Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

This member contributed to:

    • Youth – feeding the future. Addressing the challenges faced by rural youth aged 15 to 17 in preparing for and accessing decent work.

      Writing in the context of India

      The present generation of youth is much hyped as the Real Human Capital. Demographic Dividend to be reaped by utilizing the same force which is completely not equipped to face the challenge is the biggest issue now.
      The policy for Employment vide MGNREGS - the world's largest Employment Guarantee Programme has come in handy to look forward to. (If the labour force from this young masses are not skilled)

      But the moot question for both male /Feamale youth in Rural areas is the lack of Skill at present.
      In this direction Government of India has come out with blueprints to skill them in a massive scale.

      The name of the programme is Deen Dayal Upadhya Grameen Kaushal Yojana (DDUGKY).

      Here in we are giving training on different trades as per the demand to be generated in the coming 30 years both in INDIA as well as abroad.

      The uncared for areas/ trades/skills are seriously taken care for.

      Ex - Driving with right Training. Transport sector repair work/ Health care/ Teaching - particularly Primary and secondary school. Yoga. Tourism. Care services - particularly of the aging population.

      Hitherto these areas have never been taken care of with certified training by recognized Institute.

      Government has come in a big way to fill this demand of these services and the supply of these services.

      One challenging area in India is the dream for whitecollar jobs and the desire to come to Uraban centre. There is no aspiration to continue in Rural areas and earning a livelihood there.
      The lure of Urban centre need to be shattered by creating same level of Urban amenities. In this direction PURA(Provisioning of Urban Amenities in Rural Arteas, develomnet of SMART Cities, Development in Small/Medium Towns are the latest attempts by Government.

      Another area of concern is the disenchantment to join the Agriculture and Allied sector by Rural Youths(both male and female).sis because of the non-viability of Agriculture and allied sectors as a source of Livelihood.

      In this direction there is an attempt to increase the productivity and diversify the activities in Rural Areas.

      It is really a Himalayan task to create employment and productively engage the Rural Youths (15 to 17 years today) in future. If this is not taken of seriously perhaps this Homan force will be the real time bomb to challenge the prosperity of any kind.

    • 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,

    • Integrating Nutrition with Curricula of Agriculture

      It is fact that in many Universities in India the curricula has already included the themes on Nutrition.
      But it is not covered as intensively as is expected to be.
      The broad coverage of the same(Coverage on Nutrition) in "Indian Economic problems" could not fulfil the requisite needs of future research in Agriculture Extension.
      Only the utilitarian purpose information on minor millets, local available small millets and seasonal fruits are covered up. There is hardly any documentation of fruits, tuber, roots, leaves, flowers which have been in the food habits of specific group of people in specific region.
      As an example use of mango kernel in the food habits in a large tracts of DANDAKARANYA by the tribal community. It is a beautiful example of mitigation of food shortage without any nutrition deficiency. All the new practices of food habits (dictated by market forces)introduced through the much talked about Public Distribution System (PDS) in India have truncated the existing food habits-some of which were really nutritious.
      the extensive and large scale use of Jackfruit in Central high land (Odisha, Chhattishgarh, MP)and Chotnagpur area has been one of the finest practice of good nutrition habits of the local population.
      The thousands of practices of food habits are yet to be documented and put in the curriculum of Agriculture university.

      Again the moot question is NUTRITION is taught in HOME SCIENCE or Nutrition Institute and there is hardly any synergy or convergence between the two branch of knowledge.

      Each department and it's research works in silos and they have hardly any interdisciplinary or trans-disciplinary approach towards knowledge creation.

      ICRISAT has also done pioneering research in different food items and it's nutrition contribution but its dissemination of knowledge has been very limited and there is the big issue of lab to land transmission loss.

      Pradip Kumar Nath

    • 1. Are you aware of actual direct links between street food vendors and local urban farmers?

      It is rampant in India and more so in Tribal areas - where it is not only cultivation but also collection of food items. Collection of different fruits, tuber, medicinal plants' product which are sold rampantly in the urban areas.
      There are many laws to take care of these issues - Rights of the Forest dwellers - Individual Rights and Community Rights.(Forest Rights Act -2006 - INDIA)
      Let us not confine our thinking to the so called food items which are cultivated in large scale and there is visibility of Marketable transaction and a modern economy operates (with money). Let us think of those items which are part of consumption of even modern man but only collected from forest or rural areas and most recently near the urban areas.
      Take the case of all medicinal plants and tubers. Is medicine a part of food items or not? The Triphala - ( Harida, Bahada, Amala)
      A big question really to the modern Economics.
      Are these sold, as food vendors sell the tiffin's, drinks, launch or dinner pack.
      Can we extend our discussion to the all the products (of Consumption) in the food basket and how these operators really function?

