Malaysian volunteers collect food for needy to tackle Ramadan waste

By Reuters   April 19, 2023 | 06:19 pm PT
Malaysian volunteers collect food for needy to tackle Ramadan waste
People take unsold food rescued from the bazaar to reduce food waste during the holy month of Ramadan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 15, 2023. Photo by Reuters/Hasnoor Hussain
Malaysian volunteers are tackling food waste during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan by collecting unsold food from vendors and distributing it to low-income households.

According to government data, about 112,000 tonnes of food went to waste in Muslim-majority Malaysia during Ramadan last year, a figure that non-profit organization GEMA is trying to reduce.

In the first three weeks of the fasting month, GEMA collected 20 tonnes of leftover food from Ramadan bazaars in the capital Kuala Lumpur, volunteer Umi Kelathun Abd Ghani told Reuters, adding the organization works across the country.

Once collected, the food is weighed and repackaged before being handed out to those in need.

"It would be a waste if such blessings are thrown away. Thanks to (the volunteers') efforts, it can help the lower-income group to eat," said Abawiah Salleh, a recipient in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia is expected to see a 15% increase in waste during the fasting month and generate nearly 20 tonnes of food waste daily, according to government figures.

The fasting month ends this week, with Eid-al Fitr expected to be celebrated at the weekend.

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