High food inflation to persist in urban India: Swaminathan

New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) Noted argiculture scientist M SSwaminathan today said the current spike in food inflation islikely to persist for some time in urban India and describedprice rise as ''man-made''.

"High food inflation is here to stay, specially in urbancities as economy is mismanaged. Food inflation is man-made (in big cities)," Swaminathan said on the sideliens of aconference here.

Swaminathan, who is the harbinger of the Green Revolutionin the country, called for streamlining of the supply-chainand post-harvest systems in the economy.

"We need a holistic approach to streamline procurementand reform supply-chain and post-harvest systems," he said.

His statement assumes significance at a time when foodinflation remains a major concern for the government and theRBI.

As per the data released today, food inflation stood at13.07 per cent for the week ended January 29.

High food prices specially of kitchen staples like onionshave prompted the government to take a slew of measuresincluding export ban.

Experts have in recent times also pointed to the glaringdiparity between the wholesale prices and the rate at whichfood items are being sold to consumers in the retail market.

Illegal hoarding and losses due to lack of proper storageand warehouse facilities have been blamed for such asituation.

As much as 30 per cent of the country''s vegetable andfruits are estimated to be wasted before reaching theconsumer.

However, according to Swaminathan, the high food priceshave not led to increased profit for the farmers

He said that "it was difficult to strike a balancebetween rural consumers (also farmers) and urban consumers.

Rural farmers are struggling to get fair price for theirproduce, while urban consumers want lower price".

"The whole system is very weak, storage andtransportation is poor and there is no organised system," henoted.

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