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10 African countries that waste the most food in 2024

Food waste is defined as food and the associated inedible parts removed from the human food supply chain. In 2022, the world wasted 1.05 billion tonnes of food. This amounts to one-fifth (19 per cent) of food available to consumers being wasted at the retail, food service, and household level.

Trying out home composting can reduce your food waste, and it's beneficial for your garden or plants too.

According to the "Food Waste Index Report 2024" released by the Nairobi-based United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), food waste is a market failure that results in the throwing away of more than US$1 trillion worth of food every year. It is also an environmental failure as food waste generates an estimated 8–10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions (including from both loss and waste), and it takes up the equivalent of nearly 30 per cent of the world’s agricultural land.

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The Food Waste Index Report, which tracks country-level progress toward halving food waste by 2030 (SDG 12.3), revealed that most of the world’s food waste comes from households. Out of the total food waste in 2022, households were responsible for 631 million tonnes, equivalent to 60 per cent, the food service sector for 290, and the retail sector for 131.

The report noted that Nigerians waste 113kg of food at home per year, amounting to 24.79 million tons of household food waste in the country—the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Among the other countries in the region, Tanzania households waste 152kg of food per person annually, Uganda 110kg, Seychelles 183kg, Rwanda 141kg, and Mozambique 92kg.

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According to UN projections, food waste is a worldwide catastrophe, and due to global food waste, over 783 million people will go hungry at present. The report advises governments to improve data collection and proposes best practices for transitioning from monitoring to decreasing food waste.

Country Household Estimate (kg/capita/year) Household Estimate (tonnes/year) Confidence in Estimate
Tanzania 152 9,960,496 Medium confidence
Uganda 110 5,209,076 Medium confidence
Seychelles 183 20,089 Medium confidence
Rwanda 141 1,937,761 Medium confidence
Nigeria 113 24,791,826 Medium confidence
Mozambique 92 3,033,197 Low confidence
Madagascar 92 2,724,081 Low confidence
Niger 92 2,411,286 Low confidence
Burkina Faso 92 2,085,610 Low confidence
Mali 92 2,078,251 Low confidence

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