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Foro Global sobre Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición • Foro FSN

Re: Urbanization, Rural Transformation and Implications for Food Security - Online consultation on the background document to the CFS Forum

Pradip Kumar Nath
Pradip Kumar Nath National Institute Of Rural DevelopmentIndia

In India the growing Urbanization and concomitant Infrastructure Development demanded for the same has put ample pressure on Agricultural Land and other commons that people depend upon for their livelihood. Commons like Grazing land, Wastelands which are in Government Khata i.e. (Government Record of Rights), Community Forest Lands and Forest per se are facing a lot of problems since their imminent transformation is called for due to Urbanization. The Land Acquisition Act (Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisation, Rehabilation and Resettlement Act 2013) has been in operation to smoothen the process Land Acquisition in order to facilitate the land use pattern for more productive use as per the requirement of people's welfare (Public Purpose).

Recently there is a move to come out with a legislation for Land Lease (In India) so that there will be no hurdles in bringing Land for a certain use without jeopardising the owner's interest.
NITI Ayoga(the new institution in lieu of the erstwhile Planning Commission of India) is busy for it's drafting.

Given the choice 40 percent of the Indian Farmer's are ready to leave Framing. This is for the fact that Agriculture is no more viable (as a livelihood option).

Food security not only demands the right quantity(per individual) but also a certain minimum level of nutrition. Taking this into consideration the optimum land (resource) use for deriving the food items in quantitative terms and ensuring nutrition security is himalyan task in our country. The food security act is a right step in this direction.

Even if a lot of new farming techniques along with high quality seeds(in terms of productivity) have come up in the Research Lab in our country, to face the above challenge in INDIA, it is yet to percolate to the field in a large extent(and scale) which can withstand the vagaries of Nature. Indian Farming is still dependent on Rain God.

Sustainable use of water, increasing productivity per drop of water have been the one of the major concern for the government.

Another dimension which has afflicted the urban areas in India is the large scale influx of Rural migration. Even if it may be seasonal or the circular migration, it has it's impart on Food availability and Food security.

Urbanisation changes the food habits due to several reasons.

When the dependence on traditional food items consumed by people undergoes severe changes, who are exposed to urbanization, Urban amenities, Fast food (mostly manufactured and packaged), it has a new spiral effect on the food basket requirement of a country calling for new equations for adjustment(both in terms of production & distribution).

For Example - Demand for more fruits, pulses, milk products, meat, egg, fish, leafy vegetables have given rise to change in land use pattern.

Diversion from cereal to other cash crops like cotton, chilly, corn(Maze), sugarcane, oilseeds(like sun flower) are few examples which are the direct offshoot of Urabanisation and concomitant spread of manufacturing sector in India. Alternative sources of energy like Jatropha for bio- fuel has it's consequences in INDIA also.

Even the two core manufacturing sectors like Alumina and Steel has called for more mining Activities and areas (for raw materials like lime stone, coal, Iron ore and Bauxite).

This have resulted in large scale people's protest not to allow multinational company to exploit these mining resources. The finest example was the rejection by the Gram Sabhas of 12 villages for Vedanta in NIYAMGARH Hills (for bauxite). This was again done at the behest of the Highest Judicial Authority i.e. the Supreme Court of India.

This dimension of Urbanisation leading to Industrialisation and challenge to food and nutrition Security when the diametrically opposite interest come face to face among the land resource user and land resource looser.

Uneven development let loose by government policies has not been accepted by the people at large who perceive serious loss to their livelihood and a challenge to their survival.

Pradip Kumar Nath,
Centre for Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation,
NIRDPR, INDIA