At some point of time or other, you must have come across a group of urchins looking for food leftovers in the dustbin. It is indeed a common sight. Now hold on to that picture in your mind and read this -
According to Hindustan Times, around 67 million tonnes of food is wasted in India every year, which has a value of around Rs 92,000 crore. And it's enough to feed all of Bihar for a year.
This value equals nearly two-thirds of the amount that the government needs to feed 600 million poor Indians with subsidised ration under the National Food Security programme.
Here are some more alarming facts that show how much food wastage there actually is:
1. India wastes as much food as is consumed by the United Kingdom, says the CSR journal.
2. According to a written statement given to the parliament in 2013 by former agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, nearly 40% of the total produce is wasted every year in the country.
3. Each year, around 21 million metric tonnes of wheat rots in India. The figure is almost equal to Australia's total annual production.
4. To produce the food which ultimately gets wasted, India is estimated to use more than 230 cubic kilometres of fresh water annually, enough to provide drinking water to 100 million people a year.
And these figures aren't just affecting the nation's economy and the environment. This grim reality points out another major issue in India, i.e. hunger.
1. According to a UNICEF report, one-quarter of the world's undernourished live in India.
2. India ranks 55 out of 76 countries on the Global Hunger Index, lagging behind much poorer neighbours like Nepal (44) and Sri Lanka (39).
3. According to a report published by charity organisation Oxfam, the number of hungry people has increased by 65 million between 1990-2005, which sums to be more than the entire population of France.
4. According to a survey done by Bhook (an organization working towards reducing hunger) in 2013, around 20 crore Indians sleep hungry on any given night.
After going through the statistics, one thing is certain that India produces enough food to feed everyone. However, we have got to realise that in order to feed more, we need to waste less.
Though we are aware of the fact that only the government can take major actions to prevent food wastage in India, we, on a personal level, can act more proactively to minimise it. Or do we need another abhiyaan to remind ourselves the basic things we should actually be taking care of?
Feature image source: Financial Times Blog