Feeding India

350 million of India’s 1.3 billion people live in rural locations where electricity is unreliable and erratic so the use of cold storage facilities limited.


( January 5, 2018, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) 194 million Indians go hungry daily, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) yet India, one of the world’s largest food producers.

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. India is the world’s largest producer of milk, at 146 million tonnes (mt) in 2015. Smallholder dairy farming systems supply over 90 per cent of its milk.

Sharad Pawar, a former agriculture minister, told parliament that nearly 40 percent of the value of annual production was wasted, with crops left to rot in the sun without storage or transportation, or eaten by insects and rats.

Sagheer Ahmed, professor at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University, said a lack of storage was the main reason for wasted food grain along with no concrete system for processing perishable fruits and vegetables.

350 million of India’s 1.3 billion people live in rural locations where electricity is unreliable and erratic so the use of cold storage facilities limited.

Ashish Agarwal, a food rights activist with Aligarh-based non-profit group UDAAN Society that focuses on rural development.

“The under-5 mortality rate is 4.8 percent in India, partially because of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environment.”

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. But the system has come under fire from some locals who say supplies and the quality can be erratic with grain from the distribution system being siphoned off by middlemen w ..

“The superior quality food grains are sold in the black market by the middlemen and the bad quality wheat and rice is given to us at a subsidised rate,” said Ali Sher, head of Pilakhana village in Aligarh district of Uttar Pradesh state.

“A small quantity of good quality rice is mixed with rotten portion to increase the volume and sold to us at subsidy. It is better to starve than to eat rodent-infested food.”

Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

Sri Lanka Guardian has been providing breaking news & views for the progressive community since 2007. We are independent and non-profit.

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