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Food Security in India

  • IASbaba
  • September 22, 2022
  • 0
Environment & Ecology
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In News: No negotiation is possible at the cost of food security, announced Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare at the ninth session of the governing body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) on Monday

Crop diversity and plant genetic resources being the source of solution to breeding challenges caused by climate change.

About:

  • Food is an essential fundamental right and rights of farmers producing food should not be compromised.
  • The impacts of the climate crisis and biodiversity loss are putting pressure on agriculture. The struggle for climate resilient agriculture and nutritional security depends heavily on the decisions and actions of the signatories.
  • Further, the pandemic and ongoing conflicts are affecting the way the world produces, supplies, and consumes food.
  • Hence, we must increase the use of diverse and resilient crops and their genetic resources
  • There must be a balance between genetic resources governance and use, investment and innovation, and access and Benefit Sharing to achieve future-ready solutions for agriculture and food security.

Food security in India:

  • Food security is defined as “ensuring that all people have access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food at all times in order to live a healthy and active life.”
  • It considers both physical and economic access to food as well as people’s dietary demands and preferences.
  • Food security is built on three pillars: constant food supply, access to a balanced diet, and food usage for basic nutrition and care, as well as access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Challenges:

  • Climate Change: Unanticipated consequences such as Drought (because to a shortage of moisture) or floods (due to a surplus of moisture) due to change in monsoon patterns and unusually high/low temperatures. These have a detrimental influence on crop productivity and agricultural net income. It also affects changes in land use patterns and water resource availability.
  • Agricultural Prices: Lack of remunerative prices for end goods, distressed sales, high cultivation costs combined with inappropriate market prices, and the combination of all of these activities as a barrier in the path of food security.
  • Poorly developed commodities market: globalisation has been unable to assure more stable market pricing. As a result, agricultural pricing policy must be regulated for the benefit of the marketing community, hence promoting food security in India.
  • Bio-fuel Cultivation: Diverges land and resource to manufacturing of ethanol at the cost of food security. From 2000 to 2010, the area under cultivation was reported to have expanded from 46 hectares to 9020 ha.

Sustainable Solutions:

  • Transforming the PDS: To improve the efficiency, accountability and transparency of the system which brings supplies of wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene oil to around 800 million poor people across the country
  • Fortification of government distributed food: Boost the nutritional value of the Government’s Midday Meal school feeding programme, rice fortification with iron to tackle anaemia.
  • Policy interventions: Climate flexibility laws, agriculture laws, agricultural waste management laws, soil carbon sequestration laws, and general natural resource management laws are all urgently needed.
  • Infrastructure Requirements: The government should prioritise warehouses, roads, transportation, and market facilities. Encouragement of the PPP model in agriculture will result in speedier infrastructure development.
  • Encouragement to Horticulture Products: It is critical to enhance per capita availability of food grains as well as provide the proper quantity of food items on the common man’s plate in order to ensure food security. Horticulture goods require encouragement in order to increase per capita availability of food while also assuring food security.
  • Capital Investment: In recent years, agriculture’s share of capital investment in GDP has remained unchanged. Although capital spending has improved in recent Five-Year Plans, it has been highlighted that during 2007-2008 to 2009-2010, the agriculture sector contributed significantly to GDP. The main problem is to increase both public and private sector capital investment.

Initiatives to ensure food security:

  • NFSA act 2013: To provide subsidized food grains to approximately two thirds of the country’s people. It includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services scheme and the Public Distribution System.
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS): It is one of the Government of India’s flagship programs. It is the most visible symbol of the country’s commitment to its children and nursing mothers, as a response to breaking the malnutrition food cycle, morbidity, reduced learning capacity, and mortality on the other.
  • Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS): Launched in 1997 with focus on identification of the poor (done by the States) for delivery of foodgrains and for its distribution in a transparent and accountable manner.
  • National Food Security Mission: The project was initiated in 2007-2008 with the goal of increasing rice, wheat, and pulses output through expanding land and increasing productivity, as well as offering job possibilities and initiatives to help farmers regain confidence. This programme is now being implemented in 17 states throughout the country.
  • Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana: It was started in 2007-2008 with the goal of increasing public investment in states. Several technology packages for enhancing agriculture production have been distributed in the states.
  • The Integrated Scheme of Oilseeds, Pulses, Oil Palm and Maize (ISOPOM): Introduced in 2010 in 14 main states for the production of oilseeds, maize and oil palm to serve as a tool for crop diversification.
  • Antyodaya Anna Yojana: Covering poorest citizens and provision of 35kg of food grains at subsidized prices of Rs.3 for rice and Rs.2 for wheat.

Way forward:

  • The recent and ongoing problem of rising food costs, in particular, reminds us that, even as the urban economy increases fast, large segments of the population may confront acute food insecurity.
  • We must use all modern technologies as well as traditional knowledge to preserve and use them in a sustainable manner to tackle this problem.

About ITPGRFA:

  • The ITPGRFA was signed during the 31st session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome in November, 2001.
  • The treaty seeks to achieve food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA), equitable sharing of profits from its use, as well as playing an important role in the recognition of rights of farmers.

Source:   The Hindu      

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