Food Worth $6.8b Rots in India Each Year: Minister

Food Worth $6.8b Rots in India Each Year: Minister

By Agence France-Presse on 8:47 pm August 23, 2013.
New Delhi. Food grains, fruits and vegetables worth $6.8 billion go to waste every year in India because of inadequate storage facilities, a minister said on Friday. Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said the country’s storage requirement was 61.3 million tons against the current capacity of around 29 million tons, citing a report commissioned last year. “The present gap is around 32 million tons,” he said in the upper house of the parliament, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. The total wastage of cereals, fruits and vegetables would add up to 440 billion rupees ($6.8 billion) a year, the minister said.Pawar said the government had initiated various steps to encourage the creation of new storage capacity, which is in focus as the ruling Congress party rolls out a massive new food programme to feed the poor.

The Food Security law, which the government is attempting to steer through parliament, will offer subsidized grains to nearly 70 percent of the population, or more than 800 million people.

Nearly two-thirds of India’s 1.2 billion population still depends on agriculture for their livelihood and the government is the country’s biggest purchaser of produce through its centralised procurement system.

Food grain production during the agricultural year 2012-13 is estimated to have touched a record 255.4 million tons but analysts say the government does not have the warehousing facilities to store the produce.

Despite two decades of fast economic growth, India still struggles with endemic malnutrition which affects more than 40 percent of children, prompting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to describe it as a “national shame.”

Cold storage facilities, or refrigerated warehouses, are particularly lacking in India.

Pawar said foreign investment in India’s retail sector would help in developing back-end cold storage infrastructure in the country.

Singh’s government allowed foreign supermarkets to establish 51-percent joint ventures in the country in September last year, and this month rules were relaxed further to encourage investment.

Agence France-Presse

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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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