Food Waste
Food Waste Marek Studzinski/Unsplash

The UAE National Food Loss and Waste Initiative Ne'ma announced a new nationwide Ramadan campaign, "Count Your Ne'ma" (Count Your Blessings), to reduce food wastage in the holy month.

According to a survey conducted by ne'ma, 85 percent of participants recognize food waste as a crucial issue in the Middle Eastern country.

Ne'ma initiative, a collaboration between Emirates Foundation and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, aims to promote mindful food consumption and encourage individuals to reduce waste and adopt sustainable practices, especially during Ramadan. This one-month-long campaign emphasizes habits like meal planning, serving smaller portions, proper food storage, and sharing excess food with those in need.

Khuloud Hasan Al Nuwais, Chief Sustainability Officer of Emirates Foundation and ne'ma Committee Secretary-General, called this campaign a "call to action for individuals, businesses, government entities, and communities to unite and make a difference," WAM reported.

"Through simple changes in behaviors and mindful consumption practices, we can all play a role in ending food waste. As we observe Ramadan, we must be mindful of the significant food waste issue that's often associated with the holy month," he added.

Al Nowais noted that the "Count Your Ne'ma" campaign will help people reflect and replace existing wasteful habits with others that are more aligned with the Emirati values of moderation, consideration, and mindfulness.

"We invite everyone to join our movement and work towards making the UAE a country where no food is wasted because we can all contribute to this ambitious effort," he said.

Food wastage not only has notable economic and social effects but also poses a considerable environmental problem. Last year, ne'ma prevented over 1 million kg of food from ending up in landfills, saving 2.4 million kg of CO2 emissions. There are hundreds of organizations that pledged to Ne'ma, promising to actively reduce food waste.

So far, over 270 hospitality sector partners are registered and reporting data on the Ne'ma Data Hub, including leading hotel chains Hilton, Accor, Rotana, Marriott, and Jumeirah, among others.

Earlier this year, the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Safety Authority (ADAFSA) collaborated with Ne'ma on the "Together Blessings Last" Ramadan trial for the hospitality sector to reduce food wastage.