Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid announces UAE Food Bank

The UAE is setting up a food bank to reduce food waste and feed people in need in the country and abroad.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, yesterday announced the creation of the UAE Food Bank, before the anniversary of his accession on Wednesday.

He said the initiative was part of the recently announced Year of Giving, “which aims to instil benevolence in the hearts of our people”.

Food was chosen as the first initiative of this year because it is a basic human need.

“We seek to engage numerous social organisations and volunteers in a system of giving, following Sheikh Zayed’s example of altruism,” Sheikh Mohammed said in reference to the UAE’s Founding President.

“We hope the spirit of generosity spreads in and beyond the UAE through ambitious humanitarian initiatives throughout the Year of Giving.”

The food bank will work with authorities and charities to collect excess food from hotels, supermarkets, restaurants and farms.

It will store and package the food for distribution.

The food bank will operate under the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives foundation, an umbrella organisation for humanitarian groups and programmes.

Dubai Municipality will provide operational support in line with international food safety guidelines. Volunteers will receive health and safety training.

Inedible food will be recycled for use as fertilisers, chemicals and medicinal research.

The UAE loses Dh13 billion each year in food waste, according to the Dubai Media Office. It said the food bank also aimed to help Dubai become the first in the region to achieve zero food waste.

Last year, experts at the World Summit on Food Security said more efforts were needed to reduce food waste in the UAE, calling it a global problem.

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, said the food bank reflected the UAE’s traditions and called it an “exceptional initiative”, Wam reported.