicious cycle of food waste during Ramadan
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Reported by Tofoof AlMansoor
Arab countries produce large quantities of food waste which increases significantly during the holy month of Ramadan. Estimates show that around 15-25% of all food purchased or prepared during Ramadan ends up disposed before even being used or consumed.
The trend indicates that during Ramadan, the demand for beef, chicken and other related meat products surges by almost 50% of the normal demand, which in itself is very high. Similar is the fate of other food items such as vegetables, fruits and dairy products, which are emptied out of the shelves quickly in supermarkets during religious occasions.
During Ramadan, people tend to buy more than their normal necessities for self-consumption and for preparing meals for their guests, as this is the norm during the holy month. Due to the limited quantity of food that is consumed by people, most of it goes to waste as Fatoor is not usually eaten for Sahoor.
The demand for fresh food increases as most people opt for spending extra for better quality of food, and this creates the vicious cycle of food wastage. It is environmentally and morally considered offensive that as a society we have become so casual about the basic raw materials of life.
The Ministry of Municipalities Affairs and Agriculture has called for rationalisation of food consumption during the month of Ramadan by releasing a video that encourages people to purchase food commodities in a moderate amount and adopt wiser consumption habits.
A non-profit organisation called Conserving Bounties Society (CBS), which is licensed by the Ministry of Social Development, has been formed to combat the food waste issue in Bahrain. It collects surplus food that has not been consumed and distributes it to families, expatriate workers and individuals in need throughout the Kingdom.
CBS reported that this initiative has helped in reducing the amount of food excess that is sent to the municipality’s landfill in Askar, the only existing landfill in Bahrain which will reach its capacity soon, raising an environmental concern to the surrounding areas.