Time to Sow Seeds for a ‘Nutrition Revolution’: M.S. Swaminathan

Chennai: Setting the tone for a new agenda on nutrition in the country, MSSRF Founder Prof. M.S. Swaminathan today called for a ‘nutrition revolution’ in India.

Speaking at the concluding session of the three-day conference on “Farming System for Nutrition,” organised by MSSRF here, he said there needs to be a Common Minimum Programme among stakeholders so that ‘Zero Hunger’ could be achieved.

He also spoke on how studies reiterated that malnourishment affects intellectual growth of children.

”There was need a for public policy for a balanced diet. Several States such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Chattisgarh had initiated schemes for better nutrition such as through noon meal scheme, providing millets and pulses in the Public Distribution Scheme,” he pointed out.

He said therefore, the States had a significant role in addressing malnutrition in the country.

Prof. Ramesh Chand, Member Niti Aayog, emphasised the need for data for planning.

“Niti Aayog is in the process of developing input indicators for nutrition, relevant to India, rather than based on international standards,” he said.

Affirming the Central Government’s commitment to nutrition, he said the Indian Council for Agriculture Research make recommendations on ‘farming system packages’ rather than for individual crops so that nutrition sensitive agriculture could be promoted.

Dr Rasha Omar, Country Director IFAD pointed out that co-ordinated action across different sectors such as health, agriculture and sanitation is required to address nutrition.

She also said women’s empowerment and education is important for nutrition outcomes.

Dr K.M. Nagargoje from Maharashtra Council of Agricultural Education and Research, shared the example of how focused initiatives helped address stunting in the State.

The three-day consultation organised by MSSRF brought together scientists, experts in nutrition and agriculture, farmers, policy makers and NGOs to discuss ‘Farming System for Nutrition’–a concept by which agriculture is used as a pathway to increase nutrition status of communities.