Overcoming food wastage in Ramadan bazaars

Nazir Sufari

RAMADAN bazaars are vibrant, bustling marketplaces that spring to life during the holy fasting month. 

These bazaars offer a wide array of traditional and contemporary Malay dishes, snacks and desserts, making them popular destinations for both Muslims and non-Muslims seeking to break their fast or indulge in delicious treats.

These bazaars play a crucial role in serving the community during Ramadan by providing a convenient and accessible venue for individuals and families to purchase freshly prepared meals and snacks for ‘berbuka’ and ‘sahur’. 

The variety of food options available at these bazaars cater to diverse tastes and preferences, ensuring that everyone can find something to enjoy.

However, one pressing issue that plagues Ramadan bazaars is food wastage. With the abundance of food being prepared and sold at these bazaars, there is a risk of excess food being left unsold or uneaten, leading to unnecessary wastage. 

This not only contributes to environmental concerns but also goes against the spirit of Ramadan, which emphasises gratitude, moderation and compassion for others.

According to the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation, food wastage at these bazaars last year stood at around 75,000 tonnes, or about 15% to 20% more compared to other months.

This is expected to increase this year.

However, to address this problem, various civil society movements have volunteered to ensure food is not wasted.

Volunteers collect surplus food, organise it and then distribute it to the underprivileged. 

Apart from that, traders themselves have also stepped up by encouraging vendors to practice portion control and offer smaller serving sizes to minimize leftovers. 

Moving forward, what is needed is to raise awareness among vendors and customers about the importance of reducing food waste and promoting sustainable practices to ensure food wastage is not an issue in the coming years, especially at Ramadan bazaars. – April 7, 2024.

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