Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Dr. Rajendran TP

Visiting Fellow, Research & Information System for Developing Countries

My response is as follows:

Questions:1. How should real-time monitoring be designed and utilized to strengthen existing early warning systems and support preventative policy responses to food crisis risk.
The best monitoring tool is based on artificial intelligence based public distribution system

(PDS) data management which can allow gaps in the supply chain as well as enumerate the beneficiaries who are unregistered for the PDS scheme. Access and availability of nutritious food (including processed food) could be integrated and aligned with wages of citizens. The employers can be enthused to provide in kind instead of cash as well as pay on credit food items that signify and assure nutrition to all age class of individuals in homes of the employees.

Unemployed citizens families could be brought under the social network to assure access to such food class at their gates. Any perceived  risk of providing processed ready-to-eat-food can be obviated through quality certification by the manufacturers. Such system of distribution can be easily monitored based on inventories.

Food crisis in terms of stocks, mobilistion, transport and supply chains emanating out of abiotic stresses in any geographic situation need close monitoring in terms of stocking of raw materials for ready-to-eat food preparation and packaging need futuristic prediction models aside to meteorological prediction models for each nation. Investment policy on the R & D for developing such IT and AI based models has to be prioritised.

2.What are examples of successful policy responses at country level that have been guided by existing monitoring tools?

Policy responses of Food Security Law enforcement are through measurement of the health parameters of the target citizens including body BMR and freedom from communicable and non-communicable ailments.

3.Local food prices are one way to get a temperature check of local market conditions, but high frequency local market price data is not widely available. Where are the gaps such as this one in real-time monitoring and how can these be addressed both in a research and policy context?

Local food prices may not be significant aspect for access to nutritious food till the purchasing power of the needy citizens are ensured. Alternate option for validating the supply chain for the nutritious fresh and processed food items (separately) through cloud computational tools could bring in real time picture of the supply process at the tail-end of beneficiaries. Generally schemes and programmes meant for food and nutrition security shall be insulated from market forces. Countries have to own up their food  security law and implement it especially amongst the vulnerable population. Commercial food prices shall not be allowed to eclipse the free supply of nutritious food. Access of such food stuff for sustaining health and immunity of citizens to be disease-free has impact on the national GDP.      

4.Advances in early warning technologies and data must be matched by developing capacity within institutions at the country and regional level to transform relevant data into preventative actions. What is needed to initiate and scale up the use of real-time monitoring in early warning early action systems by regional organizations, national governments, and  other country level institutions? What are the technical and policy-related challenges associated with the use of such tools?

Deploying decentralised civil society organisation (CSO) infrastructure partnership in the country could scale up realtime monitoring using modern ICT tools and technologies. The government could create self-sustaining governance models amongst the registered civil society organisations that can be chartered for semester-based analytics of ground truth collation and impact analysis of the scheme through partnership based commitment for execution of the daily targets/

The challenge is to keep together committed, non-corrupted and idealistic CSO infrastructure of the country with appropriate and timely financial investment support and esteem recognition. Generally government schemes suffer from onset time investment and subsequent side-lining of priorities as time goes on. This results in break down of goals and actions. The CSOs alone may not be able to steer programmes under such eventualities.

5.Over the years, a series of different early warming early action systems have been developed by various organizations. How could greater collaboration among the various tools and approaches facilitate their effectiveness in driving policy responses?

The general principles of business management for the launch of a product need to be pursued in this case in order to forecast the demand of nutritious food at satiation level and plan the supply chain through perceived threats for both procurement, access and purchase by the target citizens for consumption. Intensification of net-works of CSOs as steered by government machinery might facilitate effective policy responses at ground level.