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Use Disruptive Technology to Free India from Hunger and Poverty
The Indian Government must leverage modern technology such as the inventory management systems to minimize food wastage and also to prevent hoarding and black marketing. Storage infrastructure must be bolstered at the supply chain level. Inventory management systems can help in aspects of food delivery and storage as well as prevent wastage.
Photo Credit : Masaru Goto / World Bank.,
Hunger levels are huge in India and many other countries in Asia and Africa. On the Global Hunger Index, India stands at the 97th position. According to an International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) report, one-sixth of the Indian population is undernourished; as many as 190 million people go hungry daily. Around 30% children below 5 years of age are underweight. The country accounts for 30% of neo-natal deaths globally that are linked to malnutrition.
Not only this, 52 countries from the twin continents have serious or alarming levels of hunger. Globally, a greater number of people die of hunger as compared to malaria, tuberculosis and Aids put together. Globally, 45% children die due to malnutrition. About 64% of the world’s poor live in India, together with Bangladesh, Nigeria, China, and Congo.
Several global organizations are making valuable contribution to the fight against hunger and poverty such as the United Nation’s World Food Program, UNICEF and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. NGOs such as The Hunger Project, Astha Shakti, Fight Hunger Foundation, Akshaya Patra are also pitching in eradicate the problem.
Rs. 50,000 crore worth food is wasted every year
One of the main culprits behind such malnutrition and starvation is that there is colossal food wastage. People may consider insufficient food production to be the reason for the hunger issues plaguing India. But, that’s not the entire problem. As much as 40 percent of fruits and vegetables and 20 percent of grains get destroyed owing to inefficient supply chains and insufficient infrastructure. Food worth as much as Rs. 50,000 crore is wasted per year. This wastage has other ramifications as well. This leads to the release of millions of tons of methane gas from garbage dumps, thus polluting the environment. Millions of gallons of the water that was utilized to cultivate that food also goes waste. It is a huge loss.
“Reducing food waste would have a game-changing impact on natural resources depletion and degradation, food insecurity, national security and climate change,” said an official of Rethink Food Waste through Economics and Data, a US-based think-tank.
How can technology help to reduce food wastage through better management?
The Indian Government must leverage modern technology such as the inventory management systems to minimize food wastage and also to prevent hoarding and black marketing. Storage infrastructure must be bolstered at the supply chain level. Inventory management systems can help in aspects of food delivery and storage as well as prevent wastage. They can provide a 360º view of stock levels, operations, as well as inventory. This will ensure that resources are managed effectively.
A repository of the inventory must be maintained together with visibility of supply chain. It can be optimized and thus help in preventing overstocking and shortage. Stocks can be reordered automatically at the right time at the warehouse to prevent wastage. Moreover, supply chain management issues and warehousing can be tackled by putting up robust preservation and storage facilities. A public–private model can also be followed to put up structures the government finds itself unable to install.
Small businesses must reap the benefits of modern technology
“In fact, modern inventory management should be made available to retailers, particularly small businesses as a number of big corporate retailers have already installed those systems. Small retailers will be able to forecast as well as share data throughout the supply chain so that the two aspects of supply and demand can be optimized, says Shashank Dixit, CEO, Deskera, a global cloud provider that makes inventory management software.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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