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Agriculture and Nutrition are interrelated. Agriculture is the most direct route to improving the diet of a person ensuring year-round access to adequate, safe and diverse nutrient-rich food. Nutrition is a basic human need and a prerequisite to a healthy life. Food security is a matter of utmost importance for every country for sustaining the developments and for attaining the future growth of society, maintaining political stability and living beings as a whole. Food and nutrition security are two sides of the same coin, however, the ways of achieving these two are different. Food security can be achieved by increasing food production and consumption of staple food. Nutrition security implies physical, economic and social access to balanced diet, clean drinking water, safe environment, and health care for every individual. Nutritional issues in India are complex and require all sectors to play. In this context, this paper focuses on the role of nutrition extension strategy, and its role in delivering nutrition solution. Extension strategy was evolved with the sample objectives of creating opportunities for knowing, discussing and action upon, in order that most of the unsolved problems can be solved, finally effecting a positive in the behaviour and practice. Some nutrition extension strategies for enhancing nutritional security such as, coordination and management of cross-sectoral policy, capacity building and nutrition planning and implementation, increasing and diversifying food supply through agro-ecological zonal farming systems based on comparative advantage analysis. Increasing food processing, preservation capacity, food standard and quality control, promoting accessibility to affordable and nutritious foods through the development of support physical infrastructure, improving domestic market access, promoting good health through improved nutrition and preventive care practices, promoting proper food and nutrition practices through information, education and communication, Improving food security and nutrition through effective research and development programme. We hope that, these extension strategies may be promoting in the nutritional security, in near future.
- Coordination & management of cross-sectoral policy & data base management.
- Capacity building & decentralization of the food & nutrition planning & implementation.
- Increasing & diversifying food supply through agro-ecological zonal farming systems based on comparative advantage analysis.
- Increasing food processing, preservation capacity, food standard & quality control.
- Promoting accessibility to affordable & nutritious foods through the development of support physical infrastructure.
- Improving domestic market access & export competitiveness through market integration & private sector participation.
- Improving nutrition status & social equity through gender mainstreaming & affirmative action support.
- Strengthening disaster management, food reserve & food monitoring mechanisms.
- Promoting good health through improved nutrition & preventive care practices.
- Promoting good nutrition & healthy lifestyles through improved health care & sanitation practices.
- Promoting proper food & nutrition practices through information, education & communication.
- Improving food security & nutrition through effective research & development programme.
The agricultural paradigm is already undergoing a shift with focus from cereal production to diversified farming.
Horticultural crops besides improving biological productivity and nutritional standards also have enormous scope for enhancing profitability. This group of crops comprising fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops, plantation crops, medicinal and aromatic plants, spices and condiments and ornamental crops, would constitute core of any such agro-economic strategy. Past investment has been rewarding in terms of increased production, productivity and export of horticultural produce.
However, challenges confronting are still many. Although, the country is second largest production of fruits and vegetables; the availability of fruits and vegetables still continues to be much below the dietary requirements. With increase in per capita income and accelerated growth of health conscious population, demand for horticultural produce is on increase which is expected to further accelerate, which will require more production.
Consequently, horticultural development has to be seen as integrated approach, addressing important gaps, in harnessing the potential through targeted research with focus on enhancing efficiency. Thus, organic driven horticulture is expected to address the concern for complimentary and nutritional security, health care leading to ultimately economic development.
I am really happy to share my paper on “Nutrition Extension – An Innovative Strategy for Enhancing Nutritional Security”.
Ph.D. Research Scholar
Department of Agricultural Extension
Faculty of Agriculture
Biodiversity is crucial to human well-being, sustainable development, and poverty reduction. Agro-biodiversity has always formed the basis for human food production systems and has provided cultural, spiritual, religious, and aesthetic value for human societies. Agro-biodiversity refers to all crops and animals, their wild relatives, and the species that interact with and support these species. It includes the variety and variability of living organisms that contribute to food and agriculture in the broadest sense. As such, these species would usually be considered under the term agro-biodiversity. The importance of various components of agricultural biodiversity and the contribution they make to sustainable production, livelihoods, and ecosystem health are now widely appreciated. Improved management and use of diversity for production necessary, fortunately, awareness of the need for sustainable agricultural production has increased, in response to the unprecedented population growth, food demand, and regionally high per capita use of natural resources and global environmental change that is now occurring. The focus is shifting to a greater reliance on ecological goods and services, which is especially important for modern intensive agriculture since there will be less-damaging effects on environmental quality and on the biodiversity of wildlands. Conservation of existing biodiversity in agricultural landscapes and the adoption of biodiversity-based practices have been proposed as ways to increase the sustainability of agricultural production.
Biodiversity is key to food security and nutrition. It is needed to sustainably produce enough nutritious food in the face of challenges, such as climate change and growing populations with changing diets. Production should address not only the quantity of food or calories but high nutrient values such as vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients as well. In agricultural ecosystems, maintenance of biological diversity is important both for food production and to conserve the ecological foundations necessary to sustain life and rural livelihoods. Agriculture is a major user of biodiversity but also has the potential to contribute to the protection of biodiversity. Occupying more than one-third of the land in most countries of the world, if managed sustainably, agriculture can contribute to important ecosystem functions. These include maintenance of water quality, erosion control, biological pest control and pollination.
