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Outcomes of agriculture polices have broader implications for society: Prof Ashwini

Outcomes of agriculture polices have broader implications for society: Prof Ashwini

Hyderabad, Jan 18 (UNI) Bharti Institute of Public Policy (BIPP) of Indian School of Business (ISB), Executive Director Ashwini Chhatre has said the outcomes of agriculture policies have much broader implications for society than just the incomes of farmers.

In his welcome address at the 2nd National Symposium on Agriculturewhich began at ISB here on Friday, Prof Chhatre said agriculture policies impact health and nutrition as well as sustainable use of resources like land, soil, water, and energy, and therefore the welfare of future generations.

Appropriate policies can minimise trade-offs between seemingly contradictory objectives, and enable synergies among multiple socially desirable outcomes.



Examples include use of incentives to reduce carbon emissions, encourage crop diversification, and increase water-use efficiency at the same time, he remarked.

At the conference, Professor Ruth DeFries, Denning Family Professor of Sustainable Development, Columbia University, gave a presentation on the research behind the report, 'Multifunctional Agriculture for Sustainable Development'.

The report is based on several research papers published over the last five years by BIPP, broadly themed around the shifting focus of agriculture, crop diversification and coarse cereal consumption.

She talked about how the production of cereals has increased because of increased rice production but production of coarse cereals has decreased. This has led to decline in nutrient consumption, for example --there is iron deficiency in the rural poor. Replacing rice with coarse cereals will lead to increased nutrient consumption with reduced pressure on water for irrigation.

During the panel discussion, Prof Chhatre also deliberated on whether crop diversification can secure a sustainable future for India, and how shifting the focus of agricultural production away from rice and wheat towards coarse cereals (like millet, sorghum ) and the obstacles and problems in its execution.

ICRISAT Director (Country relations) Dr. Arabinda Padhi said, 'In Indian agriculture, good economics never make good politics. There is a shift in dietary patterns, especially, in the urban educated, towards increased adoption of coarse cereals. The question is whether this shift has had any impact at the rural population.'

'As of today, there is a massive opportunity for agriculture to reduce not only its own footprint but also the carbon footprint of many others. Agriculture is the single greatest lever to turn around India's economy. We need to look at levers that drive sustainability and track and monitor from ‘farm-to-table’, remarked Ms. Shloka Nath, Executive Director, India Climate collaborative, Tata Trust.

Elaborating on how India is good space right now, as the per capita consumption of wheat and rice is declining both in the urban and the rural set-up, Tata-Cornell Institute ( Cornell University) Director , Professor Prabhu L Pingali said a lot of good change is happening in the agriculture space in India. Insecticide use is at its lowest level today. Big changes are happening, but the narrative is yet to catch up.

The symposium concluded on a highly interactive, engaging and insightful session with the diverse audience, coming from organisations like the World Bank (WB), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), World Resources Institute (WRI), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Ernst & Young (EY), Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3IE), Centre for Science & Environment (CSE), Food Corporation of India (FCI), Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), Oxfam, Srijan, and from academic institutions like JNU, IIT Delhi, NITIE, IIPH.

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