Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

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    • Sustainable Food System is specific -ethnical,geographical,economic ,religious-and ecofriendly.The transformation of India from a food deficient country to a food exporting country is a sage of success of science and technology over low yielding traditional technologies where water and solar energy were in abundance.Despite higher availability of food, access to food is denied to 28-30% of Indias population(400 million people), more than the population of many developed countries in Europe and Asia.There are concerns on food production in view of shrinking space, water, energy and purchasing power due to unemployment.Climate change is affecting biodiversity.At present 12 crops sustain the food system and biodiversity of these crops-maize,wheat,rice,barley,millets, potato, tomato,capsicum,cole crops etc are getting affected.The three series UNDERUTILIZED AND UNDEREXPLOITED FORTICULTURAL CROPS(www.newindiapublishing;BIODIVERSITY OF HORTICULTURAL CROPS( and FUTURE CROPS( elaborate emerging new crops,dwindling biodiversity and possible crops of the future.The edited book ZERO HUNGER INDIA:POLICIES AND PERSPECTIVES published by Brillion Publishing New Delhi is compilation on the scientific and technological strength for a zero hunger India.

    • Eggs of hen,duck and quil are common in the diet of middle and above middle class people.Eggs are classified under non-vegetarian food.An egg a day is a desirable food item.The recent propaganda against poultry egg especially the red portion is quite discouraging.Consumption of egg will lead to increase in bad cholestrol and may fascilitate cardio-vascular diseases.In 2013 Government of India passed the National Food Security Bill , which made access to food a legal right of the people.In states like Tamil Nadu, one egg was was included in the mid day meal scheme.The apprehension of people on use of poultry egg and heart diseases needs to be removed by educational tools.Recently I edited a book ZERO HUNGER INDIA:POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES published by Brillion Publishing New Delhi([email protected]) carries roles of fish,animal meat etc on NUTRITION SECURITY.

    • PITCHER system of irrigation is an age old and indigenous system of irrigation followed in Malabar the present North Kerala during summer in plantation crops like coconut, cocoa and arecanut. PITCHER consists of a porous earthern pot which can carry 5-10 liters of water. A hole is made at the bottom plugged by a long wig through which water droplets move to nearby soil to the tree. Each drop of water is used and a not a drop wasted. Once the soil is wetted the movement from the pot is stopped. The main advantages of PITCHER are conservation of water, needed based watering and very simple in technology. PITCHERS are modified to water vegetable nursery beds, rooting of grafts, management of excess moisture leading to soil borne diseases and above all the most viable and economical.

    • Biodiversity or biological diversity is wealth of any nation to be conserved, used , exchanged and future crops which are resilient to climate change are to be evolved.

      The most unique feature of earth is the existence of life is its diversity. Approximately 9 million types of plants, animals and fungi inhabit the earth along with 9 billions of people.

      In 1992 , at the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, the vast majority of the world's nations declared that human actions are dismantling the Earth's ecosystems, eliminating genes, species and biological traits at an alarming rate. Increasing concern about dwindling biological resources led to the establishment of the Convention on Biological Diversity(CBD) in 1992.

      In India measures for conservation and sustainable uses of biodiversity did not start with CBD. India has a long history of conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. The Biological Diversity Act-2002 was enacted to adopt the objectives enshrined in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) was established in 2003 to implement India’s Biodiversity Act. India has a very rich reservoir of horticultural crops-fruits, vegetables, spices, medicinal and aromatic plants, plantation crops, tubers, bamboos and mushrooms.

      A series BIODIVERSITY OF HORTICULTURAL CROPS now in Vol.VII was edited and published ( ICAR-NBPGR has the mandate to collect, document, describe, conserve and make available to users the genetic resources of plants.

      Likewise ICAR National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources and ICAT National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources are established.

    • "Hunger and poverty are shame to humanity" says Gandhiji. "Every thing can wait but not agriculture" so addresses the First Prime Minister of India Shri Jawahar Lal Nehru to the members of the First Planning Commission of India-Dr P C Mahalanobis and Prof.C R Rao. "Jai Jawan Jai Kissan" is the slogan given by the Farmer Prime Minister Shri.Lal Bahadur Sasthri. "Green Revolution promoted by Smt Indira Gandhi transformed India from a stage of "ship to mouth in 1947-62 to Farm to Ship 1965 onwards. Despite mountains of grains(278 million tones) and horticultural produces(307 million tones), India hosts the largest number of hungry and poor in the world.Hidden hunger due to deficiency of micro-nutrients and vitamins in the common diet is rampant. Availability of drinking water, lack of protein supplements and above all complete missing of nutrition education are matters of concern. The Forth coming book ZERO HUNGER INDIA:POLICIES AND PERSPECTIVES published by Brillion Publishing New Delhi carries 28 chapters addressing wholistically the state of food and nutrition in India.An introduction to the book is attached.

