00:00:00 IGIHE NETWORK KINYARWANDA ENGLISH FRANCAIS

Call to action on food waste constituting nearly 70% of garbage at Nduba landfill

By IGIHE
On 6 juin 2022 at 06:07

Food waste is an issue of global concern. In Rwanda, 40% of total food production is lost and wasted every year. The percentage is equivalent to the produce harvested from 21% of arable land across the country.

Food “waste” refers to food that is fit for consumption but consciously discarded at the retail or consumption phases.

The research carried out recently by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) has indicated that Kigali City alone generates 500 tons of garbage every day of which 70% is ‘food waste’.

The research also shows that every household in Kigali City generates 164 kilograms of food waste annually while 2,075,405 tons of food waste is collected from all households in Kigali every year.

Despite the large quantities of wasted food, 19% of the country’s population does not have enough food.

The food waste is harmful to the environment and constitutes 8% of greenhouse gas emissions. The wasted food also constitutes at least 8% and 12% of agricultural produce.

Shaffy Niyoyita, Agriculture Specialist at RAB has pointed out different reasons leading to food spoilage. Among them, he cited lack of proper post-harvest handling particularly for some crops like vegetables and fruits. He also pointed out mindset as another factor.

The management of Nduba dumpsite in Gasabo District has revealed that the majority of food waste is collected from households. These include leftovers and spoiled food over buying excess quantities among others.

The City of Kigali has delegated a committee to design strategies meant to reduce food waste and determine how they could be reused to produce something else beneficial to the community.

The team has been training different segments of waste producers including hotels, restaurants, food vendors and schools to seek how food waste can be reduced.

Janviere Niyongira, a vendor of fruits at Gahoromani market in Gasabo District is one of trainees who disclosed how food spoilage incurs big losses.

“The foods are mostly spoiled in case we don’t have clients yet we have enough in store. When food commodities are damaged, a vendor is likely to sell at a giveaway price,” she said.

Kigali City Vice Mayor in Charge of Urbanization and Infrastructure, Dr. Merard Mpabwanamaguru has advised vendors of food commodities to properly store their merchandise to prevent damages or losses.

“We want to ensure proper management of foods instead of wasting them. They should be used appropriately and well preserved. There are some merchandises including rotted mangoes, several types of fruits and vegetables dumped at landfills because they were not properly stored,” he noted.

Call to action

Dr. Mpabwanamaguru has said that Kigali city is sensitizing vendors on proper handling of agricultural produce and place orders matching with clients’ expectations.

“First of all, a vendor must estimate the quantity of sales, circumstances under which they are spoiled and determine what should be their role to avoid loss. He/she might place order for small quantities, consider the nature of container and time to buy new merchandise,” he said.

The Executive Director of Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative (RWARRI), Bel Ange Uwizeye has observed that Rwandans need to be sensitized on how to reduce wasted foods that could save many.

“Some of large grocery stores keep foods until they are expired and thrown away. Isn’t there a way of introducing a technology to detect merchandises about to get spoiled to sell them on discount or distribute them for free ?” she wondered.

Niyoyita has explained that launching a campaign mobilizing people not to buy excessive quantities beyond needed consumption would be helpful to tackle the issue of wasted foods.

Some of projects in pipeline expected to address the issue include the launch of a website helping vendors to market their produce and link them to buyers.

Other recommended measures include mobilizations among traders to use fridges to keep fruits and vegetables fresh as well as producing compost from waste and ‘briquette fuel’ as one of the alternative source of cooking energy.

Niyoyita has also indicated that a committee at village or cell level would be of great help to collect foods from those with excess in storage to be distributed to the needy.

Vendors are being sensitized on proper handling of agricultural produce.
The Executive Director of Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative (RWARRI), Bel Ange Uwizeye has observed that Rwandans need to be sensitized on how to reduce wasted foods.
Kigali City Vice Mayor in Charge of Urbanization and Infrastructure, Dr. Merard Mpabwanamaguru has revealed that they are sensitizing vendors on efficient post harvest handling.

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