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You often hear that we are going to have a food crisis in a couple of decades, when the global population reaches 10 billion. However, the reality is that we already produce enough food to feed 10 billion people.

Unfortunately, the developed world wastes about one third of all the food they have, and in lower income developing countries like India, we waste even more.

The difference is that, in the developed world, most of the wastage is at retail locations, and by end consumers. In India, most of the wastage is at the production points (in the fields) and in storage (the godowns).

If we were to curb the wastage, we will be all good. Here’s something from BBC on food wastage in the developed world –

India needs to invest heavily in cold chains and food processing, and given the mountains of wheat and rice and sugar we are producing, a lot of our farmers should move to other valuable crops and stop producing food grains. That would ensure better farmer incomes as well.

Also, let’s not forget the march of technology, especially genetically engineered foods or artificial meats. This means that, even with the wastage, I doubt we will fall short of food to feed 10 billion people.

The issue of whether we will also be able to overcome the distribution challenges, and the challenge of adequate nutrition for everyone, is a different one. That’s much more difficult to solve.

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