Vimarsha: Ensuring Food Security for India
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VIF’s monthly Vimarsha for the month of February, 2018, focused on ‘Ensuring Food Security for India’ through an enlightening talk delivered by Mr. S.K Pattanayak, Secretary to the Government of India (Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare). The Secretary highlighted availability, accessibility, utility and stability, among various other dimensions, to India’s food security. He underscored that policies on food security are made in accordance with emergent priorities across various dimensions. In 2009, nutrition was added as an integral component of food security during the World Food Summit. He further underscored that India, in recent years, has become cereal-centric, exporting 10 million tons of rice annually. Incidentally, India also stands numero uno in so far as production in milk, cotton, jute and spices is concerned.

With the soaring of pulse prices in 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture turned its focus on production of pulses in the country. The pulses’ revolution bought up a demand of 24 million tons of pulses and the production has gone up from 17 to 23 million tons in the last one year. Dr. Pattanyak, however, suggested that focus should now be on raising the income of farmers while ensuring availability and accessibility of food to all. Access to smart crops and their inclusion into our dietary habits will bring a positive boon to the sector as well as to the individual’s growth, he added.

With the change in climatic conditions and new technologies pouring in, there is need for pro-active policies, to be evolved through better coordination between the Government and the farmers. The Government, on its part, remains committed to the cause of farmers’ welfare. On their part, farmers also need to diversify with changing environment so as to improve their income. For example, farmers can grow bamboo and adopt animal husbandry as measure to supplement their earnings. Loans on easy terms are being provided by the Central and State Governments through various agencies as part of measures to boost up such activities.

Dr. Pattanayak assured the audience that in coming years, India will not only produce for herself but also for countries across the globe. Many Gulf countries are already looking towards India to provide them with the food security, and this opens up a new window of opportunity altogether for the Indian farmers. With the introduction of youth and new skills in agriculture, combined with pro-active policies being thought through by the Government, the future augurs well for Indian farmers, while India can rest assured on food security for all its people, the Secretary concluded.

Event Date 
February 15, 2018
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