Food Waste Around the World, Episode 12: Tanzania
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 Gladness, from Tanzania!
“We usually grow up being told how much valuable and important food is but I would say that still, it is a big issue because people don’t realize it.”
Hello Gladness, thank you for participating in the project ‘Food Waste Around the World'. To start, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and where are you from?
Hello, thank you for having me. My name is Gladness Mtui and I'm from Tanzania. I'm studying International Relations in Poland and I recently moved to Amsterdam to start my internship at Sapient as a Project Coordinator.
Cool! How about the food waste situation in Tanzania? Is that a big issue?
We usually grow up being told how valuable and important food is but I would say that still, it is a big issue because people don’t realize it. The waste mostly happens during transportation, packaging, and preserving processes. We have a lot of farms and a lot of harvests but due to the warm temperature, we have many insects that often eat all the crops. At this level, a huge amount of fruit and vegetables is wasted because it is considered damaged. The other time to consider is during and after transportation that, from one village to another. It tends to be very slow, so fresh food risks going bad and getting wasted.
I see. You said that you’re living in Amsterdam. Could you notice any difference compared to what you see in the Netherlands and in Tanzania?
What I noticed is that here in Amsterdam, people are more aware of the issue and there are many active organizations dealing with it. I could also compare it with Poland, where you often see people at home and restaurants throwing away partial portions of food.
And back to Tanzania, who is really driving the attention toward the food waste issue? Is it the government, NGOs or small communities? If so do you know a specific entity doing that?
There are NGOs and organizations working actively like FAO, trying to eliminate the food waste issue from our country and other organizations that are pretty small. I know an organization called ‘Farm Radio International’ which works through radio programs to share information on agricultural practices that involve minimum food waste.
That seems interesting. Is there any initiative or attention that is given to the issue in the education system? Do you think young people are aware of the issue?
In learning institutions, students are usually made aware of the issue and sometimes even take part in different projects dealing with promoting minimum food waste. However, when we talk about action outside classroom activities, then more adults tend to be aware and take more action compared to teenagers and students in general. I also think there is not much awareness raised among people on minimum food waste because the amount of food waste either stays the same or increases in progressive years.
Education is very important to raise awareness about environmental issues. About the institutions, do you feel that your government is giving enough attention and taking enough action to tackle this food waste issue?
Right now, the government is focusing more on environmental issues like plastic pollution, leaving food waste rather unconsidered. Hopefully, they will soon realize the amount of food being wasted; especially upon harvest and after products are bought from markets and retailers.
Lastly, what do you think could be the next efficient step to manage this issue properly?
I think the main issue of food waste can be resolved through advancing and altering normal agricultural methods. Farmers should be given more incentives to improve production, education on not producing more than what is needed, and information about adequate preservation methods that will help store the food efficiently. On the other hand, there should be more active communities finding ways on how to limit food waste through the initiation of various projects.
Yeah, sustainable agricultural methods are a field that many countries are working on. Okay, that would be it. Thank you very much Gladness!
Thank you for having me!
Interviewer: Andrea Di Bernardo
Interviewed: Gladness Mtui
Editor and writer: Andrea Di Bernardo
Organizations mentioned in the interview: