The Bold Voice of J&K

Love food, hate waste, stop food wastage

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Food wastage cripples a country’s economy to an extent that many of us are unaware of. In India where we have considered ourselves as a developing nation for the last 60 years, food wastage cripples us a lot more. It is estimated that about 20 per cent of what we buy in urban India ends up being thrown away. It is also estimated the actual worth of money per year in India from food wastage comes to a whopping 58,000 crores. According to a survey by Bhook(an organisation working towards reducing hunger) more than 20 crore Indians will sleep hungry at any given night and about seven million children died in 2012-13 because of hunger/malnutrition. The urban india is increasingly wasting more food over the years and recently contributing to about 35 per cent of all food wasted in India. India ranks 63 among 88 countries in global hunger index. 925 million people are hungry. Every day almost 16,000 children die from hunger related causes which means one child in every 5 seconds.
The habit of wasting food in large scale is alarming in our Jammu and Kashmir State. Kashmir has always loved extravagant wedding ceremonies by throwing too lavish a bash parties so excessive have weddings become in the State that the ceremonies which include banquets using tonnes of meat and rice have been blamed for causing sharp rise in local food prices. The menus in these weddings routinely run to 15 to 20 courses and partying for more than 15 days before a wedding. These weddings in many cases are entirely the responsibility of the bride’s family and are considered to be a reflection of the family’s wealth and status consequently families can often spend years trying to pay off debts incurred in providing wedding they deem worthy of their daughters and it has been seen that a lot of food is wasted in these weddings and functions.
The food wastages is the most worrisome issue in the present era where many of the poor are clamouring for daily bread in order to save their life. The most extravagant recent wedding was on St. Valentines Day of the year when Subrata Roy, a billionaire spent an estimated 30 million dollars on his two sons’ wedding. Roy who owns the Sahara business empire which includes a low cost airline, flew guests to his private ranch in Lucknow on a fleet of bowing 737’s with luggage racks stuffed with flowers. About 1,800 chefs were hired for the banquets and one can very well imagine how much food could have been wasted in these lavish weddings.
It is horrifying to note that a quantity of wheat equivalent to entire production of Australia goes to waste each year in india. In food wastage India is ahead of China. This wastage cripples the country’s economy to an extent that most of us are unaware.
In order to control the food wastage every family should create a plan and stick to it. Meal planning is a critical step to help you spend less and waste less. When you know what you are going to eat today, tomorrow and this coming weekend, you will only purchase the food you need at the store preventing you from buying foods on a whim only to have them spoiled before you eat them. So in order to control the wastage of food and to feed the poor masses keep this phrase in mind Uutna Hi Lo Thaali Mein Vyarth Na Jaye Naali Mein”.

Kaushal Kotwal
SDAO Retd.

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