Why it is important to reduce food loss and waste and some easy tips to apply

Worldwide, tons of edible food are lost or wasted every day. Roughly one-third of food produced globally is lost or wasted, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year. This is a concerning situation, given the fact that 800 million people around the world don’t have enough to eat.

Wasting food means wasting money. When food is lost or wasted, all the resources that were used to produce this food - including water, land, energy, labor and capital - go to waste. 

Food loss and waste negatively impact food security and food availability, and contribute to increasing the cost of food. In addition, the disposal of food loss and waste in landfills, leads to greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change.

As we celebrate the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste on each 29th September, it’s an opportunity to call for action for all actors prioritize actions and innovations to contribute to reducing food loss for food security, green growth and tacking climate change.

In Rwanda, efforts are being deployed to build a circular economy for food systems to address food waste issue while also tackling climate change. As an example, through the “Circular food Systems for Rwanda” program, Small and Medium 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

As an individual, there is also much you can do to contribute to this move. Here are some of the few easy tips to you can apply to contribute to reducing food loss and waste.

  • Buy only what you need: Make a shopping list and stick to it, and avoid impulse buys. Not only will you waste less food, you’ll also save money!
  • Ask for smaller portions: Make sure you start your meals with a small portion on your plate. You can always go back if you still need more.
  • Love your leftovers: Instead of scraping leftovers into the bin, use them as part of tomorrow’s meal, or simply reheat them as the same meal again. Remember, if you want to use leftovers, it’s very important to store them in the fridge or freezer within two hours of preparing your meal.
  • Please respect food: Food connects us all. Re-connect with food by knowing the process that goes into making it. Read about food production and get to know your farmers.
  • Store food wisely: Move older products to the front of your cupboard or fridge and new ones to the back. Use airtight containers to keep open food fresh in the fridge and ensure packets are closed to stop insects from getting in.
  • Use less water: We can’t produce food without water! While it’s important that farmers use less water to grow food, reducing food waste also saves all the water resources that went into producing it.
  • Sharing is caring: Donate food that would otherwise be wasted. Give your surplus to help those who need it.