Will the hungry remain hungry?

Devinder Sharma writes: 

There can be nothing more disappointing. After 63 years of independence, the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC) has expressed its helplessness in feeding the country’s hungry . . .  From what I gather, Sonia Gandhi did probably make the effort. But it is her NAC team which failed to match her enthusiasm . . . the NAC recommendations will only bring cheers to the grain traders . . .

In India, the average per capita availability of foodgrains is less than 500 gm a day. On the other hand, China provides six times more at 3kg per day. No wonder, while India is trying to ride the high-growth trajectory with empty stomachs and emaciated bodies, China is building a healthy nation knowing well that a well-fed population is not only a political necessity but makes strong social and economic sense . . .

Agriculture and food security is the first line of defence against insurgency. Resurrecting agriculture therefore should have been the first step to ensure long-term food security . . .

I had expected Sonia Gandhi to over-rule the mandarins from the Planning Commission, as well as from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, to lay out a blueprint for feeding the country for all times to come by incorporating measures like extending sustainable farming practices which do not acerbate the environmental crisis, and also by making agriculture economically viable; by redesigning trade and development policies that do not open the floodgates to highly subsidised agricultural commodities, and also shifting the focus from corporate agriculture back to making small farms profitable and environmentally sustainable.

Local production and local procurement is the key to any successful food security initiative. The proposed National Food Security Act [NFSA] should be overarching enough to incorporate suitable policies and plans that not only cut into the domain of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, but also extend to Ministry of Environment & Forests as well as the Ministry of Science & Technology. It will require an overall economic policy shift to ensure that agricultural land is not acquired for the industry, and technologies like GM crops are not thrust upon the farming communities . . .

ENDS

There is no justification for India to fare below Sub-Saharan Africa in hunger and poverty rankings. Most of the African nations are torn by strife and have unstable governments. If those African countries had stable governments like India, I am sure India would have been relegated to the bottom of the pile. 

I don’t know how long we Indians can remain indifferent to growing hunger and malnutrition. Let us for once nip the evil in the bud. #

Read the full article : http://devinder-sharma.blogspot.com/2010/07/hungry-will-remain-hungry.html

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