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Tata-Cornell Institute’s co-authors launch new book on food systems in India


Co-authors
from
the
Tata-Cornell
Institute
for
Agriculture
and
Nutrition
and
the
Dyson
School
have
published
a
new
book,

Transforming
Food
Systems
for
a
Rising
India
,
as
a
reflection
of
the
institute’s
key
intellectual
results
and
research
works
undertaken
within
the
past
five
years.


This
article
originally
appeared
on
the
Dyson
BusinessFeed.

panelists discussing book

Photo credit: Maina Dhital

At
a
glance

book cover image of Transforming Food Systems for a Rising IndiaBook title

Transforming Food Systems for a Rising India

Published
by
Palgrave
Macmillan,
2019


Co-authors

  • Prabhu Pingali,
    professor
    of
    applied
    economics
    at
    Dyson
    and
    founding
    director
    of
    the
    Tata-Cornell
    Institute

  • Anaka
    Aiyar
    ,
    post-doctoral
    associate
    with
    the
    Tata-Cornell Institute

  • Mathew
    Abraham
    ,
    assistant
    director
    of
    the
    Tata-Cornell
    Institute

  • Andaleeb
    Rahman
    ,
    post-doctoral
    associate
    at
    the
    Tata-Cornell
    Institute


Disciplines

represented

Agricultural
Economics,
Food
Policy,
Health
and
Nutrition,
Sustainability

About
the
book

Transforming
Food
Systems
for
a
Rising
India
explores
the
relationship
between
India’s
economic
development,
agricultural
production,
and
nutrition
through
the
lens
of
a
“food
systems
approach.”
The
authors
investigate
the
paradoxical
story
of
India’s
growth
where
regional
inequality,
food
insecurity,
and
malnutrition
still
exist
within
economic
progress.

By
collecting
the
latest
data
and
scientific
evidence
from
the
country,
the
authors
examine
the
challenges
and
opportunities
for
achieving
a
nutrition-secure
future.
The
book
offers
potential
solutions
along
with
political
and
institutional
interventions
needed
to
alter
the
future
of
India’s
food
system.

“This
book…
brings
together
high
quality
research,
real
world
pragmatism
and
an
understanding
of
the
politics
of
Indian
food
systems.”

Lawrence
Haddad,
Executive
Director,
GAIN
and
2018
World
Food
Prize
Laureate

“Using
a
broad
food
systems
approach,
this
book
presents
[a]…
comprehensive
analysis
of
the
Indian
food
and
agricultural
system
and
its
interaction
with
climate
change,
nutrition
and
health.”

Per
Pinstrup-Andersen,
Professor
Emeritus,
Cornell
University
and
2001
World
Food
Prize
Laureate

Insights
from
the
authors

The
Tata-Cornell
Institute
celebrated
the
launch
of
the
book
in
May
2019
with
a
panel
discussion
featuring
the
authors
and
an
introduction
from
Christopher
Barrett,
the
Stephen
B.
and
Janice
G.
Ashley
Professor
at
Dyson.
During
the
event,
the
co-authors
shared
key
takeaways
from
their
respective
chapters.

Prabhu Pingali headshot

Prabhu Pingali

Prabhu Pingali,
professor
of
applied
economics
at
Dyson
and
founding
director
of
the
Tata-Cornell
Institute

  • India
    has
    solved
    its
    hunger
    problem
    to
    some
    extent,
    but
    problems
    like
    under-
    and
    malnutrition
    still
    exist.
    Despite
    India’s
    characterization
    as
    an
    emerging
    economy,
    significant
    segments
    of
    the
    rural
    population
    still
    live
    in
    poverty
    and
    suffer
    from
    illness
    and
    malnutrition.
  • There
    is
    a
    big
    opportunity
    to
    invigorate
    India’s
    rural
    economy
    through
    diversifying
    the
    food
    system.
    For
    nutritional
    security,
    poor
    people
    should
    have
    better
    and
    affordable
    access
    to
    micro-nutrient
    rich
    foods.
  • Food
    system
    diversity
    can
    help
    manage
    India’s
    nutrition
    challenges.
    The
    staple
    grain-focused
    policies
    and
    weak
    market
    infrastructure
    for
    non-staple
    foods
    hinder
    the
    diversification
    of
    India’s
    food
    system.
  • Mitigating
    climate
    impacts
    on
    nutrition-rich
    food
    crops
    is
    significant
    for
    poor
    people.
    Inter-state
    and
    inter-country
    learnings
    about
    India’s
    rural
    growth
    are
    worth
    sharing.

