India has the second largest population in the world. Food is essential for human survival, without it we wouldn't live for more than 20 days. The International Food Security and Nutrition Organisation suggests that 190.7 million people are undernourished in India.This represents 14.5% of the Indian population, which makes India the home to the largest undernourished population in the world.
This is not the end, it is estimated by the UN that nearly 40% of the food produced in India is wasted or lost by different modes. This costs India one lakh crore rupees every year, which also affects our GDP.
India ranks 63 among 88 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI, UN data).
Entire South Asia wastes around 2.7% of food during processing.
Food wastage in India is happening at different levels: from harvesting, transporting, processing, packaging and consuming. Most of the food wastage in India is caused before it is packaged. This is caused due to the loopholes in the transport and infrastructure system in India.The government has looked into this and is trying to find solutions to develop better technology to reduce wastage.
Wastage of food is not only indicative of hunger, climate change or pollution, but also of many other economic pitfalls in the economy, such as inflation. It is the responsibility of each and every person to understand the importance of food and to try and reduce food wastage as much as possible.At the individual level, following steps can be taken to avoid food wastage:
Store foods carefully
Donate accumulated food
Use Old Fruits & Veggies: Rather than tossing fruits and veggies that are about to spoil, use them to create fruit salads, smoothies, and more
In addition new technologies can help reduce wastage such as improved rice-storage bags in the Philippines have helped cut losses of the staple grain by 15 percent. In West Africa, the use of solar dryers to extend the shelf life of fruits and tubers is showing promise in reducing post-harvest losses. Packaging techniques such as vacuum packing, nitrogen flushing etc also help preserve freshness of food for longer period
Pope Francis once wisely said “Throwing away food is like stealing from the tables of the poor and hungry” and we could not agree more with this statement. Let's fix this, be aware about what you eat and how much you waste because each one of us can make a difference.