What future food system do the amazing people of Bengaluru envision in 2050?
Creating a healthy, vibrant, inclusive and healthy future for the citizens of Bengaluru
Lead Applicant Organization Name
VayuKrshi Pvt Ltd
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small NGO (under 50 employees)
If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.
Organizations collaborating with us
1) Edible Issues - a monthly magazine on Indian food system
2) Nymble - Kitchen Automation Startup
3) Woolly.io - Digital Rooftop farming startup.
4) OpenIDEO Bengaluru Chapter
Other stakeholders who are have informed this vision
1) Agnita Robert Narendra - Nutrition & Public Health Researcher of Karnataka Health Promotion Trust
2) Inder Majumdar - Analytics Head at WayCool Foods, an Indian farm-to-fork startup.
3) Government officials of Karnataka Nutrition Mission.
4) Nestle India Supply Chain Manager
5) Partnerships Professional at Akshaya Patra.
As part of OpenIDEO Bengaluru, we also conducted an event on January 14th 2020, to enage stakeholder(karnataka govt, NGOs, startups) colloboratively.
Hence, this Vision is a result of various stakeholders.
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
What country is your selected Place located in?
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
I have been living and working in Bengaluru for the past 6 years.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Bengaluru is currently the third most populous city in India with a population of around 10 million.
It is mostly known for its IT exports and thus referred to as the "Silicon Valley of India". Similar to other major cities in India, Bengaluru is truly a melting pot of different cultures with people nearly from all over India living here and it is also arguably one of the most welcoming city for outsiders in India. Thanks to its high elevation - Bengalurians enjoy a cool to moderate weather during most parts of the year.
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
1) Low farmer income levels leading to suicides among smallholder farmers
Due to the large number the intermediaries (might include merchants, retailers, businesses, processors, traders, agents, etc) in the supply chain, there are usually 4-6 transactions before the food from smallholder farmers reaches the customer. This results in huge transaction costs and thus the farmers are left with low-income levels. This, unfortunately, leads to lot of farmers committing suicide. Many experts and farmers themselves are also of the opinion that urbanites are generally unempathetic towards this epidemic issue in rural India.
Due to low income-levels and thus low marketable surplus, smallholder farmers are also caught-up in a continuing vicious cycle of poverty.
2) Undernutrition and Obesity in Bengaluru
According to NFHS - 4, among children under 5 in Bengaluru Urban - 29.4% were stunted and 25.7% were wasted. Only 16.1% of children between 6 to 23 months receive an adequate diet. These poor nutrition metrics exist despite various government schemes like ICDS, MDM and PDS. Experts are of the opinion that the underlying income inequality, that has still not been addressed, prevents further progress. It was also found that ICDS and PDS programs have issues with targeting the most eligible. MDM scheme also suffers from the influence of ideology/culture from the partners – for example: Lacto-vegetarian beliefs of partner NGOs impacting the MDM diets in Bengaluru.
Obesity is another huge issue in Bengaluru which 4 out of 10 people suffer from. The major reasons for the same are
a) Increasing income levels – leading to greater demand for food taste & experience rather than just consumption.
b) Fingertips access to unhealthy food.
c) Busy working parents increasingly using/promoting convenience food consumption
d) Sedentary lifestyle.
3) Food waste in Bengaluru
According to a study, about 943 tonnes of food is wasted/year during weddings in Bengaluru. The major reasons behind the same are cultural. For example, a) Preparing excess food in order to avoid the “humiliation” of running out later b) Large number of buffet food items on display considered a matter of “pride”. There is also a lack of empathy and awareness about easy food donation options in Bengaluru.
BBMP(city’s civic body) also has recently faced challenges in persuading Bengalurians to segregate waste at the source in spite of many attempts, which in turn lead to food waste being dumped in landfills releasing harmful methane into the atmosphere. Most of the restaurants and individuals are also not aware of the various excess food donation and food waste management options available to them.
The future challenges of the Bengaluru food system include
1) Successfully promoting AgriTech innovations/startups to solve major challenges.
2) Changing behaviors & attitudes towards food and encouraging responsible consumption and production.
3) Diversification of food production and consumption.
4) Managing increasing urbanization.
5) Overcoming the effects of climate change
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
The current and future 2050 challenges in Bengaluru food system can be addressed by
1) Innovations/startups enabling vertical Integration of Food Supply chain
Vertical integration of the food supply chain, enabled by innovations/startups, can reduce the number of intermediaries and thus decrease the transactional costs which in turn can result in an increase in farmer incomes. These startups also have an incentive to facilitate the farmers to improve their farm productivity using the leading industry best practices. Vertical integration can also enable easier communication about the market needs resulting in better decision making and less wastage in farms & supply-chain. This can also accelerate the digitization of the food supply chain data which can facilitate faster payments to the farmers.
In the long run, scaling of vertical integration of the supply chain can result in complete digitization of the supply chain data, which when combined with intelligent weather forecasting, can protect the farmers and Bengaluru public against the unpredictable weather conditions caused by climate change.
2) Digitization of citizens' data leading to accurate targeting of various welfare schemes
The government of India has recently proposed the JAM Yojana scheme which connects Jan Dhaan(bank accounts allotted by the government), Aadhar number(Unique identification of citizens) and mobile number(used by 800 million Indians) of the citizens. This scheme, once implemented and scaled, can fully transform the targeting performance of government welfare schemes resulting in better nutrition & health metrics.
Digitization of the citizens' data can also provide an opportunity to connect other health/nutrition-related data into the system in the future. This, combined with the power data science and AI, can enable better decision making and preventing possible health concerns in advance.
