How Technology Can Help In The Fight Against Hunger ?

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India ranks 55 on the Global Hunger Index. One sixth of the Indian population is undernourished and 190 million people go hungry daily, according to a report by International Food Policy Research Institute (IRPRI). Thirty percent of children below the age of five are underweight. The number of children who die every day due to poor-diet related sickness is 3000. India accounts for 30% of global neo-natal deaths.

technology fight hunger

(Source: International Food Policy Research Institute (IRPRI))

Drastic spike in the gap between the rich and the poor

Globally, the figure is disappointing as well. It’s no secret that hunger levels are highest in Africa and Asia. The report says that 52 countries, mostly from these two continents, have hunger levels in the serious or alarming categories. World-wide, hunger kills more people annually than Aids, malaria, and tuberculosis put together. Globally, 45% of children die due to poor nutrition. Five countries are home to 64% of the world’s extremely poor people: India, China, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Congo. This statistic is surprising, given that India and China have emerged as global powers and the number of billionaires living in these countries has increased every year. Development has been lopsided, with only a small section of the population reaping rich dividends, while the vast majority has languished, says the report.

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Food worth Rs. 50,000 cr wasted every year

In view of such a grim scenario, we are confronted with the question: What are the reasons for such hunger? We might be tempted to think that the main culprit is insufficient food production. This is, however, only half the truth. In India, 40% of all fruits and vegetables and 20% of grains rot or get destroyed due to lack of infrastructure and inefficient supply chains and never reach the consumers. Food worth Rs. 50,000 cr is wasted every year in India. Such humungous waste not only results in hunger but also the release of millions of tons of harmful methane gas emissions from garbage dumps. It also leads to the wastage of trillions of gallons of freshwater that was used to grow the wasted food.

“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.

Technology can reduce food wastage, leakage and black marketing

Modern technology, such as inventory management software, can help solve this problem. It can keep a tab on all aspects of delivery and storage. It can provide a 360º view of the inventory, stock levels, and operations so that stocks can be effectively managed. A central repository of all inventory items can be maintained, along with a complete visibility of the supply chain. The inventory can be optimized by anticipating demand to prevent inventory shortage and overstocks.

Small- to medium-sized enterprises can benefit immensely from inventory management systems, with 70% SMEs expressing satisfaction, according to a survey conducted by Deskera, a Cloud-based enterprise solutions provider. The government handles a lot of food storage and there are special departments and agencies created for this purpose. It is surprising that such wastage is still happening. The food ministry can be made aware of the existence of such technologies and how they can be used to minimize wastage. It can plug leakages and prevent hoarding and black marketing.

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Affordable technology for SMEs and big players

Apart from the Government, there are small and medium businesses also along the food chain, which don’t have similar financial muscle. A number of large food retailers are already using inventory management systems. Small and medium enterprises can steal a march over their overarching competitors using inventory software: It can help them save money too. Stocks can be automatically reordered at the appropriate time from the main warehouse to prevent wastage. Small retailers will be able to forecast better and share data throughout the supply chain so that supply and demand can be optimized. It is also easy to implement over a short time.

“Control over stocks is much better now. Because of the technology, we have managed to save more than 30% of the overall inventory management costs,” says an Suresh Kapoor, a small supply chain enterprise owner from Punjab.

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And the cherry on the cake is that this technology is totally value for money or paisa vasool.

(Disclaimer: This is a guest post submitted on Techstory by the mentioned authors.All the contents and images in the article have been provided to Techstory by the authors of the article. Techstory is not responsible or liable for any content in this article.)

About The Author:

general and service taxWith more than 10 years of experience in the field of journalism, Muqbil Ahmar is a Senior Editor at Deskera, the leading business software company in the Asia-Pacific region. Armed with an M.Phil in Science Policy Studies, he looks at technology from the prism of society.

He believes technology has to add meaning to the lives of people for whom it was created in the first place. He wants to bring about better understanding between the two worlds so that they do not act against each other but in mutually beneficial ways so that the world becomes a better place to live in and to leave for future generations.