This member participated in the following discussions
India next to Brazil legislated access and availability of food as a right of its citizens(1250 million) by an act of Parliament in 2013(FSA-2013).It has a time tested food distribution system in states like Tamil Nadu,Kerala and Chattishgarh.The mid day meal scheme implimented in above states through primary schools(Anganvadi) is lauded and appreciated.One egg/day/student or one banana/day/student enriched the nutritive value of the food served mostly rice based.Recently millet based food packets are supplied free of cost.Efforts are made to make available clean drinking water.Immunisation against polio is done by recording infants in the locality and administering anti-polio vaccine.There are classes on personnel and family hygiene.Open defication is seldom and toilets are made available.Despite all the above measures India houses the largest population of anaemic, wasted and underweighed women and children.Protein deficiency is rampant.Mosquito transmitted diseases like chicken guniya and water borne dysentry are common.
In India we have the grass root level Panchayat system of governance.The ward councillors need to be empowered and made responsible for the nutritional and food security of the people around.
Feminisation of agriculture is a reality in the context of migration of male workers, reduced land holding and above all legal equity for land among male and female members of family for ancestral properties. Nutrition garden or back yard kitchen garden or backyard poultry both caged and open, housed goat rearing with jack fruit leaves providing roughage and feed are emerging as sustainable household activities carried out by female members of the family. In the Panchayat system of local governance, the councillor presides over the "ayalkootam" - neighbourhood assembly - where activities for self-reliance for food and nutrition are discussed and future plans worked out. Fifty % of the total councillors in local panchayat, block and district are reserved for women. There are women mayors in districts like Thrissur, Ernakulam etc. where political power is held by them. Much progress has been made in empowering women and in making them financially independent.
M.K.Gandhi "Father of Indian Nation" advocated and practiced fasting as a method of body and mind care. Christians abstain from meat eating every Friday and conduct full fasting on Good Friday every year. There is full vegetarianism practiced for 50 days prior to Easter and 20 days prior to Christmas. Muslims do fasting 30 days prior to Eid ul Fatr. Hindus fast on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fasting is done as penance in all most all religions. 21st June is now celebrated as International Day of Yoga. Yoga is the most ideal way of managing obesity and overweight. Walking early morning is catching up in cities and towns where there are gardens and walk ways.
Awareness creation among mothers is very vital. Habit of home cooking is getting affected and cooked food from restaurants are being served. Edible oil heated many times are used to the illhealth of consumers. Food and Nutrition Education need to be imparted.
The Centre for Gender Concerns Kerala Agricultural University and Centre for Development Studies have done pivotal studies on Women Self Help Groups. The web site of KAU and CDS carry research result on the women self help groups. The livelihood security along with high purchasing power have made members of self help group independence in exercising even their much valued franchise during elections. There are many members in local government who are also members of women self help groups. Many are important opinion makers. The women self help groups are provided by power tillers, threshers, weed cutters, bailers, coconut climbers and even computers for accounting etc. They are involved in programmes like backyard poultry, kitchen gardens, nutrition gardens and now in organic farming. They are also involved in food processing industry. Care of the aged, family nursing and now in many areas which were in men's domain. Each police station in Kerala is provided with a women legal counsellor to render legal help to needy women clients. Wearing of uniforms to make them distinct has added positive power for distinction and separate identity. All above facts have not transformed the traditional role as a dependant of men.
The migrant labourers are highly welcome to Kerala especially in agriculture. MATHRUBHOOMI a Malayalam News Paper has written in its editorial pages the contributions to Kerala Economy. Migrant labourers do not drink liquor as compared to local Keralites. Bans work during Sundays in cities where migrant labourers make sizeable number. There is study on migrant labourers in Kerala. One bad event here and there are only aberrations in social life. Please see the article in MATHRUBHOOMI on line.
In India formal education in agriculture starts at 10+2 level. This consists of theory and practicals. Cereals, industrial crops and horticultural crops are dealt with in detail. Food and nutrition education starts at home for girls and at 10+2 level to boys. There are graduate and diploma programmes in Food science and nutrition under the overall programme of home science. There are 63 full fledged state agricultural universities/deemed universities/central universities offering home science education. At diploma level there are a large number of Food craft and catering institutions. There are premier institutions like Central Food Technological Research Institute Mysore and Defence Research Development Organization, Bangalore and BARC Mumbat doing front line research on food and food safety. FSSAI is mandated with certification for safe food. There is seperate Ministery for Food at Central and State Level taking care the safety of food consumed. Awareness on nutritious food at affordable price is being created. In India 60% of population (1200 million) are producer-consumers and as such food is considered as medicine. India lives in families where mothers food is sanctum sanctorum.
