A report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) revealed that a Libyan individual wastes 76 kilograms of food per year, ending up in landfills, at a time when more than 700,000 people need urgent food assistance.
Less than three weeks before Ramadan, a UN report found alarming figures on food waste that skyrocketed during fasting days due to market anxieties, while countries in the region, including Libya, are the world's largest food importers at more than 90%.
Although Libya's per capita contribution to food waste is the lowest in the Arab region and North Africa, at 76 kilograms, it remains a high percentage due to the humanitarian crises in which citizens are generally floundering and have intensified since the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the report, Libya's annual food waste rate was estimated at more than 513,000 tons, while Egypt topped the list of food-wasting countries in North Africa with 9 million tons, a contribution of 91 kilograms per person per year, followed by Sudan with 4.16 million tons, Algeria with 3.91 million tons, Morocco with 3.31 million tons, Tunisia with 1.06 million tons and Mauritania with 450,00 tons.
In the Middle East, Iraq led with 4.73 million tons of food waste, followed by Saudi Arabia with 3.59 million tons, Yemen with 3.02 million tons, Syria with 1.77 million tons, Jordan with 939,00 tons, the UAE with 923,000 tons, Lebanon with 717,000 tons, Palestine with 501,000 tons, Oman with 470,000 tons, Kuwait with 397,000 tons, Qatar with 267,000 tons, and Bahrain with 216,000 tons.
Most notably, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations sounded the alarm in early March on the deterioration of food security in Libya among the 45 countries in the world in need of external food assistance. Libya, along with Mauritania, Sudan and Iraq, faces "severe and localized food insecurity," according to the report.
Libya's confrontation highlighted civil insecurity, economic and political instability, and rising food prices. The total number of people in need of humanitarian assistance this year is estimated at 1.3 million (23% of the population), of whom 0.7 million require food assistance.
Half of those in need of humanitarian assistance are internally displaced persons or migrants residing in or passing through the country.