Food wastage has become an alarming issue in India and world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), staggering 1.3 billion tons of food is being wasted annually. The FAO report further states that one-third of the total global food production is wasted, costing the world economy about $750 billion or Rs47 lakh crore.
According to United Nations Development Program, up to 40% of the food produced in India is wasted, and we are ranked 63 among 88 countries in Global Hunger Index. We need to understand that food wastage not only lead to hunger in under privileged or pollution through emission of greenhouse gases, but also problems in economy. Not just government, even we are equally responsible for this problem. In the name of culture and traditions even we are playing a lead role in this drama, bigger the wedding or larger the party more colossal is the wastage.
A recent study conducted by Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata, revealed that only 10 percent of foods get cold storage facility in India, this factor accompanied by inappropriate supply chain management, has resulted in India becoming a significant contributor towards food wastage both at pre-and post-harvest waste in cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables.
Why is food wastage a problem? According to CSR Journal
- 25% of fresh water used to produce food is ultimately wasted, even as millions of people still don’t have access to drinking water. When you calculate the figures in cubic kilometers, this is a bit more than an average river.
- Even though the world produces enough food to feed twice the world’s present population, food wastage is ironically behind the billions of people who are malnourished. The number of hungry people in India has increased by 65 million more than the population of France. According to a survey by Bhook (an organization working towards reducing hunger) in 2013, 20 crore Indians sleep hungry on any given night. About 7 million children died in 2012 because of hunger/malnutrition.
- Acres of land are deforested to grow food. Approximately 45% of India’s land is degraded primarily due to deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices, and excessive groundwater extraction to meet the food demand.
- 300 million barrels of oil are used to produce food that is ultimately wasted.
Food wastage cripples a country’s economy to an extent that most of us are unaware
While you may not be able to reduce food lost during production, you can certainly reduce food at your personal level of food waste. Every step towards right direction counts
Plan out your meal and make your shopping list to determine what you actually need for the week. About 20% of what we buy in urban India ends up being thrown away
Buy in quantities you can realistically use. Avoid impulse buys. It will more or less find the bin
If you cook at home, make sure you cook keeping in mind there is no excess. You can always complete your meals with a few fruits rather than keep some extra food in the refrigerator. It’s a lot better and a healthier practice too.
If you host a family get together either at home, a marriage hall or throw a party at a hotel, make sure you plan for the food to be transported to a place like an orphanage or an old age shelter.
Make finishing your plate a habit. Try to inculcate it further to as many possible.