[Editorial Analysis] The future of food

Mains Paper 2: National
Prelims level: Global food summit
Mains level: Issues related to Poverty and Hunger

Context:

• In the upcoming days, the Food Systems Summit under the UN is going to be convened with an aim for the transformation of the global food summit to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

What is Food System?

• According to FAO, it encompasses an entire range of actors involved in the production, aggregation, processing, distribution, consumption and disposal of food products originated from agriculture and its allied activities and parts of the broader socio-economical and natural environment in which they are embedded.

The 5 action tracks to achieve transformation objectives:

• Build resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks and stress

• Ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all,

• Boost nature-positive production,

• Shift to sustainable consumption patterns,

• Advance equitable livelihoods.

India and Food System:

India’s Agricultural progress:

• Since independence, India’s agriculture has significantly developed from a food-deficit nation to a self-sufficient nation.

However, there are the following challenges it faces:

• Waterlogging,

• Soil erosion

• Groundwater depletion,

• The unsustainability of agriculture.

• Policies are based on a deficit mindset.

• Biased procurement and subsidies policies towards rice, sugarcane and wheat.

What needs to be done?

• Diversification of cropping patterns towards millets, pulse and horticulture.

• Equal distribution of water and irrigation facilities,

• Move towards:
1. diversified high-value production,
2. better remunerative prices and farm incomes.

• Focus on making agriculture inclusive of women and small farmers,

• Future Agri has to be nutritious sensitive and sustainable.

• Special support and policies to be made to cater to the needs of small farmers to realize benefits from value chains.

• Best institutional practices have to be followed in the agri-market arena.

• Encouraging women cooperative groups like Kerala’s Kudumbashree for raising incomes and nutrition.

Issue of Hunger and Malnutrition:

• The NFHS-4 has reported the following:

• India has 38% of children under stunting,

• Under-nutrition has not declined in many states,

• Obesity is also rising

• Unaffordability of a nutritious and healthy diet across India mainly in rural India.

What needs to be done?

• India’s food system approach needs to be focused on the issues of under-nutrition and obesity.

• Safe and healthy diversified diets are needed.

• There is a need for Animal sourced foods in India.

Conclusion:

• India needs to embrace disruptive technologies and sustainable scientific innovations to transform food systems that can be inclusive, sustainable and ensure growing farm incomes and nutrition security.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the China’s first road-rail transport link to Indian Ocean, consider the following statements:

1. This passage connects the logistics lines of Singapore, Myanmar and China.

2. The transport corridor involves a sea-road-rail link from the Myanmar border to the key commercial hub of Chengdu in western China.

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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