The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that government, civil society, scientists and researchers must share knowledge and expertise with farmers to make agriculture sustainable and nutrition-rich.
Addressing the National Consultation on Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition organised by MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, in Chennai today, he called on institutions like Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Krishi Vigyan Kendras to take the lead in educating our farmers. The Minister for Fisheries and Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Tamil Nadu, Shri D. Jayakumar, the Agricultural Scientist, Prof. M.S. Swaminathan and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
The Vice President said that a considerable section of the population in our country suffers from malnutrition consisting of under nutrition, hidden hunger caused by micronutrient deficiencies and obesity.
He further said that it is quite distressing that in spite of the efforts taken by successive governments at the Centre and in various States, the problem of malnutrition persists in India at unacceptable levels.
There is a need to address this problem on war footing for the country’s population to remain healthy and productive in future, he added.
The Vice President said that the Government of India has adopted The National Nutrition Strategy in September 2017 to address the problem. He further said that this policy recognises the imperative need to have a relook at our agriculture policy. We must make agriculture nutrition-sensitive and it is critical that we explicitly make this vital connection between agriculture and nutrition, he added.
The Vice President said that Indian agriculture must diversify our food production by moving away from mono cropping of major cereals to a system that integrates a variety of food items including small millets, pulses, fruits and vegetables.
The Vice President said that millets like Jowar, Bajra, Ragi and little millets like Kutki, Kodo, Sawa, Kangni and Cheena are known to be nutrient-rich. Since cultivation of millets requires less water, efforts must be to promote their cultivation as part of crop rotation, he added.>