Food Waste Around the World is a Food Circle 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 Ropheka from Ghana!
“I think there's a need for more action from the government, like implementing education and awareness - illustrating what food waste can do, not just in terms of economic loss but the destruction of the environment.”
Hello Ropheka! Welcome and thank you for participating in this interview series Food Waste Around the World. To start, could you tell me a bit about yourself and where are you from?
Hi! I’m Ropheka and I’m from Ghana. I recently finished my Bachelor’s degree and am about to start my Master’s degree in Innovation Management, in Poland. Currently, I’m working at the Funding Department at Sapient.
Nice, good luck with your studies! Tell me about the food situation in Ghana, is it a big issue?
Recently it became a big issue indeed. A new report recorded that about one-third of the food produced in Ghana is wasted; 3.2 million tons of food annually. Currently, over 45% of the food produced and imported in Ghana is wasted along the food supply chain and this, of course, is observed in economic loss.
Yes, it is. Do you notice any difference in Poland, since you are living there?
I can say that both countries are trying to work on the issue. Poland has a lot of resources to help with food waste, for example, how to donate it to certain people in need or in how to convert it into other foods that you can eat. Ghana is still tackling some restaurants because when there is surplus food left by customers, they throw it away, rather than giving it to other people who could have eaten it, or making it into different dishes. In other ways, Poland is a little more advanced in its approach.
I see. Are there organizations, NGOs or small communities tackling the food waste issue in Ghana?
We have several small organizations, mostly initiated by young people because they feel the situation is getting worse. I know about an organization called Chef For Change Ghana Foundation, which unites the world's chefs and communities in transforming lives through sustainable farming in Ghana and all Africa.
There is also one charity called Food For All Ghana where volunteers collect food to donate it to people in need, hospitals, and communities. According to the charity, more than 48.000 meals have been distributed.
Wow, great job. At which stage of the supply and demand chain do you think most of the wastage happens?
I feel that waste happens in restaurants because the food is never kept for so long, especially when customers don’t finish their meal. It goes directly to the garbage and that is why one of the organizations was founded. On the consumer level, we are used to conserving our meals until they finish, we don’t throw away anything, even bones from the meat are fed to our dogs, and I think this is a habit in most families.
What about the government? Is it tackling the food waste issue somehow?
I read that a plan has been made by the government and the FAO that aims to reduce food waste by 2050, not just in Ghana but worldwide. They want to target the production level and farmers before addressing the consumer level.
Very interesting! The last question: what do you think could be the next good action to tackle this issue?
I think there's a need for more action from the government, like implementing education and awareness - illustrating what food waste can do, not just in terms of economic loss but the destruction of the environment. It should start with the government giving people a heads-up on what is going on. I never see the media driving attention on the food waste issue and this could make the people start caring about it more, and promote engagement in small daily actions.
Yes, that would be ideal. It was very interesting speaking to you. Thank you for participating, Ropheka!
Thank you for having me!
Interviewer: Andrea Di Bernardo
Interviewed: Ropheka Adofo
Organizations mentioned in the interview: Chef For Change Ghana Fundation,