Anaka Aiyar headshot

Anaka Aiyar

Anaka
Aiyar,
post-doctoral
associate
with
the
Tata-Cornell
Institute

  • Despite
    India’s
    decrease
    in
    malnutrition
    across
    the
    country
    in
    the
    past
    30
    years,
    undernutrition
    and
    micronutrient
    deficiency
    persists,
    especially
    in
    economically
    lagging
    states
    like
    Bihar,
    Uttar
    Pradesh,
    and
    Madhya
    Pradesh.
    Still,
    38
    percent
    of
    all
    children
    in
    India
    under
    the
    age
    of
    five
    are
    stunted.
  • On
    the
    other
    hand,
    issues
    like
    overweight
    and
    obesity
    have
    appeared
    as
    big
    challenges,
    especially
    in
    more
    urbanized
    states.
    Overall,
    the
    population
    of
    overweight
    people
    has
    doubled
    during
    the
    past
    10
    years.
  • India
    needs
    to
    refocus
    its
    public
    policy
    to
    transform
    the
    food
    system
    and
    address
    the
    triple
    burden
    of
    malnutrition.
    Diversifying
    diets,
    increasing
    income,
    and
    improving
    people’s
    access
    to
    food
    safety
    nets
    are
    vital
    for
    reducing
    malnutrition.

Mathew Abraham headshot

Mathew Abraham

Mathew
Abraham,
assistant
director
of
the
Tata-Cornell
Institute

  • Shifts
    towards
    high-value
    agriculture
    products
    can
    provide
    opportunities
    for
    diversifying
    and
    accessing
    markets.
    But
    these
    opportunities
    have
    not
    translated
    into
    benefits
    for
    small
    agricultural
    producers.
    Effective
    aggregation
    models,
    such
    as
    producer
    group,
    can
    help
    reduce
    high
    transaction
    costs
    of
    small
    farms
    accessing
    urban
    food
    value
    chains.
    The
    major
    issues
    are
    limited
    access
    to
    markets,
    credit,
    inputs,
    and
    production
    technologies.
  • There
    is
    a
    need
    for
    adaptation
    and
    mitigation
    strategies
    to
    cope
    with
    the
    impacts
    of
    climate
    change
    in
    agriculture.
    Future
    climate
    change
    policies
    should
    enable
    the
    diversification
    of
    environment-friendly
    food
    systems
    as
    well
    as
    improve
    the
    nutritional
    value
    of
    foods
    produced
    and
    increase
    affordable
    access
    to
    food.
    Region-specific
    approaches
    are
    needed
    to
    address
    the
    issues.
  • Technology
    will
    play
    an
    important
    role
    in
    increasing
    smallholder
    productivity
    and
    competitiveness.
    States,
    especially
    lagging
    ones,
    need
    to
    go
    beyond
    staple
    grains
    and
    use
    appropriate
    technologies
    for
    promoting
    a
    more
    diverse
    food
    system.

Andaleeb Rahman

Andaleeb Rahman

Andaleeb
Rahman,
post-doctoral
associate
at
the
Tata-Cornell
Institute

  • The
    one-size-fits-all
    approach
    does
    not
    work
    for
    India
    when
    developing
    and
    implementing
    policies,
    given
    the
    state-level
    differences
    in
    economic
    growth,
    agricultural
    production,
    cultures,
    and
    environments,
    among
    other
    factors.
  • Initial
    investments
    in
    agricultural
    productivity
    kicked
    off
    different
    trajectories
    in
    economic
    growth.
    For
    instance,
    agriculture-led
    growth
    states
    like
    Punjab
    and
    Haryana
    invested
    heavily
    in
    paddy
    cultivation
    while
    urbanizing
    states,
    like
    Kerala
    and
    Tamil
    Nadu,
    prefer
    cash
    crops
    and
    non-ag
    sectors
    like
    industry
    and
    tourism.
    However,
    several
    states
    in
    east
    India
    are
    primarily
    smallholder
    agriculture
    systems.
  • India
    has
    witnessed
    a
    low
    rate
    of
    migration
    in
    recent
    years.
    As
    villages
    are
    coming
    closer
    to
    small
    towns,
    people
    are
    commuting
    to
    work
    rather
    than
    migrating
    to
    urban
    areas.
    This
    allows
    new
    growth
    opportunities
    for
    rural
    Indians.
  • Safety
    nets
    have
    been
    an
    essential
    component
    of
    poverty
    reduction
    policies
    in
    India,
    providing
    income
    and
    nutrition
    assistance
    across
    different
    stages
    of
    life.
    However,
    the
    objectives
    and
    design
    of
    India’s
    safety
    net
    programs,
    whether
    food
    or
    cash
    based,
    need
    to
    evolve
    with
    economic
    growth
    and
    the
    changing
    nutritional
    needs
    of
    marginalized
    populations.

About
the
Tata-Cornell
Institute

The
Tata-Cornell
Institute
(TCI)
was
founded
with
the
generous
support
of
Ratan
Tata
’62
(AAP),
former
chairman
of
the
Tata
Group
of
India.
Through
the
Tata
Education
and
Development
Trust,
Tata
provided
$25
million
to
Cornell
University
to
support
a
long-term
research
initiative.
TCI
conducts
research,
provides
thought
leadership,
and
engages
stakeholders
working
in
agriculture,
nutrition,
and
food
policy.
TC
I
is
part
of
the
College
of
Agriculture
and
Life
Sciences
and
hosted
by
the
Charles
H.
Dyson
School
of
Applied
Economics
and
Management.

Learn
more
about
the
Tata-Cornell
Institute
and
how
to

read
their
new
book
here
.