Food Bank "Rus" has launched a new direction in foodsharing - agrofoodsharing. The project was supported by nine regions: Moscow, Moscow, Tula, Lipetsk, Vologda, Kostroma, Ryazan, Sverdlovsk and Rostov regions. Its goal is to reduce food losses on farms and provide people in need with access to food. Volunteers of the food bank "Rus" will collect, sort, pack vegetables and fruits that have remained unclaimed by agricultural producers. Families in need who are registered with the food banks of the regions participating in agro-food sharing will receive these products free of charge, the Rus' press service reports.
“Foodsharing is a real way to feed hundreds of thousands and even millions of people,” emphasizes Anna Aliyeva-Khrustaleva, vice president of the Rus food bank, an expert on food sharing. “Agrifood sharing allows a family in dire need to save money on vegetables and fruits and make preparations from basic products for good nutrition.” It is wrong to throw out tons of products simply because they do not meet the criteria of stores in appearance, especially in the current situation in the country, she notes.
According to the UN, a third of all food produced in the world ends up in a landfill, 14% of this waste is formed at the harvest stage. According to a study by the Center for the Development of the Consumer Market of the Skolkovo Business School, in Russia, crop growers lose up to 30% of their products during cultivation and harvesting. The main reasons are the lack of high-tech equipment and logistical difficulties. Part of the production is written off after collection, when producers cannot sell it due to problems with logistics or instability in demand. Also, “ugly” and “wrong” sized vegetables and fruits can end up in the landfill.
At the same time, according to Rosstat data for the second quarter of 2022, 17.6 million people live below the poverty line in the country. “The upheavals of recent years are serious factors in the growth in the number of people in need,” says Yulia Nazarova, president of the Rus food bank. - There are new categories of beneficiaries, and it is necessary to look for sources to support the population. Agrofoodsharing is an effective way to help, which is why we are launching it right now.”
Since 2012, the Rus Food Bank has been redistributing food and essential goods to those in need from manufacturing companies and distributors using industrial food sharing technology. In the summer of 2022, Rus launched a pilot retail food-sharing project with the largest retail chains, Pyaterochka and Magnit. In July, Agroinvestor wrote that the project for the development of food sharing in Russia was supported by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
In mid-September, TASS, citing the Ministry of Industry and Trade, reported that the department, together with representatives of the trade industry, was working on legislative decisions for the development of foodsharing and was discussing tax aspects of such programs with the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry emphasized that it fully supports the development of the rational use of usable food products, and the development of food sharing makes it possible to solve several problems at once: from humanitarian problems to issues of reducing waste generation. We are talking about the transfer to those in need of only those goods that are suitable for consumption, the department emphasizes.