[Editorial Analysis] Reimagining food systems with lessons from India

Mains Paper 3: Economy
Prelims level: United Nations Food Systems Summit
Mains level: Food Security issue and challenges

Context:

• The first and historic United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) 2021 which was held in September this year.

• Aimed to find a solution and ‘catalyse momentum’ to transform the way the world produces, consumes, and thinks about food and help address rising hunger.

• India’s model encourages this summit to discuss India’s journey from food shortage to food surplus.

• The summit involving UN member states, civil society, non¬governmental organizations, academics, researchers, individuals, and the private sector.

• The debate and response focused on five identified action tracks namely:

• Ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all

• Shift to sustainable consumption patterns

• Boost nature positive production

• Advance equitable livelihoods

• Build resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks, and stress.

Greatest contributors in India’s food security:

• NFSA( National Food Security Act 2013): It consists of PM Matru Vandana Yojana scheme for pregnant womens and PDS system

• Mid-day meal: it secures nutrition security among school-going children.

• ICDS(Integrated Child Development Scheme): it is an integrated approach that includes vaccinations with food security.

Challenges:

• There are several challenges behind this,

• Climate change: climate change alters the pattern of monsoon and thus make farmers vulnerable.

• Unsustainable use of land: SLASH AND BURN AGRICULTURE still practiced in some pockets of India.

• Excessive use of fertilisers degrades the land.

• Excessive irrigation: water guzzling crops are on more focus. It results into high amount of salt collection on the surface of land.

• Food wastage: Lack of proper infrastructure leads food wastage.

• Monoculture: monoculture is mainly responsible for half of the Indian women for anemia, child stunting ad wasting.

• Under- nutrition: India has a 50% higher prevalence of under-nutrition compared to the world average.

• Paradoxical situation: It is ironic that despite being a net exporter and food surplus country at the aggregate level, India has a 50% higher prevalence of undernutrition compared to the world average.

Trying to address other possible problems:

• Poshan Abhiyan: government is now more focusing on diversification of food basket such as dairy products, fisheries
• Fighting Malnutrition: For example, Fortification of food such as iron in rice.

• Reducing food wastage or loss of food is a mammoth challenge and is linked to the efficiency of the food supply chain. Food wastage in India exceeds ₹1-lakh crore.

Importance of food security:

• To ensure Peace

• To ensure Economic development

• Productive demographic dividend

• Healthy population

• Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): out of 17 goals 11 are directly related to the food system. SDG -2 takes Zero hunger as a stated goal.

Way forward:

• Hunger and food insecurity are key drivers of conflict and instability across the world. ‘Food is peace’, the Nobel Peace Prize 2020 highlighted the importance of addressing hunger to prevent conflicts and create stability. “Until the day we have a medical vaccine, food is the best vaccine against chaos.”

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the ‘Senior care Ageing Growth Engine’ (SAGE) project, consider the following statements:

1. It is aimed at promoting private enterprises to bring out innovation in products to benefit the elderly.

2. The project is based on the recommendations of the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) report on start-ups for the elderly.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

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