3) Better physical and mental health enabled by behavior change and incentives
Promotion of safe and nutritious food habits by the government like in the case of Eat Right India movement, when scaled up, can result in transformational changes. The citizens can demand safe and nutritious food products from businesses and incentives (in the form of badges/standards etc) can be used to nudge the businesses as well.
This can result in improvements in the health & well-being of the Bengaluru public.
4) Zero wastage policy enabled by behavior change and urban farming
Creating awareness about the life & death situation of food wastage condition in Bengaluru can encourage behavior correction. Intolerance to food waste should be part of the culture & upbringing of Bengaluru leading to an understanding that celebrations are possible with zero wastage.
By 2050, we can also envision 100 Sqft. Of urban farmlands inside Bengaluru and the experience with urban farming can lead to a better appreciation for food leading to less waste and also empathy for the hard work of farmers.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
In 2050, Bengaluru will be one of the leading sustainable and smart cities in the world with Bengalurians enjoying a high-quality of life.
Complete digitization of food system and citizen’s health & nutrition data in highly secure databases combined with robust data science and AI system has enabled the transformation to a intelligent and agile food system. Thanks to this complete digitization, the stakeholders in various government departments, food businesses, NGOs etc in the food system now are able to seamlessly collaborate with each other leading to better decision making and live-tracking.
Farmers are now able to make informed intelligent decisions based on the market needs resulting in a steady income levels. The few other stakeholders in the food supply chain between farm and plate understand the importance of farmers and farm productivity to their own successes thus leading to farmers owning the supply chain. Thus, digitization has also enabled greater urban – rural connectivity.
The Bengalurians also enjoy a green city filled with 100 million Sq.Ft(around 1% of the city area) of urban farmlands – thus reclaiming their right to city’s old nickname - “Garden City”.
Bengalurians now have a greater appreciation of food & natural systems and also empathy for the work of farmers outside Bengaluru urban area. No one can claim that we, Bengalurians, live in a bubble with no concern for the food systems anymore.
Thanks to the upbringing and the culture in Bengaluru, the people have very low tolerance for waste. The celebrations and weddings still continue in 2050, but Bengalurians have proved that food waste can still be minimized by proactive actions facilitated by intelligent food waste detection and transport mechanisms.
Bengalurians also enjoy great physical & mental health – thanks to the healthy food habits formed from birth, access to fresh and organic produce and an active life style.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Role played by welfare programs in 2050
The food system of Bengaluru : https://kumu.io/adharsh2208/bengaluru-food-system-vision-2050#food-system-of-bengaluru
In 2050, Bengaluru will be one of the leading sustainable cities in the world setting an example to the whole world that economic development is possible without compromising on environment sustainability.
Impact of Digitization on realities of life @ Bengaluru in 2050
1) Increasing Urbanization and effects of climate change
Bengalurians enjoy a greater quality of life in spite of the increasing levels of urbanization, continuing from the start of the 21st century, as the other major metros in India – Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai are under threat due to rising sea levels in the last few years. Thus, Bengaluru also has to deal with large inflow of low-cost workers and laborers from other parts of the country which can increase the income inequality – which is currently under control.
But, thanks to the digitization of citizen’s data – government is better equipped to handle the health & nutritional challenges via specific targeted welfare schemes. In addition to the targeted health & nutrition schemes, the public also have access to the Universal Basic Income(UBI). These programs are crucial in keeping the income inequality in check.
2) Role played by welfare programs in 2050
In Bengaluru, the midday meal scheme, integrated child development support and public distribution systems still exists but only for solving operational challenges and not for the purpose of solving s critical health/nutritional challenge.
For example, not all the busy working parents in Bengaluru might have the time to prepare nutritious meals for their wards – hence the government can provide the same as part of MDM program to operationalize the same.
The digitization of citizen’s data, though has caused some privacy concerns among public initially, resulted in targeted and specific programs by the government thus providing timely recovery and prevention in times of need.
Universal Basic Income(UBI) is a key welfare program made possible again by digitization of citizen’s data.
3) Life of farmers
The climate change has really resulted in extreme weather conditions throughout the world and the farmers are largely affected. In 2050, after having gone through the effects of climate change a lot of times, the intelligence data systems helps the farmers to plan their annual, monthly and weekly - food type and quantity decisions.
The indoor precision farming – with ability to adjust the climatic conditions is recently becoming popular and farmers are also no strangers now to adopting to new technologies when a need arises.
Also, the farmers really feel supported and respected by the other stakeholders and especially Bengaluru public for their crucial role in the society.
4) Zero waste society and sustainability
Bengalurians are very particular about waste management in general and do their part. It is in their upbringing and culture, that food waste is really a matter of life & death.
The celebrations at weddings, festivals and parties still continue – but Bengalurians have learnt to adapt and celebrate in a green, eco-friendly and sustainable way.
5) Culture and regular life at Bengaluru
The Bengaluru rightly got their city’s old nickname “Garden city” back – thanks to 1 % of urban Bengaluru area filled with advanced urban farms. Though, there are still challenges to make urban farming in Bengaluru as a profitable venture – the other benefits far out way the same.
The urban farming has lead to community farming in certain parts of Bengaluru like Indira Nagar, HSR layout and Koramangala. This has improved community cohesiveness of the different cultures in these areas.
Urban farming – the experience and observations about the same has improved the people’s sense of appreciation of food and its natural systems. You can see a lot Bengalurians debating about the life of farmers in rural areas and appreciations for their crucial impact to their lives.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?