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Thursday, 6 December, 2001, 16:47 GMT
India's food going to waste
Clearing away rats in Bombay
A rat clearing operation in Bombay
By the BBC's Habib Beary in Bangalore

Agricultural experts meeting in the southern Indian city of Bangalore estimate that food and vegetables worth 350 billion rupees ($7.3bn) are wasted every year in India.

The cause is the lack of food processing plants, even though India is the third largest food producer in the world.

Officials also revealed that 20% of the 601 million tons of food grain that India produces annually is eaten by rodents.

These figures were given on the final day of a five-day national Agri-Food summit held here.

Inadequate

Called the Bangalore Declaration, the document released on Thursday by the Karnataka Government said the 120 million tons of food grain lost to rodents across the country could be reduced by proper storage of grains in warehouses.


Officials said only 7% of food in India is processed

The document also highlights the woefully inadequate level of food processing in the country.

The Chief Secretary of Karnataka, N Viswanathan, said that only 2% of food produced in India went on to be processed.

"We have a long way to go. There has be massive investments to give the food processing a big boost" Mr Viswanathan declared.

More than 100 companies involved in food processing, including multinational giants like Heinz, Tetra Pak and Praxair, took part in the summit, organised by Karnataka State in coordination with the federal food processing ministry.

Officials said only 7% of food in India is processed. The United Kingdom processes 88% of its food. Officials said even a developing country like the Philippines processes as much as 45% of its food.

The declaration urged the federal government to initiate reforms in the food processing sector.

The federal government has also been asked to help improve warehouses as well as set up cold storage facilities.

See also:

21 Apr 00 | South Asia
India suffers severe drought
19 Apr 00 | South Asia
Bank urges states to share water
23 Apr 00 | South Asia
Drought appeal in India
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