1.3 million tonnes of food wasted annually, says farm scientist

S. Ayyappan, former DG, ICAR (left), presenting an award to a CFTRI employee in Mysuru on Monday.

S. Ayyappan, former DG, ICAR (left), presenting an award to a CFTRI employee in Mysuru on Monday.  

‘It is more efficient to reduce food loss and waste rather than expand production’

S. Ayyappan, former Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) on Monday observed that reduction in food loss and waste was far more efficient than expanding food production to increase availability.

Globally, up to 1.3 million tonnes of food estimated to be lost and wasted annually was equivalent to 24% of all food calories produced for human consumption, he said. Dr. Ayyappan was speaking at the 50th Foundation Day of the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) here.

During his talk ‘Farm to Food: Connect to Converge,’ he said around 520 million tonnes of food was lost in storage and handling while an estimated 780 million tonnes was lost during handling and processing. He added that innovations, inputs, incentives, investments, and institutions can turn farmers into ‘agripreneurs’. Among the areas that could be given attention for doubling farmers’ income were cutting down on input costs and adding value to produce, besides diversification and integration. Food processing was a key element in improving farmers’ income and market for their produce, he explained.

By 2050, 70% of the population will move to cities and there will be 70% increase in agriculture production, he added.

Advocating the need to move to ‘speciality agriculture’ to double farmers’ income, Dr. Ayyappan, currently the vice-chancellor of Central Agricultural University, Imphal, said skill and youth in agriculture were key besides health and nutritional foods. He said foresight, innovation and mentoring could transform agriculture to ‘agripreneurship’ and asked farmers to look for smart innovations to make their occupation even more profitable.

On the occasion, the CSIR-CFTRI signed MoUs with Yes Bank and Plataforma Ventures. Earlier, annual awards were presented to scientists, students, departments, non-teaching and other staff. These included the best contribution award, best research publication award for basic sciences, applied research, best student award (M.Sc. Food Technology), best research fellow award, best technology transfer award, best R and D Department award, best support department award, best technical support staff, best individual award for technical contributions and award for outstanding institutional contribution. The programme was followed by an industry meet that representatives from various food industries attended.

‘India has the least number of researchers’

For a population of one million, the country has merely 216 researchers. Israel has the highest number of researchers — 8,250 per million population while Denmark and Sweden have 7,515 and 7,153 researchers per million respectively. Among Asian countries, Korea leads with 7,113 researchers. Dr. Ayyappan shared these statistics during his talk.

European and Asian countries have overtaken the United States and the United Kingdom in the area of research. Countries like Brazil (881) and Thailand (1,210) have more number of people carrying out research than India.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 9:55:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/13-million-tonnes-of-food-wasted-annually-says-farm-scientist/article29762218.ece

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