FSII calls for action on International Day of Zero Waste amidst alarming agricultural waste

FSII calls for action on International Day of Zero Waste amidst alarming agricultural waste

India faces a significant challenge with its agricultural waste generation. Annually, the nation produces about 683 million tonnes (MT) of crop waste and an estimated 682.6 million tonnes of agricultural waste, including both edible crop production and surplus materials. This waste contributes substantially to India’s overall waste generation, amounting to approximately 62 million tonnes per year.

Additionally, out of India’s total solid waste, roughly 380 million tonnes are organic wastes from agricultural sources. These numbers highlight the urgent need for effective waste management strategies to minimise environmental pollution and promote sustainable practices.

The Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) recognises the severity of this situation and urges immediate action on the International Day of Zero Waste. Effective waste management in agriculture requires sustainable practices to optimise resource usage, including careful application of fertilisers, pesticides, and water. Precision farming, a technique of improving crop yields and assisting management decisions using high-technology sensors and analysis tools, can significantly reduce input waste, enhancing long-term sustainability. It ensures the effective management of fertilisers and irrigation processes.

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Food waste reduction requires a two-pronged approach: minimising spoilage throughout the supply chain and aligning food production with demand.

Firstly, better storage and transportation practices are crucial. Technologies like moisture-preserving coatings for produce and implementing tracking systems can significantly extend a product’s shelf life.

Secondly, bridging the gap between supply and demand is essential. In India’s complex supply chains, food needs are often predictable, yet production isn’t due to the many layers between farmers and consumers. Here, technology plays a vital role. By building a data network across the chain, from satellite imagery to smartphone apps, we can create a clearer picture of food demand, allowing farmers to adjust production accordingly. Additionally, advancements in biotechnology, such as disease-resistant crops, can further reduce pre- and post-harvest losses.

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By prioritising these initiatives, India can significantly reduce food waste. This not only lessens the environmental impact, including water and energy waste, greenhouse gas emissions, and soil degradation, but also promotes sustainable agriculture, resource conservation, and a path towards environmental responsibility for future generations.

FSII calls for collaborative efforts involving all stakeholders across the agricultural value chain to address this pressing issue. By embracing sustainable practices, we can work towards a future where agricultural waste is minimised, environmental pollution is reduced, and India’s agricultural sector thrives sustainably.

(Raghavan Sampathkumar is the Executive Director of the Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII). Views expressed in the article are author’s own.)

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About Raghavan Sampathkumar

Raghavan Sampathkumar is the Executive Director of the Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII)

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