By: Keyur Seta
Pictures: Tejprakash Mishra
Even after almost 68 years of independence, millions are dying in India due to hunger. In fact, India ranks 63 out of 88 in Global Hunger Index. However, amidst such a situation, India is also infamous for wasting food alarmingly. It might give you a jolt to know that India wastes as much food as the entire United Kingdom (UK) consumes!
These disturbing statistics were shared at the Leadership Seminar at Ramakrishna Mission, Mumbai by Sushil Kumar Singh, Senior Manager of Fruits & Vegetables Division in Reliance Retail. The theme of the seminar was Human Excellence in Sustainable Business Transformation in Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Industry. It was organized by Mr. Jayanta Roy.
Singh also had more alarming details to share. Each year, 21 million tons of wheat is wasted due to lack of proper storage, food distribution chains and poor transport facility. Apart from the fallacies of the authorities, individual manners also play a role in wasting huge amounts of food. This is seen the most in buffets, restaurant meals and parties.
He also highlighted what one can do to stop this:-
1) Avoid impulse ordering when you are hungry.
2) Inquire how your office canteen manages excess food.
3) Plan to handle excess food during parties.
4) Make it a habit to finish your plate and inculcate it to others.
Prof. Shobha A. Udipi, HOD Food, Science & Nutrition at SNDT University, stressed on the importance of nutrition through the following points:-
- Not many might know that India is the Diabetes capital of the world.
- These days, people are happily abandoning traditional food patterns by having all types of junk food thereby blocking proper nutrition.
- Ayurveda strictly advises against the practice of having all types of food for the entire year. For example, Til Ladoos are eaten during Sankranti because it has properties needed for the body during winters. However, people are now consuming it throughout the year. Ayurveda it is not just about medicine but way of life.
- Craze for polished rice is spreading fast whereas normal rice is best for us.
- Our needs are very less. But the problem these days is that our wants are taking precedence over needs.
Development in the opposite and positive direction was also shared at the event when Mr Warke explained the heartwarming service by Akshay Patra of providing meals to 1.5 million kids daily across India. The highlight of the session was their process of making 40,000 chapatis every hour, whose video footage was screened at the event.
The event had another share of delight when Bharat Kedia, CFO of Parag Milk Foods, narrated and demonstrated the success story of their owner and founder Devendra Shah, who played a big role in India’s White Revolution. After witnessing it, I bet many of us would become interested in visiting their dairy, especially for the kind manner in which they milk their cows, unlike most other dairies.
The event also saw speeches and presentations by Sadabrata Ghosh, Ex-VP ICI Ltd, on Human Excellence in Agriculture, Dr R. Shesha Iyer (Director, S P Jain Institute of Management) on Ethical Leadership & Social Responsibility, Prof. Rekha S Singhal (HOD, Food Engineering & Chemical Technology) on Building World Class Institutions, Mainak Dhar (MG, General Mills) on Developing Leader of the Future. There was also a spiritual talk by Swami Narasimhananda from Advaita Ashrama.
Overall, the event highlighted that our apathy is the result of our own bad actions. Therefore, the solution lies in our good actions. The positive developments highlighted are proof of this theory.