Vijay Yadav. T, Postharvest Education Foundation (Trainee), India.
Out of all basic necessities of human being food is the most important necessity. It is very unfortunate that a huge amount of food in the world is being wasted daily, while there are millions of people in world who are dying of hunger. There is an urgent and serious need to prevent food wastage/food loss, whatever level it may be.
Many factors at different levels are responsible for Food Loss/ Food Wastage:
i. Field Level:
· Over Production: Improper production strategy of farmers would result in over production which ultimately leads to wastage and also very low returns to the farmer.
· Mono-cropping in large areas: Growing single crop in large areas at a stretch may lead to production more than needed leading to wastage.
· Improper cultivation practices: Lack of proper knowledge about cultivation, harvesting and package, lot of food grains, fruits and vegetables are lost.
· Crop Diversification: Growing different type of crops in an area.
· Enlighten farmers about advances in cultivation practices of different crops along with care to be taken while harvesting and also after harvest.
· There should be a government policy to plan production strategy for farmers, to decide crop area based upon demand in the nation.
ii. Post Harvest:
· Judging proper maturity indices, based upon market availability would prevent food loss to great extent.
· Enlightening farmers about proper post harvest, packing, storage techniques depending upon on crop, climate and demand would play a very important role in reducing food loss during storage and transport.
· Conducting campaigns and courses to increase processing of over produced fruits, vegetables and grains into ready to eat products.
· Grading of produce depending upon quality and market them based upon demand.
iii. Market Level:
· Encouraging market facility to diversified crops.
· Strong policies are needed to prevent illegal storage of grains (which is common situation in developing countries).
· Policy to decide price based upon grading, which would allow producer to get good price for his quality produce and also population of different economic status to get good food.
iv. Consumer Level:
· Educate people to prevent domestic food wastage by conducting campaigns in communities, schools, colleges and other public places.
· Make a strong policy to prevent food wastage by levying extra tax on people wasting food in the restaurants.
· A rule must be passed to make it compulsory to provide sample food before taking order in restaurants so that it is not wasted after being ordered.
· Linking up restaurants with needy orphanages, juvenile homes etc… so that extra food can be transferred and not wasted.
All the countries in the world should come up onto single platform not only to prevent food wastage but also to maintain balance in food availability in different parts of world. International policies must in such a way to prevent wastage of excess of food in few countries and supply the excess to needy malnutrition and hungry nations.
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