    • "Zero Hunger India:Policies and Perspectives" is a forthcoming edited book published by Brillion Publishing New Delhi.The book carries 6 preambles and 28 chapters dealing with food and nutrition security,hidden hunger due to deficiency of vitamins and minerals in the household diet,backyard farming of fruits, vegetables and spices;aquaculture; livestock rearing and food safety.Food adulteration is becoming rampant in outdoor eating places.Government of India has enacted Food Security Act-2013 making access to food a right to its citizens.The content of the book is attached.

    • Agriculture is still a gamble at the mercy of rain God, government policy of export and import, harvest and post harvest losses, incidences of invasive pests and diseases and above all highly fluctuating and producer-farmer unfriendly prices especially fruits and vegetables.

      One month back tomato prices in India fluctuated Rs 5-10/kg forcing farmers to abandon the produce in the street. So are the cases of onion, multiplier onion, garlic and potato.

      Unlike in Israel where packinghouses and cool chambers are parts of collective farms India does not have such facilities. If the present post-harvest losses ranging 20-40% are reduced, the availability will go up without many inputs. Value addition and products development are getting attention. The earlier wasted cashew apple is now basic raw material for more than 25 products-juices, syrup, candy, fermented juices, wines etc.

      With globalization of Indian economy, urbanization and intra and inter country migration, new crops and new food recipes are in the market. Purchasing power of people are on the rise indicating a bright future to protected cultivation with assured buy back arrangement.

    • "Zero HungerIndia:Policies and Perspectives" is an edited book carrying 6 messages,6 preamples and 26 chapters authored by the best available expert in the topic.Transformation of India from a starving nation in 1947-1962(ship to mouth) to the present food surplus(farm to ship) country (278 million tones of food grains and 307 million tones of fruits and vegetables is the saga of political support and policy(Late Indira Gandhi and C .Subramaniam),use of science and technology and international collaborarion(M.S Swaminathan and N.E.Borlaug),hard working and toiling farmers of Punjab,Western UP,West Bengal,Tamil Nadu and Odisha,a well knit public distribution system led to GREEN REVOLUTION.Despite availability of food,access to food and horticultural produces is limited to only above middle class people."Among mountains of food grains, millions go to bed with out a meal" is a paradox.In 2013 the Indian Parliament enacted the National Food Security Act which made access to food-grains,pulses,millets- a right.An effective Targetted Public Distribution System came into existance.Distribution being digitalized, loopholes were plugged.Despite all the above measures India continues to host the worlds largest number of women and children anaemic.Child malnutrition is rampant-stunting, low birth weight and high child mortality.Population explosion and carrying capacity of the available natural resources -land, water,air-need to be reviewed.The book will be released on 7th August,2018 on the birth day of Prof.M S Swaminathan

    • "Sustainable farming system for food and nutrition security" is a topic of current relevance when land under farming gets reduced, irrigation water scarce, farm labour costly, incidences of pests and diseases becoming more prevalent, farmers suicide blotting civilized nations, global hunger index going down in highly populated countries like India. Gandhi the father of Indian nation called for selfsufficiency in family food and nutrition availability by making use of available space in the house, use of water and waste for farming and household members providing farm labour. Called variously as kitchen garden, backyard garden, nutrition garden and now hydroponics, aeroponics, rain shelter farming, vertical gardening etc., the sustainable farming system is providing both physical and mental health and wellness. Vegetable and fruit growing is a therapy for the aged, mentally retarded and depressed. In Ayurveda system of medical treatment, consumption of fruits and vegetables is advocated. Hidden hunger becoming a global concern, kitchen garden can play a positive role.

    • Migration for better quality of life is a part of history and the new world -present Americas- is the resultant of such human venture. Migration needs to be encouraged in highly populated countries to lowly populated areas where human resource is the limiting factor. Per capita income from agriculture is declining compared to other avenues of employment. Space, water, energy and human labour are getting limited. The great migration of human labour from India to South Africa primarily to meet the labour requirement in sugar cane fields is history. Mechanization became a necessity once labour became costly and scarce. Only 3-5 % of working labour are employed for agricultural production in USA while 35-40% are used in India and in real numbers the figures will be quite astonoshing.

