Building a circular economy for food systems is key to address food waste issue

Stakeholders have , on Tuesday 26 september, convened for the 2nd multi-Stakeholder Platform Meeting, a platform estabished under the Circular Food Systems for Rwanda program with the aim of sharing ideas, knowledge, experiences and best practices to address food loss and waste, which is currently a concern both in Rwanda and globally.

The multistakeholder platform is part of the three-year project “Circular Food Systems for Rwanda which works for the transformation of Rwanda’s food systems to make them more circular and sustainable.

The platform brings together a diverse group of stakeholders including policy makers, the private sector, development partners, civil society organizations and academia to advance knowledge and build strong local understanding of the circular economy concept, its application and benefits.

Food loss and waste are currently a global challenge since approximately one-third of food produced worldwide being lost or wasted, amounting to about 1.3 billion tons annually, while many people don’t have enough to eat. Additionally, food waste is an environmental threat since it is one of the major sources of pollution.

Building a circular economy for food systems is therefore key to address food waste issue while also tackling climate change. To address the issue, food should be produced in ways that regenerate nature, food should not be lost or wasted and the commonly wasted resources should be used productively.

Speaking at the event, the Director General of the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) said that Circular Economy leads to sustainability by reducing waste, conserving resources, and minimizing environmental impact. “ For SMEs, this means cost savings through efficient resource utilization, reduced waste disposal expenses, and improved environmental protection.” He said.

“I believe that this collaboration and partnership between policy makers, non-state actors, development partners, academia and businesses will help to deeply think on the best ways and advise on innovative approaches that can be used to get the most value from the resources we have” he said.

Today’s platform meeting focused on how to support SMEs involved in production of circular economy products to meet required standards and products certification for easy market access while the next platform meetings will discuss on other aspects that include technology access, access to finance and others.

Through the program, medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be supported to adopt circular business models, and an enabling policy environment will be created to discuss such aspects to support system transformation. SMEs will also be supported for market linkages for design and commercialization of circular agrifood value chains in Rwanda

Mr. Philippe Kwitonda, the Director General of Land, Water and Forestry at the Ministry of Environment said that in circular economy, wastes are resources. “I commend how the Circular Food Systems for #Rwanda program is supporting to increase knowledge for the transformation of #Rwanda's food systems." he noted.

The Circular Food Systems for Rwanda program is a collaborative effort between national, regional, and global partners.

These partners include the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) through the Cleaner Production and Climate Innovation Centre (CPCIC) in Rwanda, the World Resources Institute (WRI), the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) Secretariat, Resonance, African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA), African Circular Economy Network (ACEN), with support from the IKEA Foundation.