The National Food Loss and Waste Initiative, ne'ma, has launched the Food Rescue Programme, as part of its Count Your ne’ma campaign, running throughout Ramadan.

Coinciding with Zayed Humanitarian Day, observed on the 19th of Ramadan each year to, commemorate the philanthropic legacy of UAE Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the campaign stands to remind the community to be mindful of the blessing of food and encourage simple behavioural changes to reduce contribution to food loss and waste, in line with Emirati traditions and values.

The Food Rescue Programme, as part of the Count Your ne’ma campaign, aims to save and redistribute surplus food, and reduce food waste throughout Ramadan, while contributing to reducing emissions, in line with the UAE’s national goal of reducing food waste by half by 2030.

With the active participation of 300 volunteers, including Mariam Almheiri, Head of the Office of International Affairs, the Presidential Court, and Chairwoman of the ne'ma National Steering Committee, ne’ma succeeded in rescuing and distributing 156,227kg of surplus fresh local produce, benefiting more than 5,000 families in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Sharjah. More than 4,500 volunteering hours were spent packing and distributing the ne’ma family boxes.

Mariam Almheiri said, "The UAE attaches great importance to the issue of food loss and waste, and the ne’ma initiative aims to deliver on the UAE’s commitment to reduce food loss and waste by 50 per cent by the year 2030, in line with the SDGs and especially SDG 12.3. Count Your ne’ma campaign contributes to provoking our thinking of the critical issues related to food, enabling us to promote and encourage the positive behaviours that reflect strong Emirati values, such as mindfulness and also measured consumption, enabling everyone to contribute to achieving this important strategic goal.

"I am proud to be here today with the Takatof volunteers who helped us save surplus food, and I thank all the participating partners from the private sector, and especially Silal for their contribution. I would also like to recognise all the partners whose contributions were pivotal to the success of our food rescue programme, and they are Takatof, Khalifa Foundation, HeroGo, Food and Beverage Manufacturing Group, Al Foah, IFFCO, Emirates Macaroni, Hunter Foods, Al Barakah Dates, Nutridor, Hot pack, Intercat Hospitality, Bel, Reloop."

Khuloud Al Nuwais, Chief Sustainability Officer, Emirates Foundation, and Secretary-General of the ne’ma Steering Committee, said, “ne’ma’s Food Rescue Programme is a key component of the Count Your ne’ma campaign. We are implementing this programme with a large number of partners from the private sector, and they span the entire food supply chain from farms, to distribution, packaging and transportation companies and start-ups. This underscores the importance of the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders, across the government and private sector, to achieve the UAE’s goal of reducing food loss and waste by 50% by 2030.”

During the Year of Sustainability, ne’ma is committed to promoting sustainable practices and aims to achieve zero food waste in landfills. It strives to significantly reduce food waste by rationalising consumption and redistributing surplus food to disadvantaged communities. ne’ma has also facilitated donations by promoting the culture of giving, in line with the spirit of the holy month.