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IFPRI book launch: Transforming food systems for a rising India

Despite
broad
economic
progress,
India
continues
to
face
persistent
food
insecurity,
malnutrition,
and
high
levels
of
stunting.
This
paradox
is
at
the
center
of
a
new
book
by
researchers
at
the

Tata-Cornell
Institute
for
Agriculture
and
Nutrition
,

Transforming
Food
Systems
for
a
Rising
India
,
which
brings
together
the
latest
data
and
evidence
to
map
out
the
currents
state
of
Indian
food
systems.
The
book
offers
important
insights
to
both
development
practitioners
and
researchers
working
in
India
and
other
developing
countries.
On
June
6,
the
four
co-authors

launched
the
book

at
IFPRI,
outlining
what
it
will
take
to
achieve
a
nutrition-secure
future
for
India.

Note:

This
post
originally
appeared
on
the
IFPRI
blog. 

image


Left
to
right:
Mathew
Abraham,
Andaleeb
Rahman,
Prabhu
Pingali,
Anaka
Aiyar,
Uma
Lele
(Photo
credit:
IFPRI)

 

Post-Doctoral
Associate

Andaleeb
Rahman

raised
a
set
of
important
distinctions
between
India’s
states:
Lagging,
agriculture-led,
and
urbanizing.
As
Tata-Cornell
Director
and
co-author

Prabhu
Pingali

later
explained,
India
should
not
be
thought
of
as
a
homogeneous
landscape,
but
is
made
up
of
unique
regions
and
diverse
histories
that
render
them
difficult
to
compare
in
many
respects.
Rahman
noted
that
states
have
widely
varying
urbanization
rates,
GDPs,
and
agricultural
presence
which
explain
regional
inequality.
Rahman
proposed
that
strategies
for
non-agricultural
sector
development
and
diversification
of
current
safety
nets
should
be
integrated
into
growth
policies.

While
undernutrition
remains
a
problem
in
some
parts
of
India,
obesity
is
on
the
rise
in
others,
explained
Post-Doctoral
Associate

Anaka
Aiyar
,
who
proposed
several
strategies
to
combat
overnutrition,
including
taxing
unhealthy
foods.
Additionally,
Aiyar
proposed
that
moving
away
from
a
single
pan-India
approach
in
addressing
nutrition
challenges,
improving
household
access
to
diet
diversity
and
reducing
intra-household
inequities
in
access
will
be
important
measures
towards
removing
the
triple
burden
of
malnutrition
in
the
long
term.

image


Andaleeb
Rahman,
co-author
of
Transforming
Food
Systems
for
a
Rising
India,
responds
to
a
question
as
co-authors
Anaka
Aiyar
and
Prabhu
Pingali
look
on.
India’s
significant
regional
diversity
demands
targeted
development
policies,
they
stressed.
(Photo
credit:
Jamed
Falik/IFPRI)

Tata-Cornell
Assistant
Director
and
co-author

Mathew
Abraham

outlined
the
need
for
expanding
crop
diversity
beyond
staple
grains.
While
demand
has
increased
for
more
nutritious
items
such
as
fruits
and
vegetables,
markets
have
not
kept
pace
in
making
them
available
and
affordable,
he
said,
and
food
systems
must
commercialize
and
modernize
in
response.

To
address
droughts,
floods,
and
other
climate
change
impacts
hitting
agriculture
and
rural
areas,
he
recommended
a
combination
of
conservation,
community
action,
and
technology.
“India
will
become
the
most
populous
country
in
the
world
by
2030,
and
technology
is
going
to
play
a
crucial
role
in
feeding
India,”
he
said,
including
crop
biotechnology:
“What
we
need
are
crops
that
are
resilient—drought-resistant
crops,
flood-resistant
crops,
heat-resistant
crops.”

Pingali
argued
that
policies
focused
around
staple
grains
and
poor
market
infrastructure
for
non-staples
were
inhibiting
the
diversification
of
the
food
system.
He
also
proposed
that
small
farms
aggregate
into
producer
groups
to
reduce
transaction
costs
for
accessing
value
chains.
“As
you
look
forward,
small
farmers
need
to
be
part
of
this
process
of
change,
part
of
this
process
of
growth.
But
that
can
only
happen
if
the
transaction
costs
associated
with
linking
into
markets
are
reduced
substantially,”
Pingali
said.

President-elect
of
the

International
Association
of
Agricultural
Economists


Uma
Lele

noted
India’s
food
system
has
many
seeming
paradoxes,
including
“scarcity
within
plenty”
and
“rapid
growth
without
rapid
poverty
and
hunger
reduction.”
She
observed
that
lagging
states
are
experiencing
a
calorie
deficit
and
agriculture-led
states
are
slowing
in
productivity,
even
as
urbanizing
states
are
seeing
a
rise
in
obesity.
Overall,
she
said,
the
diversification
of
agricultural
production
is
advancing
far
too
slowly
and
failing
to
keep
up
with
growing
demands
for
dietary
diversity.
India
also
needs
a
stronger
response
to
the
looming
impacts
of
climate
change.
Overall,
Lele
said,
India
should
develop
a
comprehensive
agricultural
policy
that
will
promote
dietary
diversity
and
a
nutrition-secure
future
for
India.

Quick
Links


By
Maria
Garcia 


Maria
Garcia
is
an
IFPRI
Communications
Intern.
This
blog
originally
appeared
on
the

IFPRI
Blog:
Event
Post
.