The Egyptian House of Representatives is considering a new draft law on regulating food waste and encouraging its redistribution, recycling and donation.
This is a step taken to cope with the repercussions of increasing population, limited food production resources, and the ongoing global economic crisis of food chain supply. Lawmaker Amira Saber who presented the bill along with one-tenth of the house members, said the bill aims at prohibiting the waste of edible food for redistribution. The new draft law has been referred to the concerned committees at the parliament for consideration.
The bill provides a number of incentives and imposes fines to encourage food service providers of retailers and restaurant owners to donate the food surplus suitable for human consumption. Wasting the eatable food is punishable by a fine ranging from 100,000 EGP (US $ 5,412) to 500.00 EGP (US $ 27,060) as the draft law stipulates, Al-Watan newspaper reported on April 18, 2022.
As per this bill, a national program shall be established by the Egyptian Food Safety Authority and the Ministry of Social Solidarity. It also prohibits the disposal of unsold food at retailers to be donated.
The law encourages recycling, besides promoting the culture of rationalizing food consumption. A study prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) showed that about 50% of vegetables and fruits, 40% of fish, 30% of milk and wheat are wasted annually in Egypt.
The draft law is being mulled amid a crisis of global food chain supply due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the largest grain exporters in the world. The global crisis has negatively affected Egypt, the largest wheat importer worldwide.
“FAS Cairo forecasts Egypt’s wheat imports in MY 2022/23 (July – June) at 11 MMT, down by 8.3% from MY 2021/22 Post’s import estimate figure of 12 MMT. Importing and buying wheat from other markets remains a viable option for government and private purchases, ”the US Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture on March 28, 2022.
In Egypt, the food waste per capita reached 91 kilograms in 2021, in comparison to 73kg, 60 Kg and 50 kg in 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively, according El Dostor newspaper depending on FAO data. The more people increase, the more waste per capita will be.
In the year 2020, food waste per capita jumped to 73 kilograms per year, and the annual per capita waste continued to jump during the year 2021, reaching 91 kilograms per capita, and that year food waste in Egypt amounted to a total of 9,136,941 tons of food. Egypt’s population reached 103 million people on February 22, 2022, domestically, by an increased rate of a child born every 20 seconds, said the state-owned Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).