Can we please stop wasting food? Solon tells Pinoys
In the Philippines, it’s a little ironic that there are still a lot of food wastage going on, given the fact that Filipinos naturally enjoys eating and that well, majority of the population is either within or below the poverty level.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — or approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted.
Here, each Filipino wastes an average of 3.29 kilograms of rice per year, based on a study made by Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology.
The problem is that right now, there is still no law in the country that fights the growing amount of food waste, which is something that a solon intends to address. In a bill she recently filed in the Congress, Deputy Speaker Sharon Garin of AAMBIS-Owa was straightforward in her goal: for Filipinos to stop wasting food.
“Much is needed to be done to reduce food wastage. Behavioral change is necessary to combat this problem. It is high time for the government to do its part not only for the Philippines, but also because this has become an alarming global problem,” Garin noted in the House Bill (HB) 6235.
In the HB 6235, Garin has lined up various food waste-reduction strategies that should be strictly adopted by food-related businesses, local government units (LGUs), and households once this particular bill has been passed.
Under the measure, the government should determine which businesses, such as supermarkets, grocery stores, restaurants, school and office cafeterias and other similar food establishments, will be covered by the law based on the size and customer reach.
Garin said food-related businesses will likewise be required to donate all its surplus or leftover food to accredited charitable institutions and foundations; shoulder the costs of transporting donated food from business location to the accredited charitable institutions; and ensure that donated food is unadulterated and in good condition.
In the collection, storage and distribution of food donations, a set of guidelines, such as health and safety standards, will be provided.
To encourage food donation, the bill provided that businesses will not be subjected to any civil or criminal liability arising from nature, age, packaging or condition of the donated food.
The bill also calls for creation of the Food Waste Reduction Committee, which will be composed of the heads certain government agencies like the National Nutrition Council, and the departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Social Welfare and Development, Education, Trade and Industry, Health, Science and Technology, and Interior and Local Government.
It’s a global effort.
FAO said that in total, food losses and waste amounts to roughly US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries like the Philippines.
Fruits and vegetables, plus roots and tubers have the highest wastage rates of any food.
Global quantitative food losses and waste per year are roughly 30 percent for cereals, 40 to 50 percent for root crops, fruits and vegetables, 20 percent for oil seeds, meat and dairy and 35 percent for fish.
In developing countries like ours, FAO noted that food waste and losses occur mainly at early stages of the food value chain and can be traced back to financial, managerial and technical constraints in harvesting techniques among farmers as well as storage and cooling facilities.
“Strengthening the supply chain through the direct support of farmers and investments in infrastructure, transportation, as well as in an expansion of the food and packaging industry could help to reduce the amount of food loss and waste,” FAO advised.
For its part, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines recently launched a campaign that empowers Filipinos to help transform the local food service industry, particularly through strengthening efforts towards sustainable food consumption and production.
Called “The Sustainable Diner: A Key Ingredient for Sustainable Tourism”, the project calls for collaborative discussion between the Filipino dining public and government to make the local dining scene more sustainable.
The project is being done in partnership with the Climate Change Commission and is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.