      I am editing a book "ZERO HUNGER INDIA: POLICIES AND PERSPECTIVES". Any one interested to contribute chapters are welcome.

    • With prospects for higher income earning jobs in urban and peri-urban areas there are major migration from rural areas in Kerala one of the most literate state of India. The migration to middle east, Canada, USA, Australia and Europe from rural and urban Kerala are noteworthy. The shortage in farm and plantation labour are met by immigration from Bihar, West Bengal, UP and North Eastern States. Occurence of marriages among immigrant labour and locals are becoming prevalent. Many commercial banks open during sundays for the service of immigrants. Even church services are held in Hindi in cities like Perumbavoor in Kerala. In construction industries especially national highways, the immigrants play a vital role. In hospitality industry, immigrants from North Eastern states are much visible. Now political parties have come forth to organize the unorganized labours. Despite all the measures taken by the Labour department of the Government,the conditions especially housing are very pathetic.

    • The Malayalam month "Karkadakam" prior to "chingam" is celeberated as "Ramayanam Month" and Hindus spend time in prayers and adorations.The great saint Valmiki wrote the epic Ramayanam -the story of Lord Ram and Lordess Sita-.Lord Ram,Lordess Sita and brother Laxmana were send to wilderness to fetch for them self.The devilish Ravana hijacked Lordess Sita and took her to Sri Lanka.The celestial war ending in the rescue of Sita and total destruction of Sri Lanka is the anti-climax of the great epic.The epic reveals the importance and central position given to women in socio-political and cultural fabric of Asia.Annie Besant,Sarojini Naidu,Indira Gandhi and many others molded the destiny of 1000 millions of people.Many acts and judicial pronouncements came to protect women and prevent atrocities against them.Women empowerment through collective self employment is showing positive results."Kudumbasree" an all women movement in Kerala is making waves in sectors like hospitality, street vendoring, public cleanliness, environment protection,patient care,postal services, banking, postal services etc.The success stories in Kerala need to be spread to northern states of India where honour killing and child marriages are common.I am attaching a paper published by LANSA, MSSRF Chennai.

    • Marine and Inland water fisheries are sectors operated by women. Rural fish markets in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are managed exclusively by women."Malsyfed" a co-operative organized by Government of Kerala has all women fish selling kiosks spread all over Kerala. Coir industry in the coastal zones of Kerala had more of women. Cashew industry where nuts are burned and kernel separated depends on women. Drinking water collection from common ponds and pipes is again a prerogative of women. Tailoring is catching groups of women for self employment. Home nurses are again dominated by women. Avenues are endless. Group approach is safer for women in the context of reported atrocities against the fair sex.

    • There are many notable legislative and administrative actions taken for gender transformation into decent, self respectable, self income earning and respected members of the society and community in India and more particularly in Kerala. Women are now occupying important positions in all the branches of professions and administration. There are reserved legislative positions-member in panchayat, president of panchayat, mayor in corporations and in judiciary. At farming level all women labour army render cultivation of crops a proud and decent job. A lady Inspector General Of Police leads the team to investigate a serious crime and brining culprits to book. The ration card enabling food items etc. is in the name of elderly women member. There are times when an Indian Lady officer leads the armed battalion in functions like Republic Day. Being under subjugation for years it may take time when men and women have equal opportunity to grow. The role of women as a mother is to be understood and praised.

    • Many measurers are taken by the Government of India to empower women in the household for livelihood security.The ration cards issued to each house hold in Kerala(India) are in the name of eldest women in the house and ration card carries the pass port size photograph of the owner women.There are several incentives to self help women groups.Recently the Cochin Metro opened with a lot of fanfare, women are the piolets and transgenders are given jobs in the metro train.Harassment against women is treated as a non-bailable offence.Despite all these, representation in the powerful assembly and in the state cabinet is abysmally low.At grass root Panchayat level there are legally reserved wards, blocks and Panchayats where women are the elected members/Presidents.There are visible improvement in the literacy levels of women.There are all exclusive women magazines carrying success stories of women in many walks of life.