      2. Are there examples of concrete measures promoted by local authorities to recognize and increase such kind of link?

      The so called Informal Sector - as the mainstay of a large section of people's engagement talks about these vendors. And a host regulations are there in India to restrict their operations.
      By the same time the local authorities also impose some guidelines for hygienic safety, provision of safe shade, polythene to cover the food items (as in Ahmedabad).

      3. If so, how have these actions influenced consumers’ choices towards street food?

      Many a time it has a very good effect on the consumers - Restrictions on hygienic, quality of oil used, cleanliness of the utensils used for cooking etc.
      These have a lot of good effects on the consumers :- washing the glass/cup used for sipping tea in hot water (as is practiced in most part of Kolkatta) -- at least on the health and hygiene of the consumers.

      4. Have similar initiatives been prompted directly by street food vendors associations? How?

      Yes. Some attempts have started in Pune and Mumbai, but could take shape. But the association of Dabba Bala in Mumbai has time and again emphasized upon the health and hygiene as maintained by them to be taken up seriously by the roadside venders. But it has not taken shape.
      In sharp contrast to this Karnataka has strict laws at least in the city of Bangalore, Mangalore and Mysore. No vendor can go scot free without maintaining the basic minimum standard.
      This has a positive effect in making the city Silicon valley of India.

      5. I believe that creating a system of incentives (e.g permits to sell in areas where there are more potential customers, such as near schools, hospitals, transportation hubs; vouchers or some sort of recognition mechanism for good practices) is required for motivating the street vendors to use locally-sourced, fresh produce. Do you think that such incentives could be successful, and why? What other types of incentives might be, and why?

      Rayathu Bazar, the concept of MARKET by the farmers or of the FARMERS/ CULTIVATORs as developed in Andhra Pradesh (India) has given a lot of incentives.
      Long since the sale of Grapes, watermelon in Hyderabad , Maize(Corn) and now baby corn cultivated near Hyderabad city have been duly promoted by these Rhyathu Bazar.
      Allotting specific locations of high sale point (based on localized customers' demand)to vendors go a long way as found in Hyderabad city (India)

      6. What new mechanisms can be put in place to raise peoples’ awareness on the consequences of their street eating habits? Do you know any advertising methods which have been proven effective?

      In India the large scale advertisement of eating out as a symbol of status has significantly increased the habits of people eating from vendors.
      Recent news of Amir Khan - the cine Star eating out from a vendor in Jharkhand has created much ripples.These are big advertisement stunt than the so called health and hygiene concern expressed by Govt of India's advertisement on Cleaning the hands before eating or the campaign for Swachha Bharat or Sanitary Toilet.

      INDIA 500 030 

    • Sir,

      The most important factor for the Farmers in India is the Asymmetric Information

      reaching them on every count - Input, Output in terms of their availabilityand also their price.

      The source of information for all these still continues to be the Input supplier i.e the retail supplier of Seed, fertilizer, pesticide etc.

      2) The next issue is the procurement of different agricultural products by government. Here the farmer is also a victim.
      3)The core issue of these again boils down to the crucial issue of Land Reform.

      In India who really tills the land - what is their proportion in terms of having the ownership of the land (certainty of tenurship even).

      4) What is stable policy in Agriculture? Do we need Agricultural policy or We are badly in need of a POLICY for Farmers?
      Which is important. Who will set the priorities?

      Agriculture as a sector needs a policy or Farmers as a class of people - one of the most productive - (though the % of contribution is less than 14% to GDP)need a policy for their survival.

      If Farmers donot survive who will cultivate the land to provide that basic minimum of sustainable food.

      Can India afford to depend upon the rest of the world for it's food requirement.

      These are the issues Which CFS can take up seriously.

      Pradip Kumar Nath,
      Adjunct Faculty,
      Center for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (CPME)
      National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD)

      Hyderabad, INDIA

    • Dear Issue raiser Eileen,

      I am Pradip Kumar Nath , CAS & DM, NIRD, Hyderabad.

