Food Waste Around the World Episode 1: Pakistan
Food Waste Around the World is a Food Circle’s project aimed at providing information and raising awareness about food waste. The project is designed as a series of interviews with students coming from different countries with the aim of understanding
how this issue is tackled and perceived around the world. This is made possible thanks to Sapient, the mother company of Food Circle, which every year offers internships to students from all around the world creating a unique multicultural environment.
Today we speak with Imaan from Pakistan!
Hi Imaan, welcome to this interview and thank you for participating in the project Food Waste Around the world. To start, can you tell me where are you from and a little bit about yourself?
Sure, my name is Imaan Faruqui, I am Pakistani and I come from a city called Karachi. I've been living in Amsterdam since August. I am currently working as a project coordinator at Food Circle. Since I moved to Amsterdam I've been doing my Master's in environmental geography as well. I've always had a very keen interest in geography. Indeed, I used to teach geography in school for the last three years before I moved to Amsterdam.
Oh, nice! And what is the food waste situation in Pakistan? Is there a lot of food waste?
At the production level I haven't heard much because at this scale food is lost mainly due to energy and development issues, which are more difficult to fix. In Pakistan, one thing which is extremely common is that there's not enough electricity for everyone. So, sometimes, energy supplies are distributed in rotation to different communities and locations. This causes fluctuations in electricity that spoil refrigeration and conservation processes. I know that the government is focusing on building dams and they are looking into different energy options because this issue adversely affects communities in many ways.
So the cause of food waste at the production level is improper conservation due to energy fluctuation. What about issues like irrigation and extreme weather?
Yes also that is a problem. Heat waves are very common in the summertime and every year the temperature is getting higher and it's getting worse. This can kill and destroy the crops more and much sooner. So also due to climate change, we are suffering a lot with food loss issues.
You already told me of some actions to reduce food waste from the government and from organizations, any other initiative that comes into your mind?
You actually hear a lot more from NGOs, which are working on this issue. So I can name a couple of NGOs which are working on it. There is one that is called Rizq. I think that it was started by some students in high school that went to collect food waste from different events, or get people to donate them food that then is redistributed to vulnerable communities. Then there is the Robin Hood Army, which is very big because this is an international NGO active in a lot of developing countries as well. They focus on getting food from very large events and donate it to people in need.
Interesting...One last question for you, Imaan. Do you feel that your country is giving enough attention and taking enough action to tackle this food waste issue?
I do feel that food waste is important and the country is aware of the issue, but at the moment it is not high up on their priority list. I think that the first priority in the country is making sure that everyone gets fed.
Yeah I Imagine… even though rescuing food waste means increasing food availability, if you can rescue it in time, of course. So what do you think could be done to shift food waste up in the priority list?
I think that a good step to undertake beneficial to both issues is ensuring that there is a better food distribution. Pakistan is a big country and sometimes the road network is not well developed. This increases the time in which the food is taken from point A to point B, increasing the possibility that the food goes bad before arriving and increasing the vulnerability of communities living along. If there is a proper road system to quickly transport the food and then distribute it efficiently this can reduce the amount of food that gets wasted, feeding people who are very hungry as well.
It sounds good. Okay, that would be it. Thank you very much Imaan.
Okay, Thank you.
Editor and writer, Ludovica Viva:
Interviewer: Ludovica Viva
Interviewed: Imaan Faruqui