Success of food security in India and its utility for other developing countries

The success of food security in India and its utility for other developing countries

In the past, the first and historic United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) was organized. This summit is in the light of an intensive ‘bottom-up’ process envisaged by the UN Secretary-General in 2019 to promote efforts to transform world food production and consumption patterns and food attitudes and to seek solutions to address rising hunger. was organized.

In the context of the larger goals, food system transformation is considered essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.  This is a very prudent approach, as 11 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are directly related to the food system.

In this context, it is imperative that developing countries be inspired and learn from the success of Indian food security.

Role model for other countries

Lessons from India’s efforts with food insecurity: India’s long journey from acute food shortage to surplus food producer Land reforms for other developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, Public investment, Institutional infrastructure, New regulatory framework, Public Support and can be inspirational in topics such as agricultural market and price intervention and agricultural research and extension.

Diversification of Agriculture: In the period between 1991 and 2015, agriculture in India was diversified and more and more attention was paid to horticulture, dairy, animal husbandry and fisheries sectors.

In such a situation, experiences can be drawn from India on nutrition, health, food safety and standards, sustainability, deployment of space technology and such other subjects.

Equal distribution of food: India’s biggest contribution towards equality in food is the Food Security Act, 2013, which is the basis for Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), Mid-Day Meal (MDM) and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS). provides.

Currently, India’s food safety net collectively reaches over a billion people.

Food distribution: Food safety nets and inclusions are linked to public procurement and buffer stock policy.

This became evident during the global food crisis of 2008-2012 and the more recent COVID-19 pandemic, where with a sound public distribution system and food buffer stocks, vulnerable and marginalized households in the country are protected against food crisis. continued to be provided.

Challenges in the way of achieving food security

Climate change and unsustainable agriculture: Climate change and unsustainable use of land and water resources are some of the most pressing challenges facing food systems today.

The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has raised alarm bells and highlighted the urgency of action.

Diet diversity, nutrition, and related health outcomes are other major concerns, as the increased focus on rice and wheat poses several specific nutritional challenges.

India has decided to ‘Fortify’ rice supplied through Public Distribution System with Iron.

For a long term solution to undernutrition and malnutrition, agricultural research institutes have decided to release a number of crop varieties with relatively better nutritional levels.

Prevalence of undernutrition: It is ironic that despite being a net exporter and a food surplus country at the gross level, the prevalence of undernutrition in India is 50% higher than the global average.

Thus, it is clear that the high prevalence of undernutrition in the country is due to food shortage or non-availability of food.

The Government of India and the State Governments are seriously concerned about the paradoxical scenario that despite the food surplus situation, 15% of the country’s population is undernourished.

They are trying to address other possible causes of low nutritional status through a number of nutritional interventions. As announced recently, the supply of fortified rice through PDS and Poshan Abhiyan will be the two major steps through which the challenge of undernutrition and malnutrition will be addressed.

Reducing food wastage is another major challenge and is linked to the efficiency of the food supply chain.

Food items worth more than Rs 1 lakh crore are wasted in India.

way ahead

Sustainable Approach: Investing in sustainable agriculture for equitable livelihoods, food security and nutrition, requires innovation and mutual cooperation to build sustainable solutions.

It certainly requires a re-imagining of the food system, to balance development and sustainability, mitigation of climate change, ensuring healthy, safe, quality and affordable food, maintaining biodiversity, improving resilience, and improving resilience to small landholders and youth.

To move towards the goal of providing an attractive income and work environment.

Crop Diversification: For more equitable distribution of water and sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture, there is a need for diversification of cropping pattern towards millets, pulses, oilseeds, horticulture etc.

Institutional changes in the agriculture sector: Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) should help smallholders get better prices for inputs and outputs.

E-Choupal is a successful example of benefitting small farmers through technology.

Women empowerment is also important for the growth of income and nutrition.

Women’s cooperative societies and groups like ‘Kudumbashree’ of Kerala will be helpful in this.

Sustainable food systems: According to estimates, the food sector is responsible for about 30% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Sustainability has to be achieved in production, value chain and consumption.

Non-Farm Sector: The role of non-farm sector is equally important for sustainable food systems. Labor-intensive manufacturing and services sectors can ease the pressure on the agriculture sector, as income from agriculture is not sufficient for smallholders and informal workers.

Therefore, empowering rural micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and food processing industries will also be a part of the long-term solution.

Conclusion

It is important to understand that hunger and food insecurity are the two major drivers of conflict and instability around the world. The slogan ‘Food is Peace‘ prominently highlights the fact that hunger and conflict complement each other and that lasting peace cannot be achieved without the assurance of food.

The awarding of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nations World Food Program (UN-WFP) underscores the importance of addressing the problem of hunger to end conflict and build stability.

This sentiment has been well expressed by the Nobel Committee in its quote that – “Until we have a medical vaccine, the availability of food is our best vaccine against chaos.”

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