Oxfam in Pakistan, in partnership with Indus Consortium, launched a new campaign to raise awareness against food wastage. The campaign was held at the Arid Agriculture University where speakers discussed how food waste produced globally each year is more than enough to feed the nearly 1 billion hungry people in the world. Every year, a dramatic increase in food waste is witnessed in Muslim countries during Ramadan because of lavish buffets, excessive grocery shopping and cooking large quantities of food. The Save Food Fight Hunger campaign aims to address the national problem through raising awareness, providing food saving tips, practicing moderation, encouraging residents, restaurants and hotels to prepare limited amounts of food and giving edible food to the needy through food drives and charities.
Addressing the audience the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. Sheikh Aftab said Government of Pakistan is giving attention to food security of the most marginalized segments of society. This is one of the priority areas which the federal government has taken into account, however, the citizens, civil society and private sector should also play their part to make it possible. He added that food wastage is a national issue; and in our personal capacity we should save food which is being wasted on a daily basis.
Oxfam’s Programme Director Ms. Javeria Afzal encouraged the students of Arid Agriculture University to join in the efforts to reduce food waste and discussed the need to develop better food habits and respect for the food production cycle. Ms. Afzal said, “The problem of food wastage lies in socio-cultural sensitization and behavioral change. While many food products are biodegradable, their non-consumption means the resources such as energy, water and materials used in their cultivation and production are wasted“.
Arid Agriculture University’s Vice Chancellor Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad said, Pakistan is a resourceful country and it is producing enough food for its population, but the problem lies in the management and distribution of food. Most vegetables and fruit are wasted during the supply chain process. This should be addressed through the establishment of an infrastructure from land to market.