"Feminisation of agriculture" is now frequently used as men move to cities for better livelihood. Kerala the southern state of India has shown the way for women empowerment through more involvement in agriculture and related activities. "Self Help Group" has emerged as a viable and socially accepted group. There are even all women farming green armies getting involved in waste disposal, sowing, transplanting, weeding, fertilizing, irrigation, harvesting and post harvest handling including value addition. There are also problems of liquor addition among men which leads to disharmony in families. Kerala has more women than men. There are matriarchal systems followed in a few Hindu and Muslim sections. The very famous court pronouncement giving equal right to sons and daughters to inherited property has further made women important partners in development. The Kerala Agricultural University has established A CENTRE FOR GENDER CONCERNS which conducts research on women empowerment. There are even women climbers to harvest coconuts from 30 feet tall trees. The success story of Poultry raising by self help group is worth studying. There are public canteens run by women only.
The popular Indian News Paper INDIAN EXPRESS carries in its 26 June edition startling data on obeisity and underweight among rural Indian women."Obesity is no more a problem restricted to urban metros. Rural India saw a whooping eight fold increase in obesity in last 14 years" to quote Indian Express. In 2014 there were 20 million obese women in India in 2014, 9.8 million obese men in 2014 where as there were only 0.8 million obese women in India in 1975 and 0.4 million obese men in 1975. World wide obese people in 2014 was 641 million and Indias obese people in 1975 was ranked 19th and ranked third. In Tamil Nadu (one southern state of India) 25.4% of urban women is obese and 36.2 rural women are overweight. As for underweight 18.5 5 of urban women are underweight and 10.0 of rural women underweight. Consequences of obesity like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and diseases of eye are on rise.
New Life Style diseases include obesity,diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and a plethora of mental disorders like depression. Overweight due to over consumption of fats and carbohydrates is resultant of sedative life style.The Chennai(India) based World Noni Research Foundation has formulated and is propagating TEN COMMANDMENTS to manage new life style diseases.1) Meditate and exercise 2) Eat moderate 3) Go vegetarian 4) Manage water intake 5) Eat 3 hours before sleep 6) Check your words 7) Vibrate Love 8) Live Gratitude 9) Care Mother Earth and 10) Manage your stress are a few tips. At the instance of India United Nations has declared 21 June as International Day for Yoga.Yoga takes care both body and mind. At food front crops like Amaranth and Quinoa are recommended for healthy body. Amaranth is a grain cum leaf vegetables with balanced nutrient content. A review on Amaranth is available in the series FUTURE CROPS published by Astra International Pvt Ltd New Delhi (www.astralint.com). Another series EVOLUTION OF HORTICULTURAL CROPS Vol.I also carries a nutritional review on Amaranth. Consumption of leaf vegetables like spinach,lettuce,celery, cabbages, beat leaf and drum stick leaf is recommended for obese people. Sedentary life style can be broken by occassional exercises and brisk morning walks.
Soil is a living entity harbouring microbes-fungi, bacteria,viruses, algae,micro animals and plants.Obviously the soil plane has water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and above all energy for existance.The single error committed by soil science books was treating soil as a physical entity and soil structure , texture and chemical and physical properties over emphasised.Chemical analysis of soil for micro and macro nutrients and pH alone may not reflect the biological properties of soil.The present soil testing cards are limited in scope and value to that extent.Organic carbon content is very important.The whole issue of soil as a living entity needs to be emphasised.Top soil erosion , mining, urbanization without caring top soil and export of soil are leading to infertility and zero productivity of soils.
Agriculture is the main source of livelihood in India though the contribution of agriculture to national GDP is getting reduced to 15% by 2020. Sixty % of India’s population now lives in rural areas where agriculture is the main stay. There is immense indigenous and traditional knowledge on agriculture-plants, soil, water, plant protection, uses and marketing. Agriculture is taught both formally and informally. Formal education starts at 10th class level in the form of occasional courses, diploma courses and polytechniques in agricultural engineering. At University level B.Sc. (Agriculture), B.Sc. (Horticulture), B.Sc (Home Science and Food science and Nutrition), B.Tch (Agri.Engineering), B.Sc (Agro-Forestry) and B.Sc (Food Processing) are offered with good employment potential. With realisation for the need for a nutritious diet, nutrition security has become a national policy issue. Self-sufficiency in nutritious food is promoted by encouraging nutrition gardens/kitchen gardens/backyard gardens/vertical farming, integrating poultry-fishery-horticulture in farming system has become a necessity. Women play a major role in nutrition security. A number of training courses are offered to even illiterate women by informal education. India as a sub-continent with 1200 million people, the scale of coverage has to be enlarged. English is read and spoken only by a minority. Books in local languages are needed. My recent edited book HORTICULTURE FOR NUTRITION SECURITY published by NIPA New Delhi covers a few of above aspects. In any case there is realization among policy makers that nutrition security is equally important to Food Security. India is the second country next to Brazil which passed the Food Security Act-2013 to make food as a right to its citizens.