State expects bigger hypermart participation in food bank

THE Melaka government hopes that more hypermarkets operating in the state will participate in the state-level Food Bank pilot programme launched on Sept 28.

Melaka was the pioneer state for the programme implemented by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to ease the burden of 186,354 heads of households earning below RM940 a month.

State Unity, Human Resources, NGOs and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman G. Saminathan said to date, hypermarket Tesco, owned by Tesco Stores (M) Sdn Bhd, and Family Store supermarket were contributing surplus food to the initiative.

He said a meeting with representatives from seven hypermarkets and supermarkets was held recently and all those present agreed to participate in the programme.

“The Food Bank is a noble effort that can benefit the people and the state government.

“We can help more underprivileged families in the state if all the hypermarkets and supermarkets agree to contribute to the programme,” he said before launching the Food Bank pilot programme for the Gadek state constituency in Alor Gajah.

Melaka Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism director Jaiya Abu and a representative from Tesco Malaysia were also present.

A representative from Kenchara Soup Kitchen (KSK), which has been identified by the ministry as one of the strategic partners to collect data of target groups to distribute food to the needy, was also present.

Saminathan, who is also Gadek assemblyman, said besides helping the community, the programme could also assist the state government in its efforts to reduce the disposal of surplus food at landfills.

“In this context, unsold food surplus in supermarkets such as vegetables, fruits, cakes and bread which are still good and can be eaten, will not be wasted.”

Meanwhile, Jaiya said the programme was the second to be launched in the state after the state-level pilot programme launched by Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail in Tanjung Kling near here.

He said similar programmes would be held in several other state constituencies soon before the programme rolled out next year.

“Although the food under the programme are near-expiry items, volunteers led by KSK will examine them thoroughly to make sure all items are safe for consumption,” he said.

It was reported that the programme was also one of the initiatives to reduce food wastage in line with Malaysia’s global commitment to sustainable development goals under the United Nations to reduce food waste by half by 2030.

A total of 185kg of surplus food from Tesco and Family Store were distributed to 22 heads of households involving 150 family members under the Food Bank pilot programme for the Gadek state constituency.

Central Region