Donating extra food that you don’t plan to use is a great way to reduce wastage while helping to feed the needy in your community. There are several food banks in India that are working to fight hunger and malnutrition in the country while doing their bit to eliminate food wastage and help the environment. They work with the belief that making new food to feed the less privileged is not needed; simply directing the excess can make a huge difference.
The most significant factor – one that policymakers have long ignored – is that a high proportion of the food that India produces never reaches consumers. Sharad Pawar, a former agriculture minister, has noted that food worth $8.3 billion, or nearly 40% of the total value of annual production, is wasted.
This does not capture the full picture: for example, meat accounts for about 4% of food wastage but 20% of the costs, while 70% of fruit and vegetable output is wasted, accounting for 40% of the total cost. India may be the world’s largest milk producer and grow the second largest quantity of fruits and vegetables (after China), but it is also the world’s biggest waster of food. As a result, fruit and vegetable prices are twice what they would be otherwise, and milk costs 50% more than it should.