      It is the extent of information that comes suo-moto that determines the level of Food & Nutrition Security.
      Not to speak of Rural India, even Urban India has immensely benefited from the mobile connectivity and the Social media by the Net connectivity.
      It is the connectivity which has diversified the food baskets even in the poor households.
      It is surprising to find the the so-called Chocolates - international brands like Cadbury which have entered the remotest part of India.
      And during my Field study of different research projects , I happened to learn that the Adivasi (Scheduled casted as designated by the Constitution of INDIA) know well what the chocolates give to their body and in what way that can be used.

      I have the privilege of having a cup of tea mixed with Cadbury chocolates in the absence of SUGAR & Milk, in a remote village near Gadiras in Sukma District of Chatisgarh - INDIA.
      It is not a question of what is the knowledge base- but the choice of products which have increased manifold due to increased level of Information at the disposal of Common man.
      Next comes the Major Trail blazing Acts like -- the present Food Security Act in INDIA & the erstwhile MGNREGS- the biggest ever Self Employment Programme ever taken up in such a massive scale by any Government in the world.
      Yes, the MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) has brought about a sea change by pumping in a huge amount of money into the kitty of the Rural households in India.
      Having equal wages to both man & women these wage wage-seekers have really been empowered to conquer the menace of Food & Nutrition Security.
      Only big question will be how to ensure a sort of changes in food habits of Indians to switch over to a staple diet constituting items(food material) other than Rice & Wheat.
      That is, how to go about a food package bereft of Rice & wheat.
      It may not be possible to have self- sufficiency with Rice + Wheat combination as Staple diets.
      Without adequately supplementing our dietary requirements with millets & other substitutes, it seems a gigantic task to go for self sufficiency ensuring food & Nutrition Security to a population of 1.23 billion.

      The other is putting up the dietary packages with locally available seasonal fruits and the extensive increase in production of the same. Fruits like Mango, Banana, Papaya,Guava,Amla,Kedu, Jack Fruits, water Melons etc.

      Thanking You.

      Sincertely Yours,

      Pradip Kumar Nath,
      Centre For Agrarian Studies & Disaster Mitigation, National Institute of Rural Development(NIRD),


    • Dear all,

      Can you please take note of the day of Disaster of the much hyped MID-Day meal in India. The death toll till now is 20. Innocent life of children in school are lost in the CHHAPRA Dister in BIHAR after having the Mid-day meal. [news on India Today, ed.]

      Preliminary reports speak about keeping the cereals and pulses in fertiliser packets as the cause of food poisoning.

      This is one of the most important programmes and the largest of it's kind in the world for mitigating the problem of Food and Nutrition security amongst the school children.

      The crux of the issue is bad governance.

      This is the story of many countries.

      It is neither the non-availability nor the lack of purchasing power many a times - but bad governance (absence of Rule of law) which is the prime cause of many a soft nations of their inability to address the issue of food insecurity or malnutrition.


      No doubt agriculture again has been dictated by the market forces and the technology driven agriculture has resulted in wrong prioritisation of allocation of land for different economic activities and within the agricultural land utilization the priority has been a move towards more commercialization of agricultural land resulting in cash crop (not food items).

      Again within the agricultural land utilization, there has been increased tendency for homogenizing the crop variety with least resistance to any eventual agricultural disaster (agri-disasteer).

      With least support from both market and the sovereign authority there has been a move from large variety of food items from different nutrients enriched flora & fauna to a few number and variety of food items at the disposal of the rural and indigenous community.

      Change in food habits of the so called undeveloped society has been one of the notorious off-shoot of the much-hyped process of development and the process of western world's civilizing the savages.

      This wrong development paradigm is at the root of many evils manifested in Food & Nutrition insecurity.

      Whenever we are talking about agriculture & food systems we need to understand what is our modus operandi of ensuring food and nutrition security to the burgeoning population on a sustainable basis.

      Is it necessarily agriculture alone or we need to think beyond (an out of box approach) to ensure this to the masses in the coming days.

      Pradip Kumar Nath, ADJUNCT FACULTY
      Centre for Agrarian Studies & Disadter Mitigation (CAS & DM),
      National Institute of Rural Development(NIRD),
      Huyderabad, INDIA