Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Tuesday launched the UAE Food Bank project as part of the UAE's Year of Giving initiative.
The UAE Food Bank, a non-profit charitable organisation committed to distributing food to those in need while eliminating food waste, aims to make Dubai the first city in the Middle East to achieve zero food waste.
It will collaborate with local authorities as well as local and international charities to introduce a comprehensive ecosystem improving the efficiency of food storage, packaging and distribution.
It will partner with food producers such as hotels, restaurants and supermarkets and farms to store and package excess fresh food effectively.
It will then work with volunteers and partners to distribute the well-packaged food within and outside of the UAE.
The Food Bank’s operations will begin in Dubai and will expand to other underdeveloped communities in the region and around the world, a statement said.
Sheikh Mohammed said: “The Year of Giving provides a golden opportunity for UAE citizens and institutions to maximise their philanthropic potential by launching humanitarian initiatives.
"We chose food as our first initiative as it is one of the most basic human needs. Through the UAE Food Bank, we aim to instill the value of giving deep in the hearts of our people.”
He added: “Emiratis are the most generous and giving people. Through the UAE Food Bank, we are creating a sustainable institutional framework inspired by these values, and by the legacy of UAE Founding Father Sheikh Zayed.”
The initiative, which has been launched under the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives Foundation (MBRGI), will also benefit Dubai's economy as the UAE currently incurs about AED13 billion annually in food loss, which can be redirected to benefit other social sectors.