India to Implement FAO Report for Food Security
12 July 2013
New Delhi: After a Food and Agriculture Organization report recently hailed insects as an under-utilized food for people, the government of India has decided to implement it in order to improve Food Security within the country.
The 200-page report, released at the UN agency's Rome headquarters during May 2013, claimed that 2 billion people worldwide already supplement their diets with insects, which are high in protein and minerals, and have environmental benefits. (You can read about it here.)
The PMO said it was analysing the report and may integrate it with Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s election manifesto aka food security bill.
However going by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s views it was clear that his ministry was already nuts about insects. Addressing a press conference today in New Delhi he said insects provide high-quality protein and nutrients when compared with meat and fish and are "particularly important as a food supplement for under-nourished children."
"And we must not forget, insects are also rich in copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc, and are a source of fiber.”
Wasting no time, his ministry has started promoting insects as a food/food supplement. The ministry of food is almost ready to launch a programme to make insects a part of Indians’ - particularly those living below poverty line - diet.
Towards this the government is planning to set up special community kitchens all over the country to popularise insect dishes. According to the Mr. Pawar these kitchens will be run on the lines of Amma Kitchens in Tamil Nadu. “The name has not been decided for the time being, but they may be called MADAME KITCHENS.”
Given the blessings of Madame, these kitchens will be heavily subsidised. “The subsidies will cost about 20,000 crore rupees a year”, informed Mr. Pawar, “but let us not forget that the Food Security Bill is costing upwards of Rs. 100,000 crores per annum.”
Apart from this, the government has also requested Tarla Dalal to write a few books about insect cooking. Though Tarla Dalal usually writes cook books on vegetarian segment, she has agreed to do a few books on insects as “it is an exercise in nation building.”
Always one step ahead, celebrated chef Sanjiv Kapoor was already telecasting insectarian recipes like Grasshopper Fritters, Locust Stew, and Spicy Fried Ants.
To fortify the food at the street level, the roadside eateries are also being asked to include insects in their popular mainstream dishes. They have been told to integrate insects in street staple like Chhat, Chhole, Chhole Bhature, Pani Puri (called Golgappe in North India), Dabeli, Alu tikki and Puri Bhaji. Though many roadside food vendors said it was not something they had to do on purpose. “By default our food contains a few insects roaming around our stalls.”
In Maharashtra, where Mr. Sharad Pawar's party is part of ruling coalition, the government has asked all vada pav makers to ensure that at least 5 medium size insects form an integral part of every vada from 15th August, the day the programme will be launched with full fury. “The Food Inspectors will break open vada samples during random checks and if no insect was found inside, they will seize entire stock.” Said a spokesperson of Food and Drug Administration.
Meanwhile Sadhu Vaswani criticised the move. He said that he will soon launch a movement to oppose insect consumption. “We have achieved commendable success with our Meatless Day, and now we want to replicate it with “Insect-less Day,” he said during his evening discourse in Pune.
Along the similar lines, a group of environmentalists today launched a campaign for protection of insects. Called “Save Insects” the NGO has a catch phrase: “Keere Bachao, Desh Bachao.” They claim that such a planned assault will endanger several insects species which will be a disaster for the whole world.
Unperturbed by this, the government has decided to widen the scope of insects in diet. Mr. Rahul Gandhi who was recently in limelight because of his statement that nobody in the country will be allowed to sleep on hungry stomach said the government will provide a solar lantern each to every BPL family. According to him, this is not just to save them from darker nights, it is basically to save them from malnutrition. “the lanterns automatically attract a variety of insects, which can be used by the family during dinner...totally fresh, absolutely nutritious.”
(Disclaimer: This news report is pure fiction, a produce of fertile imagination, and none of the people, organisations, NGO, politicians, office bearers, or government officials mentioned on this page have anything to do with this topic, subject or report. Entire fabrication is meant for simple fun.)
Did you like this story?