Food wastage in developed countries inexcusable: India

United Nations, Nov 3 (IANS) In a world grappling with the hunger of millions, it was “inexcusable” that consumers in developed countries waste as much food as all of Sub-Saharan Africa produces every year, India said here on Monday.

Speaking at a session of a General Assembly committee dealing with economic matters, Supriya Sule said over 100 kg of food is wasted every year for each person in the developed countries.

“It is indeed a travesty that the world today produces enough food to feed the global population and yet millions of poor go hungry every day,” she said citing Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) figures.

“This happens because over one-third of all food produced — as much as 1.3 billion tonnes — is wasted every year.”

Sule blamed “unsustainable and wasteful consumption patterns” for the “colossal wastage” that is “inexcusable”.

“It is important to focus greater efforts at awareness creation and attitudinal change in the developed world which will enable us to save huge amounts of food,” she added at the discussion on “Agriculture Development, Food Security and Nutrition”.

Sule, a Nationalist Congress Party member of the Lok Sabha representing Barmati in Maharashtra, is currently among parliamentarians in India’s UN delegation.

Turning to the problem in developing countries, she said there was an “unacceptably high level of post-harvest losses”.

This was due to poor infrastructure and lack of advanced technologies for production, processing and transportation, she said.

“This problem needs to be addressed by means of enhanced investments in rural infrastructure and transportation and storage facilities as well as better access to and deployment of technologies,” Sule said.

Sule, whose Barmati constituency is a major farming area, paid tributes to farmers.

“It is a matter of pride for us that Indian agriculture has achieved self-sufficiency,” she said.

“Today it is not only able to meet the needs of India’s population but is also playing a major role in agricultural trade.”

Referring to the UN’s declaration of 2015 as the International Year of Soils, she said: “In India, a new ambitious scheme has been launched to provide Soil Health Cards to all farmers in the country in a time-bound manner.”

Under the programme launched in February, more than 140 million farms will have their soils tested and issued Soil Health cards detailing the fertiliser and nutrient requirements for productivity and preservation.

More directly for combating hunger and malnutrition, Sule said the National Food Security Act, which seeks to ensure access to quality food at affordable prices, “has already started showing positive results in combating hunger and malnutrition”.

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