1. Agriculture World

How much food is wasted in India?

Prity Barman
Prity Barman
Food Wastage

Synopsis: It Has been estimated that every year in India about Rs 92,000 crores worth, over 67 million tonnes of food is wasted. In other words, this amount is adequate to feed all of Bihar for a year. 

It's something to appreciate to have food everyday on our plates and table, but have we ever thought consciously as to how much food we waste on daily basis. Have we ever started evaluating how much food our household, culture, nation and the environment are wasting? 

It's not something that scares individuals who have food readily accessible whenever they feel hungry. However, for those who are not even able to consume one meal a day, they always wonder if they should have filled their stomach with all the food that is wasted around them on a regular basis. 

For global food security and the climate, food waste is a topic of priority. But what a lot of people do not know is that it also influences the economy of a nation. Every day, in medium and high-income countries, food fit for human consumption is discarded in vast amounts at the supermarket and market level. In particular, major food and waste losses exist in the food supply chain in low-income countries at the manufacturing and processing stages. 

Food Wastage in India:  

Data reveals that India wastes as much food as the whole United Kingdom eats, contrary to Indians' perception that we don't waste food. In fact, food waste in India is a troubling concern, and the streets of the country, especially garbage bins and landfills have ample evidence to prove this. Up to 40 per cent of the food produced in India is wasted, according to the United Nations Development Programme, and about 21 million tons of wheat is wasted annually. 

To see how much food is wasted in the country, we don't even have to search across multiple resources. India reported high waste due to a weak supply chain during the national lockdown this year. Food distribution website MilkBasket lost 15,000 liters of milk and 10,000 kg of vegetables in a single day due to lockdown, after delivery agents were refused entry into communities. Farmers poured thousands of liters of milk into a river in the Belagavi district of Karnataka after they were unable to reach customers because of the lockdown. 

There are several other examples of food wastage that has occurred in greater extent this year especially during the lockdown days. 

Food Wastage Statistics:  

Every year in India, about 67 million tonnes of food is wasted, which has been estimated to be around of Rs 92,000 crores. In other words, this amount is adequate to feed all of Bihar for a year. 

Nearly 21 million metric tons of wheat is found to rot in India per year. This number is equivalent to the gross annual production of Australia. 

Mumbai produces almost 9,400 metric tonnes of solid waste per day, 73 percent of which is dairy, vegetable, and fruit waste, while just 3 percent is plastic, according to old BMC data from 2018. 

National Delhi also produces about 9,000 metric tonnes of waste per day, with East Delhi being the largest landfill in the region. 

Economic effect:  

Not only does food waste have a negative impact on the environment, but also creates economic losses. Approximately one-third of all food created for human consumption is lost or wasted, according to an FAO study. The economic effects of this food pollution are considerable, amounting to about $1 trillion per year. 

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