Farm policy must be nutrition-sensitive: Vice President

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Inaugurates ‘National Consultation for Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition’

“We must make agriculture nutrition-sensitive and it is critical that we explicitly make this vital connection,” said Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, on Sunday.

He was inaugurating a ‘National Consultation for Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition’ organised by the foundation, to address the persistent problem of malnutrition in the country.

In his address, the Vice-President said that while the country had, by and large, achieved food security, there was an increasing need to modify food production in order to achieve nutrition security.

“Calorie deficiency, protein deficiency and micro-nutrient deficiency are the kinds of nutritional deficiency observed in India which has adopted the National Nutrition Strategy in September 2017 to address malnutrition,” he said.

Revision needed

“We should have a relook at our agriculture policy and make it more nutrition sensitive,” the Vice President said.

Emphasising on the need to encourage the cultivation of nutritionally-rich crops, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu said that there needed to be a diversity in food production. “While we should move away from mono cropping and promote the cultivation of millets and pulses, we also need to create a market for nutritive crops, such as millets, as well as see how it can be brought effectively into the Public Distribution System,” he said.

“In accordance with the suggestion given by M. S. Swaminathan for a synergetic approach to integrate agriculture, nutrition and health, the National Nutrition Strategy, 2017 recognises the importance of a multi-dimensional approach to address malnutrition. This recognition of nutrition-sensitive agriculture in national policy would hopefully bring about significant impact on the nutrition status of children,” he said.

Against malnutrition

The consultation had sessions addressed by experts on the importance of promoting agriculture-nutrition links to combat malnutrition in the country as well as the potential policy changes which can be effective for the same. The Farming System for Nutrition, a farmer-led strategy and sustainable framework based on nutrition sensitive agriculture were also discussed