    • The success of the green revolution in India is the harmony among agricultural scientists, scientific technologies including seeds and planting materials, availability of inputs like water, nutrients and electrical energy, remunerative prices to farmers, farmer-producer co-operatives and self-help groups including formation of all women farm labour armies and lately mechanization and value addition through products development. KRISHI BHAVANS at each village act as information kiosks, Krishi Vigyan Kendras one each in all the districts of India, ATIC (Agricultural Technology Information Centres), ATMA (Agriculture Technology Management Agency) to manage scientific information flow to farmers serving farmers with knowledge and materials. There are all women neighbourhoods providing farm labour in all the farming activities. There are over 75 State Agricultural Universities with separate Division of Extension. Division of Social Sciences in over 65 ICAR-Carntral Institutes provides scientific manpower at graduate and post graduate levels. Media both visual and print have come forward to reach information to grass root level farmers. There are many Non Government Organizations working for the farmers. Despite all the above efforts there are reports of farmers suicide due to debt, crop failure and natural calamities. In a country like India where over 1250 million mouths have to be fed, agriculture production is in cross roads. Gender concerns in agriculture are being addressed with an open mind. Many universities have established "CENTRE FOR GENDER CONCERNS" for research and extension purposes.



    • Investments on clean food system should consist of investment on nutrition education, clean drinking water, food items free from pesticide residues, good cooking practices, good serving practices and zero wastage.In India there are organized kitchens in Gurudwaras,Temples and Churches serving food to lakhs of people at a time.There are community kitchens during marriages, festivals and social gatherings when prefered foods are cooked and made available hot.There are also chain of restaurants serving city residents and kitchenless homes with good food.Food safety is an issue where food inspectors visit and certify the standards maintained.Despite every efforts food poisoning due to aflatoxins is rampant.Issue of alergy to certain items like nuts needs to be studied.It is important that vegetables and fruits are included in nutritive foods."Food is thy medicine " is a much quoted statement of Hippocrates.

    • Value chain involves crops/livestock, farming practices and farmers, products and produces, pre-and post harvest technologies, procts testing, packing, branding, marketing, consumers, waste recycling to value added products. Each link of the chain is interdependent. The basic economics of an effective value chain is that producer-farmers should get 50% more than cost of production. Processing involves technologies. Food safety and certification ensure quality of products to consumers. The quality of primary raw materials-grains, farm produced vegetables and fruits, spices, plantation crops, tubers, mushrooms and edible bamboos is a priori to quality end products. Standardisation of value chain has come to stay in many countries.

    • "Horticulture for Nutrition Security" is a collection of essays on fruits, vegetables,tubers, spices, plantation crops and mushrooms which provide essential nutrients on consumption."There is a horticultural remedy for every nutritional remedy" according to Prof. M S Swaminathan Father of Green Revolution in India.Nutrition Garden/Kitchen garden/Backyard garden is an integrated nutrition farming system which makes use of available space, light, water and home labour to harvest vegetable, fruits and spices needs of a family.Nutrition gardening is a thearapy against mild depression.It is a refreshing experience to differentally abled people.There is absolute control on use of pesticides and fungicides.Biological methods of pest and disease management are followed.In the Southern State of Kerala India, there are peoples movements to grow pesticide-poison- free vegetables.Training is given to housewives on different aspects of kitchen garden.Seeds are supplied by local governments in association with Newspaper Publishers-Malayala Manorama-.Tips on cultivation are given by trained master trainers-leaders of self help groups-.

      The book "Horticulture for Nutrition Security" is published by Astral International Pvt Ltd New Delhi.(

    • HORTICULTURE FOR NUTRITIONAL SECURITY is a recent compilation of essays authored by working scientists in the area of horticulture-fruits, vegetables, spices, tuber crops, plantation crops, mushrooms and edible bamboos.Professor M S Swaminathan Father of Green Revolution in India in his FORWORD to the book stated "There is a horticultural solution for every nutritional malady".A great Kashmiri saint stated "As long as forests exist, food will be available to humanity.The compilation is published by New India Publishing Agency New Delhi(,access,absorption and sanitized habitat are a priori requirements of a healthy human nutrition.Nutrition garden/kitchen garden/ homestead garden/verical garden/hyroponics/aeroponics etc are methods of farming for self sufficiency in horticultural crops requirement.

    • There is awareness and commitment on the part of Government of India to make nutritious food available to people at affordable prices. Bio-fortification of common cereal based food with pulses is promoted. Nutrition Gardening at homesteads is promoted by providing inputs at homes.Cluster farming is done to create surpluses for marketing for additional income.

      (K V Peter)

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • "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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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 ( 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.

    • There are a number of underexploited and underutilized legume vegetables of considerable nutritive value.Vegetable pigeon pea, vegetable soybean,cluster bean,velvet bean,yam bean, lab lab bean,sword bean(Canavalia bean),velvet bean, yard long bean and cowpea are a few such protein rich crops demanding research attention.Majority are water saving and stress tolerant crops.These crops can supplement protein in protein deficient foods.More can be read in the series"Underutilized and Underexploited Horticultural Crops" published by NIPA India(

      (K V Peter)

      Prof KV Peter Ph D FNAAS.FNASc.FNABS.FHSI.


