NEW DELHI: A high-level interdepartmental group under a NITI Aayog member has been constituted to conduct national dialogues with stakeholders of agri-food systems for exploring national pathways towards creating sustainable and equitable food systems in India and suitably contribute to transformation in global food systems.
The consultative processes shall culminate in the Food Systems Summit in September 2021 in which the Prime Minister is likely to participate along with other global leaders, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare said in a release.
The United Nations Secretary-General has called for the first-ever UN Food Systems Summit to be held in September 2021 to strategize the actions for positive change in Agri-food systems in the World to realise the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Summit will focus on levers and pathways to shape food systems nationally and globally to accelerate progress in the SDGs. The release said that India owes a paramount stake in this Food System Summit. "India has volunteered, but not limited to, to the Action Track 4: Advance Equitable Livelihoods for the UN Food System Summit 2021," it said.
To take the process further, it said the government has constituted the Group under Chairmanship of Ramesh Chand along with the representatives from Ministries of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare (MoAFW), Rural Development and others.
The prime function assigned to this group is to conduct National Dialogues with all the stakeholders of agri-food systems for exploring national pathways towards creating sustainable and equitable food systems in India and suitably contribute to transformation in global food systems to meet the needs of present and future.
The release said the first national-level dialogue on Agri-Food Systems-Advancing Equitable Livelihoods was conducted on April 12, 2021. The day-long deliberations were attended by farmers organisations, farmer producer organisations, civil society organisations, research institutions experts and government agencies.
Chand urged the participants to share their ideas, experiences, success stories, transformative innovations, evidence-based suggestions relating to policies, infrastructure, institutions, and the commitments India should be made to align the food system to achieve SDGs towards 2030.
On Thursday, Chand participated in a RIS-NITI Aayog National Consultation on 'Issues before the UN Food Systems Summit'.
In his valedictory address, Jayant Sinha, Member of Parliament and Chairperson, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance drew upon contemporary challenges of agriculture livelihoods, and the emerging transformative changes and new institutional mechanisms in India for value creation through modern food processing system, with equal emphasis on sustainable food ecosystem.
He duly stressed on the importance of access to markets and investments in this sector. Sachin Chaturvedi, Director-General, RIS, said given the food security concerns of the developing world, India has volunteered for Action Track 4 (that is related to advancing equitable livelihoods).
He said the Indian government, through its food security welfare scheme, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, reached out to the masses including the migrant labour and ensured their food security during the COVID-19 pandemic.