In these days of runaway inflation and as more and more people migrate to the cities, there are lesser and lesser people who are working on the farms. But the human population growth on this planet is not slowing down. This is putting lots of pressure on the food market with food inflation always on the rise.
The Indian Reserve Bank has been trying to keep a lid on the inflation index for many months now. Keeping the interest rates high for more than a year has meant that overall inflation has dipped to single digits, but the food inflation is still stubbornly placed in the double digits.
Cause of Food Inflation
According to Wikipedia, “inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.” So, what is worth Rs 100 today could cost you Rs 110 the next year. Salaries might not increase at the same pace and this puts immense pressure on the family budget.
Today more and more people live in nuclear families and most of them in apartments. Living in an independent landed property is now a pipe dream for many families. Both husband and wife have to work to keep the kitchen fires burning. Surviving on one salary is not enough
India is the world’s second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world after China. As per the 2010 National Horticultural Database, during 2009-10 India produced 71 million metric tonnes of fruits and 133 million metric tonnes of vegetables. With no proper storage and cold storage facilities most of the vegetables and fruits rot before it reaches the market. As India doesn’t really have the infrastructure to process the fruits and vegetables to preserve it, the problem is exacerbated.
With unhelpful government allies like the Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party and the perennial flip flop kings the BJP, FDI in retail is a far way off. Without FDI, and without proper guidelines, proper infrastructure cannot be created. This means that food inflation is here to stay and stay for many more years to come.
How to Control Food Inflation?
Well, you can crib about the government not doing anything to ease your pains like we are so adept at doing. We believe the government should help us in each and every way possible but baulk when we realize that in this process the government is micro-managing our lives.
The better solution is to do is by having a vegetable garden at home. Or can call it a kitchen garden. Ya, I know now you will start complaining that I don’t really have the time, farming is a labour intensive job and that I don’t have enough information on farming etc.
Vegetable garden is very easy to start off and will take just a small portion of your kitchen or your balcony (if you live in an apartment).
Creating a Vegetable Garden / Kitchen Garden
- Some of the vegetables (green leafy) don’t really need a lot of space to grow and can perfectly grow in the shades. This means that people in the apartments can grow such plants in the limited place (balconies) that they have.
- Go to the nearest plant nursery near your place and buy a pot and some seeds of the vegetables you want to grow. Talk to the person selling the seeds for more information on how you can grow them. Or research a bit on the internet for more information on the plants.
- You don’t really need any fertilizers for the plants. For manure, talk to your milkman to supply some cow dung that can be used as a natural fertilizer. Some of the leaves mixed with mud will also make for organic manure for the plant.As much as possible stay away from pesticides. In case there are any insects or worms on the plants, you can buy a neem cake from the seeds shop, mix it with water and spray on the plants. Its an eco friendly and effective solution.
- Don’t forget to water the plants. Different plants require different kind of watering. So don’t under water or over water. You can do a bit of experimentation here and there and will come to know over a period of time the exact schedule and quantity of watering.
- Introduce your children to the vegetable garden. Teach them about the vegetables, how to plant them and taking care of them.
- Start off small. Start with one or two potted plants. Slowly and steadily, as you get a hang of it, you will become a master of the kitchen garden.
- A family of 2 adults and 2 children will spend at least Rs 200-300 per week on vegetables. By slowly replacing one by one the vegetables you buy from the market with the vegetables harvested from the kitchen garden, you will see significant savings a few months down the line.
- Of course, don’t expect dramatic results in the first few weeks. You need to be patient and you will reap the rewards of your hard work in baskets.
- The whole investment of setting up a vegetable garden / kitchen garden wont be even few hundred rupees. If you don’t want to spend on buying a pot, you can start growing the plants in some old bucket or pot that you have at home. This means that your investment goes down even further and all that you would need to invest is in seeds.
The most significant part of the kitchen garden is the realization that you are no longer eating vegetables that have been artificially either ripened or chemically treated before they reach your plate. Your kitchen garden will give you true organic vegetables that are free of pesticides and chemicals.
Not to mention the happiness of seeing a basket full of vegetables or fruits that have been cultivated by you is something that words cant express.
So, go ahead and start cultivating your own vegetable garden. Happy farming 🙂
PS: All the above shown pictures are from the vegetable garden at my home.