Food inflation has shot through the roof in India

Filed on December 1, 2019 | Last updated on December 1, 2019 at 08.47 pm

Even though the official food inflation in India is around 5 per cent, it seems much more when we go out to shop. The bills are spiraling and inflation seems anywhere between 8 and 10 per cent.

The supply of fruits and vegetables was badly affected due to the protracted monsoons in many parts of the country. Lots of crops, including onions have been destroyed, leading to price rise of as much as Rs80 to Rs100 per kilo.

More than a third of India's fruits and vegetables (at 40 per cent, to be precise) is wasted due to poor/scant storage and transit facilities. One way to reduce this wastage is to foster cold storage buildings. Also, it would be worthwhile to ensure that trucks and vans carrying food products, particularly dairy items, have cold storage/air-conditioned facilities. Moreover, the central and state governments should hold buffer stocks of food grains and staple vegetables like onions and potatoes and release it in the 'mandis' when required.

Rising food prices also bring to the fore some malpractices that lead to huge wastage. At weddings/social gatherings, for instance, a lot of food is simply thrown away after the event. It is true in case of large restaurants as well. This food can be given away.

Arrangements should be made to transfer food to a food bank that feeds the needy. Dubai has installed several such banks in the city, and so have other cities in the world.

Also, recent news reports suggest that the consumption of salt, sugar, and spices has declined by about 14 per cent in India. This is serious. It means people are eating less; they are skipping meals, and it could be due to high prices, lack of money, or jobs. The centre and state governments must address this issue at the earliest.

- Rajendra Aneja, Bengaluru, India

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