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No cut in the coverage of National Food Security Act : Ram Vilas Paswan

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

Government has decided not to accept the recommendation of High Level Committee on restructuring of FCI regarding cut in the coverage of the National Food Security Act, said Food Minister  Ram Vilas Paswan

He clarified that beneficiary coverage at the level of 67 per cent as provided by the Nations Food Security Act would continue. He said his Ministry has submitted its views to the Prime Minister’s office regarding all the recommendations of the committee.

Addressing the media here today, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan said that his Ministry has already taken several steps to improve the management of foodgrains. As a result of timely allocations of foodgrains and efficient open market sale policy now there is no old stocks piling up in FCI godowns.

After the current month no stock more than one year old will be in FCI godowns. The Minister said that FCI has also been directed to ensure that movement of foodgrains from CAP storage should be made within six months to avoid any damage.

The Minister said that the Government has allocated more budget to the ongoing schemes of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. This will certainly help in modernization of Public Distribution System and to augment Consumer Protection Mechanism.

He said that end to end computerization Scheme of the Department will get major boost as Budget allocation in the FY 2015-16 is 80 crore while according to Revised Budget Estimates for FY 2014-15 it was Rs. 35 crores.

Similarly, allocation for Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority for 2015-16 is Rs 30 crore, significant increase from Rs.13.81 of the Revised Estimates for 2014-15. The Budget for Strengthening of quality control mechanism for non-building assets has also been increased to Rs. 5 crore from Rs. 3.50 crore. Sugar Development Fund of the Department has also got more allocation in the budget which is Rs. 500 crore while was Rs. 396.45 crore in the Revised Estimates of 2014-15.
He said that allocation for Consumer Protection Activities and programmes have been more than doubled. Allocation for FY 2015-16 is Rs. 43.00 crores while allocation for the same was Rs. 17.72 crores in the Revised Budget Estimates for FY 2014-15.Bureau of India Standards, which is almost a self finance autonomous body of the Ministry working in the area of Standardization and quality control has also been got almost double allocation in the budget from RE of 2014-15. Total plan Budget of the Department of Consumer Affairs has been proposed to Rs. 180.00 crores in the Budget while in the Revised Estimates of 2014-15 it was 140.00 crores.

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Gourmet Grubs Squirm Onto American Plate

Culinary director, Jeremy Kittelson, says Linger is committed to changing the American palate. “As much as we love beef,” he says, “there’s no scientist who will tell you cattle farming is a sustainable practice. We should eat more insects."

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Andrew takes a tentative taste of baked, salted mealworm at Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch. VOA

A huge shipping container in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, is the home of some of the nation’s smallest livestock. Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch is Colorado’s first and only edible insect farm, and one of fewer than three dozen companies in the U.S. growing insects as human food or animal feed.

Wendy Lu McGill started her company in 2015, and today grows nearly 275 kilos of crickets and mealworms every month. “I want to be part of trying to figure out how to feed ourselves better as we have less land and water and a hotter planet and more people to feed,” she explains.

Wendy Lu McGill raises mealworms and crickets to sell to restaurants and food manufacturers.
Wendy Lu McGill raises mealworms and crickets to sell to restaurants and food manufacturers.

Feeding the world’s appetite for protein through beef and even chicken is unsustainable, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. Protein from bugs is more doable.

On the global menu

Edible insects are a great source of high quality protein and essential minerals such as calcium and iron. Edible grubs — insect larvae — offer all that, plus high quality fat, which is good for brain development.

Insects are part of the diet in many parts of the world. Analysts say the global edible insects market is poised to surpass $710 million by 2024, with some estimates as high as $1.2 billion. And while American consumers comprise a small percentage of that market today, there is growing demand for a variety of insect-infused products.

Thinking small

Amy Franklin is the founder of a non-profit called Farms for Orphans, which is working in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “What we do is farm bugs for food because in other countries where we work, they’re a really, really popular food,” she notes.

In Kinshasa’s markets, vendors sell platters of live wild-caught crickets plus big bowls of pulsating African Palm weevil larvae. These wild insects are only plentiful in certain seasons.

Farms for Orphans works with Congo Relief Mission, FAO in Kinshasa and the University of Kinshasa to set up small-scale palm weevil larvae farms to bring sustainable nutrition and economic empowerment to orphanages. (Courtesy: Farms for Orphans)
Farms for Orphans works with Congo Relief Mission, FAO in Kinshasa and the University of Kinshasa to set up small-scale palm weevil larvae farms to bring sustainable nutrition and economic empowerment to orphanages. (Courtesy: Farms for Orphans). VOA

Franklin’s group helps orphanages grow African Palm weevil larvae year round, in shipping containers. “Most of the orphanages don’t own any land. There really is no opportunity for them to grow a garden or to raise chickens. Insects are a protein source that they can grow in a very small space.”

Changing the American palate

It’s estimated that more than 2 billion people worldwide eat insects every day. And even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has confirmed that consumption of crickets and mealworms is safe and that they are a natural protein source, many Americans, like Denver grandfather Terry Koelling, remain skeptical. As he and his grandchildren take a tour of Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch, he admits, “I don’t think they are very appealing, as something to put in your mouth. You see them around dead things, and it just does not appeal to me to eat something that wild.”

Koelling gets adventurous at Linger, a Denver restaurant that has had an insect entree on its menu for three years.

Culinary director, Jeremy Kittelson, says Linger is committed to changing the American palate. “As much as we love beef,” he says, “there’s no scientist who will tell you cattle farming is a sustainable practice. We should eat more insects.”

Also Read: US Military Planes Deliver Aid to Venezuela-Colombia Border

And so Koelling takes a forkful of the Cricket Soba Noodle dish, with black ants, sesame seeds and crickets mixed in with green tea soba noodles, and garnished with Chapuline Crickets.

“The seasoning’s great!” he says with surprise, adding, “Seems to me there weren’t enough crickets in it!” (VOA)