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Harvard Research Addresses Food Waste, Hunger, and Climate Change Crisis in Kenya  

Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic identifies policy recommendations designed to decrease food waste, support food donation, and combat climate change in Kenya.

Nairobi, Kenya (May 17, 2022)—Today, the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) and The Global FoodBanking Network released a new analysis on food donation laws and policies in Kenya and recommendations to help reduce food waste, feed people experiencing hunger, and combat climate change. The research and recommendations were released in partnership with Platter of Compassion Food Banking Kenya, the national food bank of Kenya, as part of The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas, which maps the laws and policies affecting food donation around the world. 

In Kenya, 40% of food produced–worth about $655 million (USD)–is wasted each year while approximately 37% of the population is food insecure and 36% of the population lives in poverty. Food donation offers an important solution to reduce the amount of safe, edible food that ends up in landfill and divert it to people who need it most. 

“We produce more food than we need to feed people experiencing hunger. At the same time, the effects of climate change, to which food waste contributes, have become clearer and clearer,” said Emily Broad Leib, clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School and faculty director of the FLPC. “Country leaders around the world, including those in Kenya, can help connect the dots by implementing good food donation policies. We encourage Kenyan leaders to read our research and use our recommendations – developed with stakeholder input from across the country – to take action on food waste, climate change, and hunger.”

The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas, supported by Walmart Foundation, identifies the existing laws and policies that support or hinder food recovery and donation, featured in a comprehensive Legal Guide, and Policy Recommendations for strengthening frameworks and adopting new measures to fill existing gaps. The analysis featured in these country-specific reports are also encapsulated in an interactive atlas tool that allows users to compare policies between countries participating in the project. 

The research focuses on six legal issues that influence food donation: food safety for donations, date labeling, liability protection for food donations, tax incentives and barriers, government grants and funding, and food waste penalties or donation requirements. For each country, FLPC developed recommended actions, including the following for Kenya: 

  • Produce and disseminate clarifying guidance on food safety requirements relevant to donation;
  • Amend the Labelling of Pre-packaged Foods – General Requirements under the Food, Drugs and Chemical Substances Act to explicitly permit the donation of food after the quality-based date; 
  • Enact national legislation that establishes clear and comprehensive liability protection for food donors and food recovery organizations; and
  • Expand Kenya’s Income Tax Act’s income tax deduction to include in-kind food donations to food recovery organizations.

“The value added by food banks in eradicating hunger cannot be understated,” said John Gathungu, executive director at Food Banking Kenya. “In 2020, skyrocketing hunger rates placed a heavy strain on our food supply which was largely dependent on retail-sector donations. Food Banking Kenya saw an opportunity to partner with farms and exporters to recover surplus fresh produce and redistribute it to the vulnerable in our community, which catapulted our reach six-fold. However, the worsening hunger crisis and increasing food insecurity means that we have only scratched the surface. There has never been a greater need for collective action and policy towards zero hunger.”

“An estimated 768 million people are facing hunger globally, and that number is likely to rise as food price spikes, supply chain issues, and climate change continue to strain our food systems,” said Lisa Moon, president and CEO of The Global FoodBanking Network. “Food banks help ensure more people have access to food while also reducing food loss and waste. Strong food donation policies are absolutely critical to this work—they help food banks serve their communities in the most effective and efficient way.”

“Public policy relating to food recovery and donations is complex and varies across countries making it hard to improve how surplus food gets to communities that need it,” said Eileen Hyde, senior director for community resilience at Walmart.org. “The recommendations coming out of the Global Food Donation Policy Atlas are crucial in overcoming barriers to food access, and the Walmart Foundation is pleased to support this great work that seeks to accelerate effective and sustainable solutions.”  

Globally, 1.3 billion tons of edible food–a third of production and enough to feed every undernourished person on the planet–is lost and wasted every year while hunger persists and climate change accelerates. This wasted food ends up in landfill and rots, producing methane, a greenhouse gas. About 10% of all greenhouse gas globally is caused by food waste.

Atlas project research is available for 15 countries: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. An interactive map, Legal Guides, Policy Recommendations, and Executive Summaries for each country are available at atlas.foodbanking.org.


The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) serves partner organizations and communities by providing guidance on cutting-edge food system issues, while engaging law students in the practice of food law and policy. FLPC’s work focuses on increasing access to healthy foods, supporting sustainable production and regional food systems, promoting community-led food system change,  and reducing waste of healthy, wholesome food. FLPC is committed to advancing a cross-sector, multi-disciplinary and inclusive approach to its work, building partnerships with academic institutions, government agencies, private sector actors, and civil society with expertise in public health, the environment, and the economy. For more information, visit http://www.chlpi.org/flpc/.

The Global FoodBanking Network supports community-led solutions to alleviate hunger in more than 40 countries. While millions struggle to access enough safe and nutritious food, nearly a third of all food produced is lost or wasted. We’re changing that. We believe food banks directed by local leaders are key to achieving Zero Hunger and building resilient food systems. For more information, visit foodbanking.org. 


Platter of Compassion Food Banking Kenya is a non-profit that serves as the national Food Bank in Kenya, with a plan to penetrate all the 47 counties over a period of five years. The goal of Food Banking Kenya is to alleviate hunger while at the same time empowering the target communities to generate incomes for self-sustainability through collecting, purchasing, growing, and packaging food for distribution through a network of service agencies and programs that serve our target population groups. 


Walmart.org represents the philanthropic efforts of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. By focusing where the business has unique strengths, Walmart.org works to tackle key social and environmental issues and collaborate with others to spark long-lasting systemic change. Walmart has stores in 24 countries, employs more than 2.2 million associates and does business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Walmart.org is helping people live better by supporting programs to accelerate upward job mobility for frontline workers, advance equity, address hunger, build inclusive economic opportunity for people in supply chains, protect and restore nature, reduce waste and emissions, and build strong communities where Walmart operates. To learn more, visit www.walmart.org or connect on Twitter @Walmartorg.

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