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food canaries waste

The Canaries and food waste

The Canary Islands are the second region that wastes the most food.

In Spain, the latest data points to 1,300 million kilos thrown away, with the Canary Islands in second place regionally, behind Andalusia

Notice Diary

Every year, according to the UN, humanity wastes about one billion tons of useful food, a figure that rises to 2,500 million if we look at the process from harvests to the last link of shops and homes. In Spain, the latest data point to 1,300 million kilos thrown away, with the Canary Islands in second place regionally, behind Andalusia, but, in reality, leading the ranking if the population of both communities is taken into account.

In view of this and in search of a turnaround of the situation in the Islands, the NC group in the regional Parliament yesterday raised the need for a strategy in the Archipelago and the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Narvay Quintero, agreed with him and detailed some of the measures that he intends to develop or intensify in this mandate.

NC proposed this change after requesting Quintero's appearance and all the groups agreed on the need to make more forceful decisions and continue to raise awareness in society, producers, marketers, distributors and consumers. Although it is also agreed that it has been improving and, in fact, in Spain there was 14.2% more resource optimisation between 2020 and 2021 and 6.22% in 2022, it is considered that the magnitude of this challenge is such that any contribution will be key and essential in the coming years.

For this reason, Quintero thanked Luis Campos (NC) for the step taken and stressed that it is a matter of ethics, awareness and social justice for the 800 million people who suffer from hunger in the world, as Campos recalled, or the 35% of Canarians in poverty, as Jesús Chinea (ASG) said.

Like Campos, the minister hopes that the state law (on Loss Prevention and against Food Waste) approved in 2022 by the Council of Ministers, with no votes against in Congress in 2023, but paralyzed last September in the Senate, will be taken up as soon as possible and will make it possible to tackle the fact that 7.7 million tons of food (8% of the total) is wasted in the country. with an average of 70 kilos of food and drinks per household. "This is a lot of waste that, curiously, does not reach 30% in restaurants and 42% in homes," he explained.

Apart from emphasizing, like the rest of the groups, the consequences on the environment due to soil erosion, the greenhouse effect, lost water resources and the contribution to climate change, Quintero indicated that one trillion euros is lost and believes that "all administrations and agents in the food chain" must intervene.

While waiting for the law, the minister did announce that he intends to intensify promotional campaigns, good practice guides, prevention plans, information for non-profit groups to redistribute food through the so-called circular economy, as well as greater public-private networks and more research in favor of reuse.

In his opinion, food sovereignty and local production, organic farming, short marketing channels, economic benefits from the use of waste, tax incentives must be introduced to lower the rate of waste and collaboration between producers, retailers and consumers must be facilitated to reduce the burden of landfills, with a more sustainable approach to waste management.

Among its first measures, a line of direct aid (of up to 55%) for the transformation of agricultural and livestock farms, as well as for innovation in composting and reuse, which will be approved in the remainder of the year or at the beginning of 2024, stands out. It will also promote examples of collaboration such as that of Asaga and Ashotel, which has made it possible to convert a total of 570 tonnes of hotel waste into high-quality compost for organic farming last year.


Campos warned that wasted food accounts for 10% of CO2 emissions that cause the greenhouse effect. In addition, he believes that the Canary Islands should follow the path of the Balearic Islands, whose economy also depends a lot on tourism, but which is far from the first places in regions that waste the most. According to him, what is lost in the world is equivalent to 2 million hectares deforested, 4.4 million square kilometers of agricultural land (such as putting the entire Indian subcontinent into production and wasted) and 300 million full Olympic-sized swimming pools.

In addition, he explained that, as an effect of wealth, in the EU 40% of waste occurs in consumption (households or establishments) and another 40% in production or marketing, while in underdeveloped countries it is much more localized in harvests and pre-consumption. In his opinion, all areas need to be streamlined, prioritizing humans in donations, then processing (fruit turned into smoothies, for example), animals, industrial activities and composting, and finally energy production.
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