India, one of the world’s largest food producers, is trying to tackle waste during production, processing, retailing and consumption by funding internal initiatives and by partnerships on best practice and technology with overseas investors.
But many of those struggling to get enough to eat are concerned that progress is too slow in India which ranked 100 among 119 countries in the 2017 Global Hunger Index, with 14.5 percent of the population undernourished.
The paradox of millions going hungry in India while food goes to waste is receiving increasing amounts of attention as the FAO stresses that one third of food produced globally for human consumption is wasted every year.
As the World Economic Forum has highlighted, food production is clearly not the main issue as India needs 225-230 million tonnes of food per year to feed its population – and farm output in 2015-2016 hit more than 270 million tonnes
The Indian government, however, has said it is trying to stop food losses and address hunger in various ways, including changing distribution strategies and using technology.
The Ministry of Food Processing Industries is working with the private sector companies to provide pre-cooling and chilled storage from the farm to the consumer, with about 228 projects underway by August last year.
Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Shobhana Pattanayak, said the government distributes excess grain through a public distribution system.
Under this system the government buys food grain from farmers and distributes it at subsidised prices to the poor, selling wheat and rice at two and three rupees a kg compared to the market price of 12 and 13 rupees.