Food waste reduction and management in the City of Kigali

Written by Resilient Cities Network
Friday, 11 November 2022

According to a recent report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), every household in Rwanda wastes 164 kg of food every year while 2,075,405 tons of food is wasted at household level per year. Food waste burdens waste management systems, exacerbates food insecurity, making it a major contributor to the three planetary crises of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. [i]

In the City of Kigali, more than 2 million tons of food are wasted every year, and with 19 per cent of local population still without access to an adequate nourishment (Food Waste Index, 2021), this data become even more alarming. Such a striking imbalance needs to be solved with urgent action, to build sustainable food systems that deliver positive outcomes for both producers and consumers. [ii]

The City of Kigali is committed that food scraps should be avoided at all levels from harvest to market distribution and to consumer’s level too as recommendations from food systems summit. At household level, food is lost through storage, preparation and also after preparation, but these are things that we can find solutions for. For example, the city found some hotels in Kigali that waste food that is not consumed within the day, and there was an initiative to re-distribute the unconsumed food which was as a way to reduce food loss while providing for the hungry.

The local government in Kigali is working with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)  to put in place a joint taskforce with the Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative-RWARRI. The different organizations and institutions’ focal points sitting in the Taskforce will use their experiences to guide, advice and orient the City of Kigali in food waste reduction and management. [iii]

The Taskforce expects to produce recommendations for the City of Kigali and their respective institutions or organizations at the end of this mission, showing everyone’s  contribution to  food waste reduction and management in Kigali. Otto Muhinda, FAO Country Representative Assistant, said “the team will further think through a solid plan to reduce and eliminate food waste.”[iv]

Uwizeye Belange, Executive Director of RWARRI, said that food waste reduction and management for greening Kigali would be successful if all actors worked together for a common goal. Indeed, “reducing food lost or wasted means more food for all, less greenhouse gas emissions, less pressure on the environment especially on water and land resources, increased productivity and economic growth, and more sustainable societies”, he added. [v] 

Up to now, the Taskforce has received training on food waste reduction and management and is going to carry out a series of inspections to different locations experiencing a high level of food waste in the City of Kigali before the preparation of action to assist the City of Kigali’s food waste reduction and management.


[i] United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 2021

[ii] Rwanda Smart Food Country Diagnostic, 2020

[iii] https://www.fao.org/urban-food-agenda/news-events/news-detail/ru/c/1492301

[iv] https://www.fao.org/urban-food-agenda/news-events/news-detail/ru/c/1492301

[v] https://www.fao.org/urban-food-agenda/news-events/news-detail/ru/c/1492301


Amid rising food demand and prices, cities must take urgent action to reduce and repurpose food waste to provide food security for their residents while simultaneously achieving economic opportunities and emission reduction. The Urban Eats campaign is mobilizing cities towards a more circular and resilient food system by: 1) creating value out of food waste, 2) redistributing excess food, 3) producing more locally, 4) promoting food habit change among city residents and businesses, and 5) strengthening collaboration across the whole food value chain. Through the sharing of city stories such as Kigali’s initiative to redistribute excess food, we hope to help you consider simple yet diverse ways to manage food waste in your city. Want to inspire other cities with your story? Get in touch with llim@r-cities.org.

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