Both native and exotic plants sp. are valuable in biodiversity conservation but native plants sp. Due to modernization all, our natural and agricultural resources have been depleted rapidly. Concrete extension efforts are needed to conserve biodiversity especially in agriculture and other fields. Agriculture extension personnel need to be trained in this field is the need of the hour. We can conserve our biodiversity through planting more plants or by conserving the existing plant through, community seed bank, educating women about the importance of biodiversity conservation, strict enforcement of various laws related to biodiversity.
Agriculture in India - Poverty Eradication
Ph.D., Research Scholar
“India lives in its Villages” Rural was backbone of our country. Agriculture, with its allied sectors, is unquestionably the largest livelihood provider in India, more so in the vast rural areas. It also contributes a significant figure to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Sustainable agriculture, in terms of food security, rural employment, and environmentally sustainable technologies such as soil conservation, sustainable natural resource management and biodiversity protection, are essential for holistic rural development. Tamil Nadu has historically been an agricultural state, while its advances in other fields launched the state into competition with other areas. The State’s total population grew from 62.41 million in 2001 to 72.15 million in 2011, the decadal growth being 11.6 percent. Nearly 70 per cent of the country population likes in rural areas report from latest census. Unemployment and poverty are inextricably linked in that one can’t be decoupled from the other. Unemployment is the major cause of poverty. Unemployment leads to loss of income, self reliance, skill and self-confidence, psychological and physical health, worker motivation and increases in ailment, morbidity and mortality.
Agriculture is very important for Indian economy and society both. It is the means of livelihood for half of the population. According to the Socio-Economic and Caste Census, SECC in 2011, out of 24.39 crore households in the country, 17.9 million households live in villages and are mostly dependent on agriculture. Agriculture is the principal source of livelihood for about 48 per cent of the population of the country. It caters to the food security of the nation besides generating exportable surpluses. As per 2011 Agricultural Census, number of agricultural workers in the country were 26.3 crore comprising 11.87 crore of cultivators and 14.43 crore of agricultural labourers.
Our agricultural farming system move to sustainability, It is refers to appropriate use of natural resources, protection of bio-diversity and environmentally compliant technologies with a view to ensuring the food and nutrition security of the growing population. And, inclusiveness implies the need to provide equal opportunities for all categories of agricultural households including the agricultural landless labour and the small and marginal farmers to grow and earn net family incomes at levels much higher than they do now. India’s agriculture sector has been undergoing a structural change with respect to its farm size, cropping pattern and share in the national Gross Value Added (GVA).
The global population is projected to be nine billion by 2050 which need to be almost doubled to meet the global food and nutritional security demand. Agrarian distress manifests itself as low income of farmers (evidenced by high percentage living below poverty line) farmer’s suicide which is not only unfortunate, but is also an avoidable event only if appropriate and timely interventions are made. It is in the above context, that Government of India in its budget 2016-17 declared its commitment to doubling income of the farmers over the period of 6 years (2016-17 to 2021-2022).
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has set the goal of “Doubling the Farmers income” by 2022. This is the second time after independence when there is going to be a big transformation in the system in respect to agriculture and farmers. The country struggling with food shortage in the sixties was made self-reliant through the Green Revolution and now the Prime Minister is striving to double the income of the debt ridden farmers and raise their living standards. The Prime Minister’s goal of doubling the income of farmers by 2022 is commendable and full of challenges but not impossible. To bringing focus on ensuring small and marginal farmer income by the technology transfer through agricultural extension, it tries to creating a conducive awareness that supports doubling farmer income and poverty eradication.
Agricultural extension is more than only information dissemination; it extends beyond collection and sharing of research outcomes or farmers local knowledge with producers. It is an advisory service that entails human interaction. It is about knowledge brokering, which involves mediation between a wide ranges of actors within the agricultural innovation system. Despite all these tested and workable models and approaches. The sector is still in crisis. With the emergence of new ICTs, development partners should not make the mistake of thinking that ICTs could act as the new model of extension, nor be used to by-pass the extension officer and placed directly in farmers’ hands just because the extension has become dysfunctional.
Extension service delivery must shift from its current comfortable top-down approach to a knowledge sharing and facilitated learning approach. In this case, extension workers regard their clients as partners in developing new skills, generating innovations and learning about sustainability, rather than assuming the farmers to be mere recipients of externally generated scientific knowledge which may or may not be suited to their livelihoods and farming contexts. In all their extension engagements -be they production, food security or livelihood related- extension agents must be grounded thoroughly in both technical and ‘soft’ (e.g. participatory, learning, and communication) skills to promote environmentally sustainable livelihoods among farmers. Extension support should also encourage rural communities to institutionalize local governing bodies, mechanisms and rules to protect the invaluable natural resources upon which much of their sustenance depends. A single comprehensive policy must be established addressing food security, biodiversity conservation and extension, whereby both food security and conservation objectives are enshrined within extension service delivery.
Agricultural extension focusing on enhancing sustainable agricultural practices through the named instruments, biodiversity conservation, increased agricultural production, increased income, and improved social capital and human capital can be achieved. Thus, it is vital that agricultural extension remains an integral tool of any government to address biodiversity conservation at the rural environment level. Whatever approach or combination of approaches used – technology transfer, advisory, facilitation, or learning – agricultural extension programmes should be re-examined and adjusted so that they are made to contribute to poverty eradication.