Dubai is aiming to become the first city in the region to achieve zero food waste with the launch of a new UAE Food Bank.
The initiative was launched by by UAE Prime Minister and Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as part of the UAE’s Year of Giving initiative in 2017.
A non-profit charitable organisation, the UAE Food Bank will distribute food to those in need while eliminating food waste.
It will collaborate with local authorities and local and international charities to introduce an ecosystem to improve the efficiency of food storage, packaging and distribution, a statement said.
The bank will partner with food producers such as hotels, restaurants and supermarkets and farms to store and package excess fresh food. It will then work with volunteers and partners to distribute the food within and outside the UAE.
The Food Bank’s operations will begin in Dubai and will then expand to underdeveloped communities in the region and around the world, the statement said.
The Dubai Municipality will provide operational support, following an “internationally standardised” process of food collection, packaging, storage and distribution.
Volunteers will also be trained on the health and safety standards, providing support on-ground at UAE Food Bank locations and fridges.
The bank will also recycle the remnants of inedible food through industries that may benefit from it such as fertilizers, chemical and medicinal research.
Along with ensuring zero food wastage, the initiative will also benefit the UAE’s economy, as the country currently incurs approximately Dhs13bn annually in food loss, which can be redirected to benefit other social sectors, the statement added.
The initiative has been launched under the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives Foundation (MBRGI).
Sheikh Mohammed said: “The Year of Giving provides a golden opportunity for UAE citizens and institutions to maximise their philanthropic potential by launching humanitarian initiatives. We chose “food” as our first initiative as it is one of the most basic human needs. Through the UAE Food Bank, we aim to instill the value of giving deep in the hearts of our people.
“We are also inspired by the boundless generosity of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, especially during the month of Ramadan, when he provides meals to millions of underprivileged people daily.
“The UAE Food Bank seeks to immortalise these values in future generations by engaging community-based volunteers and organisations so that the spirit of philanthropy spreads beyond the borders of the UAE as the Year of Giving unfolds.”