Food Sector Reform: Tackling The Runaway Food Inflation Train

But inflation in vegetables is at 78% with onions going through the roof, and in protein foods at 19%. Even cereals are up at 14%, with the basic staple, rice, at 20%. Much of this is self-inflicted and controllable, provided we are ready to take some bold steps. While food inflation hovered below 4% during FY 2001 to FY 2008, it jumped to double digits during FY 2009 to FY 2013 and is continuing at that pace. One reason was the big fiscal stimulus of FY 2009, just before the last election, which doubled the fiscal deficit in a single year. In a country where an average household spends almost half of its expenditure on food, it was but natural that this increased spending will put pressure on food prices. The supply response in agriculture is positive and gave a high farm GDP growth in response to better price incentives, but not so high as to keep have to control food prices in the medium term, we must wind down the fiscal stimulus in a calibrated way. That’s where the dilemma between growth and food inflation appears. Though the fiscal stimulus helped raise overall growth, it also pumped up lot of expenditure through NREGA-type activities. These have led to an unprecedented increase in farm wages, which have been growing at almost 18% per annum for the last five years. This is causing cost push food inflation, partly also via MSPs responding to rising costs in farming. Unless labour and land productivity increases faster, this pressure on food inflation is going to stay.

Clovis food-scrap recycling program off to a slow start

Anyone with interest can contact Northside Common Ministries executive director Jay Poliziani at j.poliziani@ncmin.org . “We realize they have a need 12 months a year and that the need is growing,” said Darlene Durrwachter Rushing, the advisory group’s volunteer coordinator. “We are just a neighborhood gathering of folks right now, saying we don’t want any of our neighbors going hungry. “Our resources are our brain power and our connections in addition to labor, food and monetary donations. We want to harness our resources and put them to work.” Several neighbors are organizing food drives through their businesses in anticipation of the upcoming holidays, she said. More than a dozen small North Side nonprofits distribute food bank supplies one day a month, but the food pantry at Northside Common Ministries, 1601 Brighton Road, is open three days every week and distributes food to about 1,000 people a month. It is one of the largest recipients of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The food pantry is open to serve and accept donations from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Mr. Poliziani said 80 percent of the pantry’s inventory comes from the Food Bank, “and each year [client] demand increases around the holidays by 30 to 40 percent.

Food act: Fresh burden of Rs 2,200 crore worries West Bengal

“A good deal of it comes from the commercial sector,” he said. “But the amount coming from residential (food scraps) is not inconsequential.” Visalia started its first residential food scraps composting program in 2009 and expanded it citywide the following year. Last year, the city added commercial accounts, such as restaurants, and has gotten good response, said Nathan Garza, a natural resource conservation technician with the city. He said some residents still are not aware of the residential green waste program for food scraps. “It was definitely spread by word of mouth on the residential side,” he said. San Francisco-based Recology, a solid waste contractor, began composting food scraps 17 years ago. “It’s one of the keys to meeting our environmental challenges,” said Robert Reed, Recology public relations manager. San Francisco’s program has collected nearly 1.2 million tons of food scraps and plant materials since its inception, the equivalent of removing 31/2 years of emissions from all traffic crossing the San Francisco Bay Bridge, Reed said. Meeting state rules State guidelines require that cities reduce landfill waste from 1990 levels by 75% by 2020. Clovis already met previous rules requiring 50% of landfill waste diverted by 2000. There are almost no options remaining beyond food scraps for residential trash pickup to meet the 2020 deadline, said Luke Serpa, Clovis public utilities director. He said the city may look to commercial customers for additional landfill trash diversion.

North Side group aids food pantry

People wait in line for the doors to open at the Northside Common Ministries, 1601 Brighton Road on the North Side. The ministry is holding more food drives in anticipation of the holidays and more people needing its services because other pantries are shutting down.

With the new financial burden in place, it is not possible for us to bear it further,” said a state finance department official. “The proposed bill will cripple finances and increase deficits for the cash-strapped state, already reeling under the financial crunch, said the official. Meanwhile, state’s food and supplies secretary Anil Verma will talk to the is likely to meet food secretaries of other states on Monday to set the agenda for the ministers’ conference. The states were given have been provided a year for the implementation of the act ensuring heavily-subsidized food grains for about 82 crore people in the country. Some states like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh , Rajasthan, Uttranchal, Mizoram and Delhi have already started implementing the act. The act will cover about 75% and 50% per cent of rural and urban population respectively under the targeted public distribution scheme as a single category, with uniform entitlement of 5 kg per person per month. They will get rice, wheat and coarse grains at the rates of Rs 3, 2 and1 per kg respectively. The Bengal government is already providing rice at Rs 2 per kg in the Maoist-affected Jangalmahal area. “Even if you take out Rs 500 crore, which we have to provide for the subsidized rice in Jangalmahal, it comes to around Rs 1,700 crore. Under the present financial condition, the state is not in a position to bear the burden,” said Jyotipriyo Mullick, food and supplies minister of the state. According to the proposal, while the Centre will bear 78% subsidy for implementing food security bill , state government will have to bear 22%.