There is a statement that there will always be enough to meet everyone’s need, but not everyone’s greed. In this era that is witnessing a slim, if not a vanishing line setting apart need from luxuries, read greed, it is imperative not only to produce more materials of both need and luxuries taking no break but also consume them diligently, particularly food, the greatest and the most needed material to enable accessing it by all, without hardship. Both stakeholders and stockholders in this national task have more than equal responsibility and duty in contributing inputs. Even as the administration is facing hard times for the rising shortage of drinking water in large tracts across the country and also not doing enough to prevent air pollution in urban spaces, the hunger scenario of the land is not showing signs of change for the better. Estimates of total food produced annually in the country and the quantity getting lost have been moving upwards in tandem. That raises the many issues relating to satisfying the hunger of the country’s last citizen.
Creating opportunities of job, read livelihood not only to the already jobless sections in the nation’s population but also to its annual addition of about 12 million is only a partial solution to the problem of overcoming malnutrition among the masses. The target population may get cash-rich, in the process, but unless more food flows in the supply chain, it will undoubtedly lead to foodflation—making food unaffordable to larger numbers in the population.
Connecting the factor of income and that of adequate food for all amounts to oversimplifying the problem of access to food by all. Emphasis is being placed in industry circles on raising investment in the food processing sector, mostly conforming to the models of western countries. Not that the problems bugging the sector are not known in clear terms, but the solutions are not emerging with the same clarity. For example, the technologies of food processing are within the grasp of the players in the industry, but the costs associated with adding value to raw materials, logistics packaging and reaching the products to the consuming public have only made the processed foods prohibitively expensive. The prospects of cost reduction are not in the region of reality.
While the foods processed using western technologies, given their higher price tag, fits the budget of about 10 per cent of the families across the country, the wide array of India’s traditional foods, acceptable to different sections of society and also affordable have greater prospects of success in accessing food for all.