Food waste in India
With reference to the World Bank the German magazine Spiegel Online reported recently that is expected that in India almost every second child will soon suffer from malnutrition.
That fact is astonishing, considering that India can produce enough food for its 1.2 billion inhabitants. In the past five years, the cereal harvest was outstanding. In 2012 India is expected to produce 253 million tons corn, about ten million tons more than in 2011. This leads to the conclusion that the most populous country in the world is lacking sufficient packaging, storing and transport capacities. Thus, large amounts of often spoil in the fields.
Studies on the exact amount of food losses are not available at the moment.
The Food Minister of State said that "all necessary steps" would be taken to increase the lacking capacities. It is attempted to create incentives for private companies to invest in warehouses.
A leading opposition politician in India said: "We are facing a serious food crisis, and the government does not care for this colossal waste."
Large-scale grain exports were not initiated by the government so far, due to a fear of protests, because food prices have risen over the past year at double-digit percentages. According to government figures, India will export this year and next fiscal year only up to seven million tons of rice. Experts have also warned of a price-reduced sales of grain to the poor - as this would increase the financial deficit in India. This warning received sharp criticism. "In a country with one of the largest rates of malnourished children and the highest percentage of hungry people, it is almost a crime to let grain rot," said Biraj Patnaik, an advisor of the Supreme Court of India on all aspects of food policy. That grain “is only retained for a fiscal reason is particularly alarming."