Can you please take note of the day of Disaster of the much hyped MID-Day meal in India. The death toll till now is 20. Innocent life of children in school are lost in the CHHAPRA Dister in BIHAR after having the Mid-day meal. [news on India Today, ed.]
Preliminary reports speak about keeping the cereals and pulses in fertiliser packets as the cause of food poisoning.
This is one of the most important programmes and the largest of it's kind in the world for mitigating the problem of Food and Nutrition security amongst the school children.
The crux of the issue is bad governance.
This is the story of many countries.
It is neither the non-availability nor the lack of purchasing power many a times - but bad governance (absence of Rule of law) which is the prime cause of many a soft nations of their inability to address the issue of food insecurity or malnutrition.
No doubt agriculture again has been dictated by the market forces and the technology driven agriculture has resulted in wrong prioritisation of allocation of land for different economic activities and within the agricultural land utilization the priority has been a move towards more commercialization of agricultural land resulting in cash crop (not food items).
Again within the agricultural land utilization, there has been increased tendency for homogenizing the crop variety with least resistance to any eventual agricultural disaster (agri-disasteer).
With least support from both market and the sovereign authority there has been a move from large variety of food items from different nutrients enriched flora & fauna to a few number and variety of food items at the disposal of the rural and indigenous community.
Change in food habits of the so called undeveloped society has been one of the notorious off-shoot of the much-hyped process of development and the process of western world's civilizing the savages.
This wrong development paradigm is at the root of many evils manifested in Food & Nutrition insecurity.
Whenever we are talking about agriculture & food systems we need to understand what is our modus operandi of ensuring food and nutrition security to the burgeoning population on a sustainable basis.
Is it necessarily agriculture alone or we need to think beyond (an out of box approach) to ensure this to the masses in the coming days.
Pradip Kumar Nath, ADJUNCT FACULTY
Centre for Agrarian Studies & Disadter Mitigation (CAS & DM),
National Institute of Rural Development(NIRD),