Date : October 14, 2021


The health of a country’s agri-food systems determines the health of its people. The findings from the first round of the Fifth National Family Health Survey suggest that nutrition-related indicators have worsened in most States. National Nutrition Survey (2016-18) have also highlighted the role of micro-nutrient malnutrition.

Some Facts related to Prelims: The agri-food systems are the most important part of the Indian economy. India produces sufficient food, feed and fibre to sustain about 18% of the world’s population (as of 2020). Agriculture contributes about 16.5% to India’s GDP and employs 42.3% of the workforce (2019-20).

A sustainable agri-food system is one in which a variety of sufficient, nutritious and safe foods are made available at an affordable price to everyone, and nobody goes hungry or suffers from any form of malnutrition. Less food is wasted, and the food supply chain is more resilient to shocks. Food systems can help combat environmental degradation or climate change. Sustainable agri-food systems can deliver food security and nutrition for all, without compromising the economic, social and environmental bases.

Steps to be taken to improve agricultural practices and nutrition in people

  • There is an urgent need for reorientation of the long-term direction of agri-food systems to not only enhance farm incomes but also ensure better access to safe and nutritious foods.
  • The agri-food systems need to be reoriented to minimise cost on the environment and the climate.
  • Different combinations of integrated crop-livestock-forestry-fishery systems can help farmers produce a variety of products in the same area, at the same time or in rotation.

Role of FAO

  • FAO’s support for the transformation of agri-food systems is rooted in agro-ecology. The more diverse an agricultural system, the greater its ability to adapt to shocks.
  • In January FAO in collaboration with NITI Aayog and the Ministry of Agriculture convened a National Dialogue to evolve a framework for the transition to a more sustainable agri-food systems by 2030 and identify pathways for enhancing farmers’ income and achieving nutritional security.

Way Forward

Science and technology are important drivers to achieve these goals. India should also aim for a food systems transformation, which can be inclusive and sustainable, ensure growing farm incomes and nutrition security

Source: TheHindu