Food day as a reminder to ‘leave no one behind’

Source– The post is based on the article “Food day as a reminder to leave no one behind” published in The Hindu on 17th October 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- Issues related to hunger. GS3- Agriculture

Relevance– Food security challenges

News- The article explains the scenario of food security in India. It also explains the way forward for ensuring food security.

Today, around 828 million people worldwide do not have enough to eat, and over 50 million people are facing severe hunger.

According to Hunger Hotspots Outlook (2022-23) by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Food Programme, over 205 million people across 45 countries will need emergency food assistance to survive.

What is the scenario of food safety in India?

India has achieved self-sufficiency in food production and now one of the largest agricultural product exporters. During 2021-22, it recorded $49.6 billion in total agriculture exports.

National Food Security Act, 2013 along with Targeted Public Distribution System, the PM POSHAN scheme, and the Integrated Child Development Services have provided food equity in India.

India’s food safety net and inclusive nature was visible during COVID-19 and the global food crisis in 2012-13. An International Monetary Fund paper titled ‘Pandemic, Poverty, and Inequality: Evidence from India’ asserted that extreme poverty was maintained below 1% in 2020 due to the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana.

However, recent climate shocks have raised concerns about India’s wheat and rice production Therefore, it is important to place a greater focus on climate adaptation and resilience building.

By 2030, India’s population is expected to rise to 1.5 billion. There is a need to move away from conventional input-intensive agriculture towards more inclusive, effective, and sustainable agri-food systems that would facilitate better production.

Why is there a need for renewed focus on millets?

They are climate smart crops and are good for nutrition and health. They can help in sustainable agriculture practices as they need fewer inputs and revive soil health.

Millet production has been proven to enhance biodiversity. It can increase yields for small holder

farmers, including rural women. The International Fund for Agricultural Development’s Tejaswini program with Madhya Pradesh showed that growing millets meant a nearly 10 times increase in Income with better food security.

What is India’s contribution in millets production?

It has led the global efforts in reviving millet production. Its efforts at UNGA led to the declaration of 2023 as international year on millets.

It is the world’s leading producer of millets. It is producing around 41% of total production in 2020. The national government is also implementing a Sub-Mission on millets as part of the National Food Security Mission.

What can be potential solutions for ensuring food security?

There is a need to ensure environmental sustainability. Soil degradation by the excessive use of chemicals, and non-judicious water use needs urgent attention.

There is a need for transforming food systems by making them more resilient and sustainable with a focus on equity.

Enhancing food and nutrition security and social protection networks is necessary. Providing non-distortionary income support can ensure it.

Global and regional supply chains need to be robust and responsive. It can be done by strengthening transparency in the agricultural system through systems that promote labelling, traceability.

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