India’s agriculture output in 2013-2014 reached 263mn tonnes, higher than the quantity needed to feed its population; however it has been reported that 17% of Indians are too undernourished to live, this was according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
The Union Minister for Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal blamed food wastage as a major cause for inflation and said her target was to reduce this by at least 50% in two years. She said that food worth Rs 40,000 crore is wasted annually which is almost 18% of total produce.
In a previous article in foodnetindia, we looked at the causes of food wastage in India, now we will look at in depth what India can do and is doing to reverse this situation and ensure food security for its citizens.
Indian farmers are generally poor and do not have access to refrigerated warehouses and proper transport facilities, so they end up selling their produce at lower prices to middlemen to avoid spoilage.
The government is building 42 ‘mega food parks’ across the country to give a push to the processing industry in order to curb food wastage. Four of these mega food parks are already operational including one at Bengaluru run by the retail powerhouse Future Group.
Restaurants and Food bank NGOs
India’s food wastage statistics are shocking, while some of it is due to lack of cold-storage facilities, a majority of it comes from restaurants. It is very important that restaurants collaborate with food bank NGOs to avoid any food wastage.
Some popular restaurants in Delhi like Dum Pukht, give away their leftover food to the AWB Food Bank at the end of the day. Varq, at the Taj Mahal Hotel said they give the leftover food to the NGO named Aap ki Rasoi. Zerzura said they tend to avoid any wastage of food as their place is not very big and even if there are leftovers, they give it to their employees. Mia Bella said they have a sort of per plate system so each portion is meant for one person which is why they usually don’t have too much leftover food.
These restaurants are doing their bit to reduce food wastage, but there are scores of restaurants in the country which are lacking in this. Every restaurant should tie up with a food bank NGO to ensure food wastage is curbed.
Almost every industry is recycling to save the environment, so why not recycle food to curb food wastage in India?
If there is no option other than throwing out food in the garbage dump, then composting is the greenest and safest way to reduce food waste.
Food Wastage to Energy Startups!
India has no shortage of innovative and passionate entrepreneurs who can make a difference to India’s food wastage.
Gangotree Eco Technologies, a waste-to-energy start-up company in Pune, a city of more than 3 million people, is one such example. It has developed methods to convert food waste to renewable energy and is working with Pune’s municipal officials to use the city’s waste to power street lights. It believes Pune can be a waste-free city in just a few years and is rapidly expanding his business to accomplish this goal.
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