rawalpindi - A new campaign to raise awareness about food waste has been launched at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) in collaboration with Oxfam in Pakistan and the Indus Consortium, varsity spokesperson informed on Friday.

The ‘Save Food Fight Hunger’ campaign aims to address the national problem through raising awareness, providing food saving tips, practicing moderation, encouraging residents, restaurants and hotels to prepare limited amounts of food and giving edible food to the needy through food drives and charities.

In Pakistan enough food is produced to feed the entire population but because of food waste an estimated 6 out of 10 people go to bed hungry.

On the Global Hunger Index out of 118 developing countries, Pakistan is ranked at 107. To add to these alarming statistics, it is estimated that 40 per cent of food is wasted in Pakistan.

Addressing the audience on the topic of food security the Shaikh Aftab Ahmed, Federal Minster for Parliamentary Affairs, who was chief guest on the occasion said, “The Government of Pakistan is giving attention to food security of the most marginalised segments of society. This is one of the priority areas which the federal government has taken into account, however, the citizens, civil society and private sector should also play their part to make it possible.” He added, “Food wastage is a national issue; and in our personal capacity we should save food which is being wasted on daily basis.”

Prof Dr Rai Niaz Ahmed, Vice Chancellor, Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi said, “Pakistan is a resourceful country and it is producing enough food for its population, but the problem lies in the management and distribution of food. Most vegetables and fruit are wasted during the supply chain process. This should be addressed through the establishment of an infrastructure from land to market.”

Oxfam’s Programme Director, Javeria Afzal encouraged the students of Arid Agriculture University to join in the efforts to reduce food waste and discussed the need to develop better food habits and respect for the food production cycle. Afzal said, “The problem of food wastage lies in socio-cultural sensitization and behavioural change. While many food products are biodegradable, their non-consumption means the resources such as energy, water and materials used in their cultivation and production are wasted.”

Indus Consortium’s National Coordinator Hussain Jarwar, requested the attending students, teachers and other civil society actors to sensitise their family members to not waste food either cooked or uncooked.

The food awareness campaign is part of Oxfam’s GROW campaign, a global initiative since 2013, to build a better food system: one that sustainably feeds a growing population and empowers poor people to earn a living, feed their families, and thrive. Oxfam in Pakistan’s GROW campaign is about bringing people together to create solutions—for food, fairness, and the future of our planet. Join us and together, we can win the fight against hunger.