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Food is a basic necessity which is required for all living beings to be consumed and gaining energy so that the wheel of life can progress further. We find that in the world while there are many places where there is large quantity of food available which is valued and wasted at the same time there are many other places in the world where hunger and poverty rule the roost. This is a ironic situation which we find ourselves in and the sooner we change this the better it is for mankind and all other living beings of the planet earth. To state a fact around 40 percent of the food in our country gets wasted after all the efforts which are taken to grow the produce.
Some of the main reason it happens not only here but in different parts of the world are the storage and warehousing facilities are not upto the mark at all the places where such facilities are available. Rats are a big cause of damage caused to stored food and for the farmers too. Despite many measures to eradicate the population of rats which damage the crops and eat away the produced stored. There has been not much success as rats seem to multiply faster and breed faster too.
This causes a problem to the country’s agricultural economy. As the growers are unable to sell the produce which has been harvested by them and get the remunerative prices which they are entitled for their work and effort. This is very demotivating to farmers and the prices of food supplies increase and this is due to the artificial scarcity caused by the damage to storage facilities by rodents. The following measures can be undertaken to reverse the trend and save the food grains from being eaten away.
Snakes and cats are the natural predators of rats. These agricultural depots can have an army of snakes especially rat snakes as they are non venomous and cats to tackle the population of rats and other rodents in a natural way. This is a good way to reduce the population of rodents without taking any drastic measures or use of pesticides or other chemicals in the storage areas which prove harmful when consumed by us. This is also as per the laws of the food chain as suggested in science.
Construction of new warehouses and upgradation of existing ones can be undertaken so that the stock of food grains grown can be preserved by the farmers till the time they have to lift the produce to the markets for sale and getting their dues for the efforts put in growing the crops. Farmers can also be given some incentive if they do stay at the warehouse to guard the produce on a rotation basis. This should be a volunteer work. As this reduces the storage charges bill by a substantial amount which will benefit them in the long run.
One more method to preserve food is for the warehouses to be made accountable for the damage to the produce as the owners of the warehouse are the ones who are supposed to take care of whatever grains are stored their. The government and the farmers should together see that the food produce in the warehouses and godowns. The ware house owners can be also given an incentive which should be an annual one of some percent of the amount so saved. Grading can also be done of the godown depending on the way they work and certification or accreditation also given. Thus they too get the incentive of preference over other due to their quality service.
Wastage which takes place at the place of transport, transfer and the market have to be plugged to a minimum. At this accounts for around more than 10 percent of wastage of food. The vehicles on which they get transported should also not have any holes and should be compact and the place of unloading too should be sanitized to see that even if some grains do fall there they can be removed and repackaged thus ensuring that wastage is kept at a bare minimum. This will help a make a huge difference in the long run. Awareness should also be created among those in the industry of the value of food grains being wasted. This will go a long way to mitigate and solve the problem.
The packaging at the retail level is the place where around more than 5 percent of the food grains go waste. This amount though sounding small makes a huge impact in the cost of production and the economies of scale. Which make a difference on the nations gross domestic product or GDP and also help reduce food inflation to a considerable extent. The loss for the retailers in the long run is substantial as their businesses too suffer as they cannot grow at the pace at which they should grow.
In homes of the consumers storage of food grains is generally good. The problem of wastage here comes when they cook food and leave an amount 5 to 10 percent as waste after cooking it and not consuming the same. This food is thrown as waste food the next day. What this means is on the one hand they pay their hard earned money to purchase food grains but at the same time waste 5 to 10 percent of the food without consuming. Food wasted is nothing but energy wasted. Instead let us assume these people eat 5 percent of food less over and above the wasted it means if they would want to they can easily save from 10 to 15 percent of food from getting rotten and wasted. This burns a huge hole in their monthly budget. As they waste fuel too to cook this food. If this is told to them with calculations and awareness created about the regular wastage happening this too can be plugged.
One more way food shortage can be reduced is to tell all citizens to give one hand of rice per family member to organizations who serve the poor, destitute and the orphaned. This goes a long way to mitigate the suffering of this unfortunate section of the society and also see that many people are fed, nourished, trained as good human resource which can be used for the purpose of the growth of the nation and helps in nation building and eradication of hunger and poverty which are the main curse for these people by enabling them to be equal participants in the growth of the nation and its development.
Another place where food lots of wastage of food occurs is at marriages, restaurants and other such places where food is served. A procedure to prepare a list of such places and the people responsible there can be collected by related government bodies and they can be asked to deposit food which has not been consumed and is of good quality which can be verified by the food inspectors. Then packaged to government run day and residential schools where it can be served either as breakfast, lunch or as dinner.
This way food is not wasted, it gets respected by all citizens of a country. There is one more benefit out of it that is the health benefit. As waste food thrown or discarded is a breeding ground for stray dogs, pigs, fleas and other harmful viruses and also spreads a foul smell. This also causes health issues especially to children, the ill and the aged. That problem gets sorted out to a large extent. Food also can be sent by the respective state governments to the place where there is shortage of food due to drought or floods or other causes from all the above listed quota. It will surely reduce the problem of food shortage to a large extent.
The excess food available can also be sent to problematic places in the world where there is poverty, hunger, joblessness, disease due to man made reasons. This is possible but needs a strong awareness campaign and a collective effort among all the members of the society. This is what will ultimately ensure that food shortage will be completely eradicated from the face of the earth. Where there is a collective will there is a way. Dear readers do you agree with the above solutions? Or do you have a solution? If yes please add in the comments. sections.