Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) has launched an integrated strategy to reduce food loss and waste (FLW) across Abu Dhabi. The strategy is aligned with the UAE National Food Loss and Waste Initiative, ne’ma. ADAFSA also unveiled a public awareness campaign under the slogan Together Blessings Last. The campaign aims to promote positive behaviour among all segments of society to reduce FLW.

The strategy, part of Plan Abu Dhabi to achieve balanced and sustainable development, also falls within the framework of the approved foundational plan in Abu Dhabi emirate. In addition, it supports efforts to achieve the goals of the UAE National Food Security Strategy, which aims to reduce FLW by 50 per cent by 2030, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal on responsible production and consumption.

The strategy is based on five core pillars, from which numerous initiatives are launched to address FLW practices. It encourages the community to adopt positive behaviours, reduce food consumption and conserve natural resources. The first four pillars include assessing the current situation, developing regular loss and waste measurement capabilities, setting clear policy directions and targets, and developing a legislative system to support the reduction of food waste. The strategy also emphasises community engagement and consumer behaviour change through an extensive awareness and education campaign aimed at creating a cultural shift in shopping and consumption practices and awareness of food loss.

It also aims to positively influence the market through proper planning of food supply, improving supply and demand management plans, increasing the efficiency of food use and improving recycling and treatment infrastructure.

Finally, the fifth pillar focuses on the commitment of the relevant food production and trade establishments through action plans to reduce food waste, while promoting and using modern innovations and technologies to minimise the estimated one-third of available FLW and mitigate the resulting economic losses.

The strategy aims to reaffirm ADAFSA’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) principles and efficient management of national resources, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, to consolidate the UAE's national values.

It further aims to reduce the pressure on the natural and environmental resources required for food production, ensuring sustainability for future generations. It focuses on building and developing national capacities to continuously measure, monitor and assess FLW, encouraging positive behaviours to reduce waste, and increasing economic returns to farmers and food producers while making more food available for consumption.

The strategy includes many initiatives and programmes, foremost of which is the Together Blessings Last awareness campaign, aimed at changing behaviours regarding food production and consumption from farm to table, and implementing training programmes for workers in food agricultural establishments. Additionally, it includes awareness campaigns targeting various segments of society, urging them to rationalise consumption and reduce waste to ensure food security sustainability, as good practices in handling food help to reduce food spoilage, which is one of the most important causes of FLW throughout the food chain.

His Excellency Saeed Al Bahri Al Ameri, Director-General of ADAFSA, said: "In light of our firm commitment to achieving sustainable agricultural development and its related economic, social, and environmental goals, we announce the launch of an integrated strategy to reduce loss and waste in the context of Plan Abu Dhabi, and within the framework of the approved foundational plan in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. This strategy is part of our strategic plan, which enjoys direct support from His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President of the UAE, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the Presidential Court, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority."

The strategy reflects His Highness' firm commitment to strengthening the food security system and achieving the objectives of the UAE's strategy to be one of the best countries in the world in terms of sustainability and resource conservation, in addition to achieving harmony between the strategy to reduce FLW and Plan Abu Dhabi, which is based on the concept of comprehensive and sustainable development.

His Excellency added that the strategy to reduce FLW in the emirate includes a comprehensive set of procedures and initiatives that target all aspects of the food chain, from production to distribution and consumption. It will be an effective step towards enhancing sustainability and controlling the effects of FLW.

His Excellency Saeed Al Bahri Al Ameri, Director-General of ADAFSA, said: "We are committed to achieving the goals of this strategy through a variety of initiatives and programmes, including awareness campaigns and training for workers in agricultural and food businesses. Community awareness campaigns under the theme Together Blessings Last aim to promote positive and sustainable food consumption behaviours and reduce waste. We are confident that this strategy will effectively contribute to achieving food security, reducing the environmental and economic impact of food loss, and realising a more sustainable and efficient food future.”

His Excellency urged all stakeholders in the public and private sectors, as well as all members of society, to interact positively and participate in the implementation of the strategy's initiatives and programmes to ensure the reduction of FLW and to achieve food sustainability for future generations.