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According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), One
third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted
globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year. It also
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), One third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year. It also states: Food is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain, from initial agricultural production to final household consumption. The losses, it says, represent a waste of resources used in production such as land, water, energy and inputs, increasing the green gas emissions in vain.
In a country like India, food is not only scarce for some families but a luxury for others. Food wastage has several socio-economic and environmental impacts. India is ranked 97th among 118 countries in the Global Hunger Index for 2016. About 20 crore people go to bed hungry and 7,000 people die of hunger every day. 44% of the children under age 5 are underweight, 72% of infants and 52% married women have anaemia. 25% of fresh water used for cultivation is ultimately wasted even as millions dont have access to drinking water. The energy spent over wasted food results in the production of 3.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. 300 million barrels of oil used to produce food are ultimately wasted. Improper storage results in the loss of more than 6 million tonnes of grains due to rotting even as millions of children and adults die with no food for days on end.
The increasing wastage also results in land degradation by about 45%, mainly due to deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices, and excessive groundwater extraction.Wastage results in national economic loss. Putting a monetary value to the loss in terms of wastage, India loses Rs. 58,000 crore every year. Many countries have legislation that encourage donating food to the charities or food banks and ban unnecessary wastage of food.
India has many civil societies and community initiatives that are aimed at distributing food for the needy. National Food Security Act, 2013 is committed to securing availability of food grains for two-thirds of the 1.3 billion population . India Food Banking Network (IFBN), which is promoting the concept of collaborative consumption is very much needed. But there is an urgent need for the Government to do more.
Missing one single meal makes us feel impatient, tired and restless. The plight of millions who never get to consume a decent meal for days on end is extremely pitiable. We need strict implementation of rules banning food wastages in wedding ceremonies and other functions, by hotels and supermarkets . Customers in hotels must be encouraged to pack the leftover food for later consumption. Farmers must be educated about the best farming practices.Proper storage facililties must be provided for farmers to reduce rotting away of food grains. We must buy our supplies rationally. We need to support the NGOs that supply food for the needy. An initiative 'Compassionate Kozhikode' has received global attention and won the ITB-Berlin Award. It is a programme to ensure food to needy people in kozhikode district by tying up with hotels, restaurants to deliver excess food. Such initiatives are the need of the hour.
Hunger kills more people than AIDS, malaria and terrorism combined. Let food fill someones stomach and not rot away in dustbins. Unless each of us take individual and collective action, millions of people will never live to see another day because we threw away their food.