      Former Vice Chancellor, KAU

      Former Director, ICAR IISR, Calicut

      Director, World Noni Research Foundation

      No.12,Srinivasa Nagar,2nd Street, World


    • 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.

    • The scientific basis of a minimum 33% of land area under forest cover is not known.In the southern state of Kerala(India) an aerial survey will indicate more green cover due to plantation crops like coconut, rubber, palmyrah, cardamom, coffee, tea ,cashew and cocoa.Forestry and agro-forestry are terms loosely used.Clarity for following are needed:

      1.With dwindling human habitat and urbanisation , there is heavy pressure on land.Intrusion into declared forest area is rampant.Is it practical to fix a proportion as under forest cover?

      2.Awareness on forests and forestry need to be a part of sylabi in primary school level.

      (K V Peter)

    • Family Farming was the theme propagated by UN and many countries including India. The whole year 2014 was devoted and many conferences held to focus on Family farming as a way for empowering families with nutritive food, indirect employment, residue free organic food and above all family peace resulting from collective farm operations. In Kerala alone there are 60 million homesteads and back yard farming is an established practice passed over generations. Tuber crops like yams and cassava saved families from famine due to drought and flood. Leaf vegetables -indigenous-provided needed fibres and minerals to the diet. A detailed chapter on Economics of Family Farming is attached. The chapter is from the book HORTICULTURE FOR NUTRITION SECURITY published by New India Publishing Agency New Delhi. Preambles are policy papers published by FAO, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences New Delhi and Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi. Copies are available at: [email protected]

    • The school mid day meal scheme is a powerful tool for nutrition security and child literacy. In many of the states in India like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, the school mid day scheme has attracted both male and female children to schools for education. In a few states like Gujarat milk is included. In Tamil Nadu one egg /day is served. Pulses are invariably served.

      Many socially responsible NGO s have programmes to feed homeless, aged and orphans. Much more has to be done in view of the escalating population. Hidden hunger due to micro-nutrient deficiency is a matter of concern. Promotion of nutrition garden with one tree of drum stick and curry leaf will go a long way in making a household self sufficient in nutrition.

      Recently I compiled a book titled "Horticulture Crops for Nutrition Security" published by NIPA New Delhi ( carrying chapters on food and nutrition. Prof. M S Swaminathan Father of Green Revolution in India made the statement"There is a horticultural remedy for every nutritional malady".

    • To quote Gandhi ji "Poor see God in Bread". Poverty is the worst shame to humanity" he continued in his discourses. He practiced what he preached. The backyard kitchen garden adjacent to his "Asram" in Wardha in Gujarat had all the vegetables, fruits and grains for the inmate. With 240 million homesteads-living space-India can be a model country for self-sufficiency in nutrients." Food is thy medicine" said the famous physician Hippocrates. The just released book "Horticulture for Nutrition Security" published by Astral International Pvt Ltd New Delhi carries 4 preambles one from FAO, two from National Academy of Agricultural Sciences and one from Indian National Science Academy. Forty three scientists in the area of Horticulture and Nutrition contributed chapters all focussed to Nutrition through Horticulture. Despite availability of plants like drum stick, curry leaf, chekkurmanis, basil, agathi and several other vitamin and mineral packed vegetables, hidden hunger is very endemic in India. The book focusses on Food and Nutrition holistically 

    • In fact NGOs and Private organizations play major role in education,awareness creation,model kitchen/nutrition garden development and demonstration.

      It was the traditional wisdom of ancient inhabitants in warm humid tropics to grow plants and crops of family choice and make family self sufficient in food and nutrition. A kitchen garden has fruits,vegetables,spices and herbs,tuber crops and ornamentals to decorate family deity.

      No outside labour was used, only family labour is used. Kitchen wastes are converted to manures and methane cooking gas.Irrigation water comes from adjescent well and ponds.The ancestors have prior knowledge on light/shade requirement of crops.Every available space is utilized including bio fences using chekkurmanis,basella,Ceylon spinach. Amaranth rich in iron and fibre was grown through out the year. Fruits like guava, bilimbi, tamarind, gooseberry, litchi, rambutan etc were grown based on temperature requirement of fruit trees. Spices like black pepper,ginger,turmeric,clove,nutmeg etc were also grown. Tubers like potato,Chinese potato,cassava,sweet potato and yams were also cultivated. With change in time technologies like hydroponics, aero ponics and aqua ponics to meet nutrition requirement of family have come up. I have a series HORTICULTURAL SCIENCES published by New India Publishing Agency New Delhi( compliment FAO for initiating such a discussion.

