[Answered] A huge amount of food produced annually goes unconsumed and turns into waste. Suggest measures to prevent food wastage in India.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Write some measures to prevent food wastage in India.

Conclusion: Write a way forward.

The Food Waste Index Report 2021, by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), revealed that 17% of all food available at consumer level was wasted in 2019 and around 690 million people had to go hungry. It is said that reducing just 50% of food loss or waste could end world hunger. Food waste is a significant emitter of greenhouse gases, generating 8-10% of global emissions.

Measures to prevent food wastage in India:

  • Ensuring comprehensible labelling: only 35% of consumers fully understand the difference between terms such as “best before”, “consume by” and “expiry date” seen on date labels. Thus, the labelling which is understandable by common consumers will be helpful.
  • Use of Information Technology (IT): Using Internet-of-Things (IoT) solutions in cold chains can help organizations harness data-driven insights, enhance traceability and monitor the quality of perishables.
  • Collaboration across the entire value chain: The focus should be on implementing and scaling up tech solutions that generate maximum impact such as demand forecasting, temperature monitoring, inventory management, geographic information system (GIS) mapping, and remote sensing. Boosting local supply chains also leads to reduced spoilage and waste, quicker turnaround times.
  • Food waste-related benchmarks: Organizations need to set food waste reduction goals, establish relevant metrics, track and report progress against them.
  • Awareness and Sensitisation drives:to inculcate a behavioural change in food usage. For example, changes like, feed someone with extra food or make a compost out of it.
  • Multilateral platforms like the UN Food Systems Summit can be used to improve cooperation and collaboration among countries.
  • India can utilise the knowledge and practice of UNEP’s Regional Food Waste Working Groups. Especially to share and learn good practices with peer countries.
  • India should include Food wastage as a core component of itsNationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Summit. This will place great accountability and motivate the country to take more concrete and innovative steps.

India needs a more proactive approach towards food wastage that should involve a blend of incentives, penalties and behaviour changing measures. This will ensure judicious food utilisation and would also help in achieving SDG 12.3 that aims to halve global food waste by 2030.

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