Fruits, pulses, vegetables and grains worth over Rs 58,000 crore are wasted each year in India, Subodh Kant Sahay, minister of state for food processing industries, recently admitted in the Rajya Sabha.
Dr Ajay Parida, director of the bio-technology programme at the Dr M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, estimates that it costs Rs 8 to provide the basic minimum nutrition of 2,100 calories a day that an adult needs. So, Rs 58,000 crore is sufficient to feed all the 220 million people in the country living below the poverty line for 350 days a year.
“Food security is a major issue... there is starvation. There is struggle for basic food requirements,” said Parida.
Sahay said the wastage was caused by, among other factors, the lack of proper storage facilities and transportation. “The main issue is the lack of an adequate supply chain,” P.V. Suvrathan, secretary, food processing industries, told HT.
The government has now begun schemes which bring together producers and buyers of agricultural produce at food parks, to enable them to interact more closely. It remains to be seen how effectively this will curb wastage.
Email author: firstname.lastname@example.org