India is the second largest producer of food in the world after China but it was at 100th position among119 countries in the Global Hunger Index report 2017. It has been placed in the high end of “serious” hunger category with a score of just 31.4. Around 15.2% of our people are undernourished and 38.7% of the under-five children are stunted. This situation can only be tackled through a combined action of all stakeholders in the nation with a holistic approach towards reducing the food waste and hunger.
This is why FSSAI has initiated the ‘Indian Food Recovery Alliance’ (IFRA) — a coalition of food recovery partners. Millions of children in India are in need of good nutritious food and supporting hands and FSSAI has launched the IFRA so as to create a common platform of agencies that can collect surplus food and distribute it to the needy.
In India, about 12 food recovery agencies are already functional in various cities. Some of these are No Food Waste, Feeding India, Indian Food Banking Network, Roti Bank, Annakshetra, Giveaway India, Robin Hood Army, etc. These organizations help to feed, on an average, over one lakh people per day in more than 70 cities. The FSSAI has attempted to integrate all these food recovery networks across India to combat food waste issues.
The coalition of partners was able to demonstrate their models of food recovery. A web-based platform was also released as a pilot where interested donors, individuals, and volunteers can register and become a part of this initiative After the web-platform is fully developed than the platform, as well as a mobile application, will be accessible to registered persons so they can donate food.
The food recovery agencies will ensure with due diligence, that food is well distributed. The food donors will be able to track all data and information on the status of the food they donated. The web-platform will also be used to provide guidance to citizens, food businesses, and other food recovery agencies on how to prevent food loss and food waste and how to safely recover surplus food that is lost and wasted at various stages in India every year. The initiative will enable a number of food recovery agencies to work in a uniform manner towards their common goal of saving food and distributing it to the needy. It is an initiative aimed at eradicating to some extent the problem of hunger.
FSSAI has also drafted a regulation of surplus food recovery and food distributions.