Misery rears its ugly head on the dinner table for about 795 million people in the world who suffer from severe hunger and malnutrition. And out of them, almost half a million people living below the poverty line are Albanians, which represents almost 15% of the whole Albanian population.
These people have around 1 Euro a day to cope with their personal expenses. Nationally, the average family spends 58.5% of their budget on food expenses. However, the lower the family budget, the greater percentage is used for daily food.
While people starve, around 1.3bn tons of food, about a third of all that is produced globally, is wasted, including about 45% of all fruit and vegetables, 35% of fish and seafood, 30% of cereals, 20% of dairy products and 20% of meat.
Food waste in Albania is also at alarming level, where about 30-40 % of the fruits and vegetables are wasted from production to the market. That figure accounts for up to 50% of fruits and veggies from production to exports and about 2% from supermarkets.
Spending on food in Albania continues to be high on the agenda. Food occupies about 63% of the family budget. Other useful expenditures as reconstruction, housing equipment, etc. are calculated about 12% of the total budget with a higher distribution in urban areas, especially in Tirana where they go around 15%. While in rural areas, expenses for edible consumption are high. About 31% are provided by their products. While marginalized families may use up to 80% of their budget on food.
This imbalance must be corrected. But how does the food we waste in our homes actually affect hungry children? Does it actually matter?
Let’s imagine a pile of bananas, grown and produced in a developing country, transported all the way across the globe to Albania or to any Western country, just to be wasted because we don’t like them turning brown. People in the very same developing country lack food. Imagine looking those hungry people in the eyes and telling them that the good bananas grown in their very own country are being thrown away just as fast as they arrive.
In Europe there are already being passed laws that ban food dumping. A recently passed law in France will make it illegal for supermarkets to throw away food that is still edible. Starting in July 2016, French supermarkets cannot dump food that otherwise they would have tossed away at or near their expiration dates. Instead they will have to donate it to the poors.
Italy as well is about to pass a bill to stop food waste. What about Albania? Despite some sporadic movements, there are no official measures, like a law to ban food waste.
A food bank is a non-profit organization that uses the excess food that society produces to feed the needy. And Albania has one too, where it recovers food free of charge from the food industry, retail stores and through donations from food aid programs and individuals. This food is then distributed to charitable organizations and social services that support people in need.
Food banks serve to fight against food waste, hunger and poverty. This not only helps people in need but also provides valuable environmental and social benefits. They represent the desire of society to take care of its least fortunate members and operate based on the principals of donation and sharing. With the global population growing producing food is becoming more and more challenging. It’s quickly becoming like gold. And we guess that you don’t throw gold.
According to the United Nations, if the amount of food wasted around the world were reduced by just 25% there would be enough food to feed all the people who are malnourished.
Don’t let the misery of Migjen sit at the poor’s table. Donate the food to the less fortunate.