      Dr K V Peter

    • Private sector and civil societies play a significant role to improve nutrition of the community.

      In fact in many countries, they play a bigger role in education, demonstration, training and dissemination of traditional knowledge. Availability of food, access to food by enhanced purchasing power and absorption of nutrients by a receptive and healthy body are three pillars of nutritional security.

      Without the active involvement of civil society and private sector, the whole exercise will be ineffective.

      The private sector has a social obligation which is further embellished by tax benefits. Rockefeller Foundation funded the much lauded wheat programme in Mexico and India. Ford Foundation, Microsoft, Jamshatjee Tata Foundation etc are a few philanthropic organizations supporting health and nutrition education.

      A detailed discussion will be useful to planners, politicians and educationalists.

      Dr K V Peter

    • A nutrition garden as designed at Kerala Agricultural University envisages growing of vegetables, fruits and spices to meet the nutritional requirement of a family of five people.

      Vegetables consist of leafy, pulses, fruits and several underexploited and underutilized plants. Fruits consist of locally adapted crops like guava, aonla, pineapple, gooseberry, Surinam cherry. Leaf vegetables are amaranth, Ceylon spinach, beat leaf, chekkurmanis, amaranth, basella, basil and leaves of many tubers. Pulses are cowpea, pea, beans and several underutilized but locally adapted crops.

      The nutrition garden is managed by family labour. Manures are composts from family wastes. Techniques like drip fertigation, mulching, integrated pest disease management and value addition of raw products into dehydrated fruits and vegetables are the distinct advantages of a nutrition garden.

      More details are available in the booklet NUTRITION GARDEN published by Directorate of Extension, Kerala Agricultural University.

      Dr K V Peter

    • There are several well-known Grandmas tips for cooking with zero loss of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and energy. Always wash well fruits and vegetables before cutting into pieces and leaf vegetables cooked without adding water. Cover the cooking pan to avoid loss of nutrients. Keep always flame low to minimise energy use and slow cooking. Never use heated or used oil for further cooking. Sauces and ketchups mask the original taste and be avoided to the extent possible. Pot herbs like mint, thyme, celery etc can be sprinkled over cooked items to provide natural appeal and flavour. Highly salted pickles are not desirable for people suffering hyper tension. Many such Grandmas tips are in practice which need to be documented.

      Dr K V Peter

    • The most popular and most cherished indigenous method of food preparation is the one by mamma (mother) and grandamma (grandmother) based on the likeness and preferences of family members.

      Culinary preferences,availability of raw materials,and above all zero wastage are the characteristics of such diets. Special diets are served fresh and hot to the disabled members.

      A documentation of such indigenous foods will be welcome.

      Dr K V Peter

    • Noni (Morinda citrifolia L.) - a future tree for wellness and food supplimentation

      Undernourishment and imbalanced rice based food are staring the developing world. Anemia, stunted growth, infant mortality, low body weight at birth and micro-nutrient deficiency disorders are telling adversely the working capacity and the cascading effect is abject poverty and low purchasing power.

      Plant based nutraceuticals are natural, available at homesteads and pro-nature and green.

      Noni(Morinda citrifolia L.), belonging to coffee family Rubiaceae, is a time tested tree with Polynesian origin spread to Micronesia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Andaman and Nicobar Islands(India).

      The tree adores temples in Indonesia and adjoining N.E.Asian countries. More than 160 nutraceuticals are isolated from the fruits. Forty-six Universities around the world conduct research on Noni.

      University of Hawaii has contributed significantly.

      There is an all inclusive World Noni Research Foundation, Chennai India to undertake and promote research on Noni-tree improvement, protection, clinical research, pharmacological studies and food science-.

      The International Society of Noni Science, Chennai promotes research by holding National Seminars every year and publishes the journal International Journal of Noni Research. A monograph on Noni is available.

      Divine Noni Gold, Noni soap, Noni tooth paste, Noni shampoo, Noni oil, Noni tree etc are a few products.

      Many testimonials are available on the role of Noni in imparting health and wellness.

      The tree is listed under Future Crops.

      P I Peter, Kirti Singh and K V Peter

      World Noni Research Foundation

      Chennai-96 India