Every time we waste a portion of food, we forget that someone somewhere is sleeping with an empty stomach. Starvation is a global phenomenon and wastage of food adds to the injury. About one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year i.e. approximately 1.3 billion tons gets lost or wasted that values US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries whereas the UN World Food Programmer’s live Hunger Map indicates 957 million people across 93 countries starve & have no food to eat. To address this food insecurity and unequal access to food, an initiative of “The World Food Day” is marked every year by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Many organizations across the globe come together to commemorate this day and contribute towards fighting hunger; creating harmony in conflict areas and avoiding misusing hunger as a weapon in wars and conflicts.
Safe Food Now for A Healthier Tomorrow
The theme of this year’s “World Food Day” is “Safe Food Now for A Healthier Tomorrow” which sends out a strong message to the world, urging each one of us to make sustainable food choices that can bring a positive change in the world, creating adequate, nutritious, and safe foods for everyone at an affordable price. Sustainable eating is a global shift towards a more plant-based, whole-foods diet and involves direct consumer purchasing of locally produced whole foods. The more we choose and be vocal for local, the greater is the accessibility to food raised or produced in the natural season without the use of additional energy, climate modification, or storage. Hence, it’s time to venture into localized food supply chains & healthy diets having a greater positive impact on individual health; society; culture; economies; environment, & entire ecosystems.
Here’s how India is working towards a Sustainable Food System
India is known for its strong agricultural produce that is multifaceted, with horticulture and animal husbandry contributing to over 60% of India’s agricultural GDP. India alone ranks 2nd in the world in agriculture production. An initiative to leverage our strong agricultural hold can help us create a transition towards sustainable, nutritious, resilient, and inclusive food systems with suitable government policies. Hence India is taking efforts towards achieving sustainable agri-food systems and their targets set out in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Here’s how!
- Crop Diversification – Indian policy regime is immensely focused on 2 big staples- rice and wheat incurring the opportunity cost of many nutritious and climate-resilient crops. Hence an all-inclusive policy involving subsidies & safety net programs encouraging the production of diversified crops by giving incentives to the farmers is an eminent start towards sustainable food systems. Haryana recently announced a financial incentive of Rs 7,000 per acre to those farmers who would be diversifying from the water-guzzling paddy to millets, pulses, vegetables, maize, cotton, etc.
- Organic Farming has been boosted by offsetting unsustainable practices like Subsidies on irrigation water and power leading to overexploitation of groundwater. Also, Fertiliser subsidies, particularly urea, have been repurposed to have a more balanced application of nutrients in the crop cycle. Over 1.94 million ha is under National Program for Organic Production (NPOP); 0.59 million ha under Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY); 0.07 million ha under Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Regions (MOVCDNER), and 0.17 million ha under state schemes or non-schemes. About 2.78 million hectares of farmland are under organic cultivation as per the March 2020 report of the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, taking a greater step towards sustainable farming.
- Investments in research and innovation – India spends ₹22,500 crores annually on Agri innovation to balance food security needs with environmental and social sustainability outcomes. The investments are directed towards underinvested areas for sustainable agriculture like natural resource management (soil health, sustainable water, biodiversity of biofortified crops that offers a sustainable and cost-effective approach to tackle deficiencies in vitamin A, iron, zinc) as well as investments in knowledge management and financing for sustainable agriculture. Hence, the team, AGNIi– Accelerating Growth of New India’s Innovations is one such initiative committed to tackling the challenges in the agriculture sector with the help of emerging Indian technologies. https://www.investindia.gov.in/team-india-blogs/innovations-and-advancement-agritechFortification is another way to tackle hidden hunger and micronutrient deficiencies, FSSAI, developmental sector and Industrial partner are now coming together to implement a public-private partnership model to enhance this cause for micronutrient deficiency free India.
- Consumer behavior: Consumers are already making more conscious choices of foods and alternative sources of proteins, vitamins, minerals to maintain healthy and diversified diets that need to be incorporated and promoted regularly, consumers are also making sure to have fortified staple food regularly nor replacing the diversified diet but adding enough value to curb micronutrient deficiencies . When consumers today are seen Cutting down food wastage and high budgets on processed foods and choosing more variety of plant-based fruits, vegetables, dietary supplements, nutraceuticals, fortified staple foods, premixes from the local markets, they are rightly making a sustainable food choice.
- Government Schemes & Policies – Government involvement backed by strong public-private partnerships for schemes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-Day Meal (MDM), and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), Anganwadi centers has helped the GOI reach a wider section of vulnerable people to combat malnutrition. These initiatives have assured universal access to safe and nutritious food, improving double agricultural productivity and income of small-scale producers. Globally in 2020, 149 million children under 5 were estimated to be stunted (too short for age), 45 million were estimated to be wasted (too thin for height), and 38.9 million were overweight or obese. India has accelerated its food fortification initiatives so that every staple food including rice, wheat, oil, milk, and salt wisely consumed by our citizens proves to be the best vehicle for fulfilling the micronutrient deficiency. Hexagon Nutrition is working towards making this change stronger and sustainable. We are engaged in manufacturing fortified premixes; flour enzymes; malnutrition, clinical nutrition, and animal nutrition products, helping GOI & International NGOs to fortify basic foods with the right blend of micronutrients to meet the needs of the masses. We are functioning across the globe in almost 70 countries, and we will continue working towards Safe Food Now for A Healthier Tomorrow.
Wishing you all a very Happy WORLD FOOD DAY 2021, Lets together promote Safe Food Now for A Healthier Tomorrow. Visit us at www.hexagonnutrition.com