Food Imperatives cover

Vol no. 19 Issue No. 135

Inside this issue

Food Imperatives

Agriculture, Nutrition and Environment Nexus in South Asia

By: Nafees Meah, Jon Hellin and Jean Balié

Food systems are at the nexus of food security, nutritional health, ecosystems, climate change, and prosperity. Agricultural policies have focused on increasing food production, but may have neglected the negative externalities on nutrition, natural capital, and biodiversity. A new paradigm on food system transformation is emerging using the concept of ‘planetary boundaries’ in defining the ‘safe operating space’ for stability of the earth system and human health.

Aftershocks of the Green Revolution in Northwest India

By: Rajiv Sinha, Suneel Kumar Joshi and Suman Kumar

Post-Green Revolution, India has witnessed a dramatic increase in wheat and rice production from 50 to 203 million tonnes between 1950 and 2000. This transformation has come about, in part, through the expansion of groundwater irrigation in northwestern India. However, large-scale groundwater pumping has aggravated waterlogging, salinisation, pollution and caused a steep decline in water tables. Improved water use efficiency, crop diversification and better regulations are needed to arrest the over-exploitation of groundwater across the region.

POSHAN Abhiyaan for a Malnutrition Free India

By: Basanta Kar

To achieve malnutrition-free status, India’s development agenda needs to tackle its ‘double burden’ of malnutrition, under-nutrition and obesity at the same time. It is in this context that the POSHAN Abhiyaan provides an opportunity to counter malnutrition and usher in a new era in food and nutrition security.

What Affects' Households Food Choice in West Bengal?

By: Matty Demont, Marie Claire Custodio, Jhoanne Ynion, Arindam Samaddar, Rochie Cuevas, Anindita Ray (Chakravarti) and Suva Kanta Mohanty

Achieving healthier diets requires a thorough understanding of the diversity and drivers of food choice. The International Rice Research Institute developed a ‘Food Choice Application’ featuring 162 unique Bengali dishes and captured the weekly meal plans of 177 low to middle income households in West Bengal. Food choices varied by gender and between urban and rural communities¬ affected primarily by budget constraints and to a lesser extent by behavioural change communication towards healthier diets.

Food System Transformation in India

By: P K Joshi

From food deficit to self-sufficiency and then to surplus production, India is moving towards a ‘sustainable’ food system. Changing consumption patterns from cereal-based diets towards more nutrition-rich commodities and increased expenditure on non-food items are all fuelling the demand for services such as education, health and transport.

Climate Change Impacts on Nutrition in The Indian Context

By: Hemalatha and S Vasanthi

Achieving country and global nutrition targets is essential for delivering the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Despite concerted efforts of the Indian government and its partners, malnutrition persists at critical rates. Understanding the interlinkages between climate change, agriculture and nutrition can help enhance health and productivity.

Heavy Metal Contamination in Vegetables Grown in Peri-urban Areas

By: Mayuri Chabukdhara

There is an increasing demand for vegetables in mega cities and large towns, especially among urban consumers, mostly met by vegetable production in the peri-urban areas. However, farming practices using wastewater and large amounts of agrochemicals along with atmospheric depositions of heavy metals have resulted in contamination posing a health threat to consumers.

Heirloom Rices a Repertoire of Genetic Wealth

By: Ahmed Regina, Cecilia Acuin and Nese Sreenivasulu

With 3000 genomes of rice varieties now sequenced, plant breeders are identifying new genes for traits such as better grain quality, yield, nutrition and biotic and abiotic stress tolerance. Working with partners, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA) at IRRI-SARC are prioritising this research.

In brief

Editor's Note

Food Imperatives in India I once watched an exasperated TV anchor asking a scientist that if there are so many deficiencies in our food systems–from production to consumption, where does one even begin? His helplessness rang true for most of us. Attempts to develop our food systems have been unde

Guest Editor's Note

Nutrition and India’s Food Systems Food systems are deeply entwined with food security, nutritional health, ecosystems, climate change, and prosperity. The Green Revolution enabled countries in South Asia move from food deficit to self-sufficiency, particularly in cereals. In the process, millio

Term Power

What is ...

Anthropogenic activities mean human activities which affect nature. These activities cause changes in nature which would not have been possible without human influence.

Bio-fortification is the process by which nutrient levels in crops is improved during plant growth rather than during processing of the crops.

Family food basket is a term for a set of food items used by a population which is sufficient to adequately cover the energy requirements of each member of the family.

Food deficit is defined as the intensity of food deprivation in a country. Intensity of food deprivation is the number of people whose dietary intake falls short of the minimum requirement.

The Green Revolution is an umbrella term for a number of successful agricultural experiments in the 1960’s that drastically improved agricultural production, especially in developing countries.

Groundwater is water that seeps into the ground and accumulates underneath. Groundwater depletion is the result of long-term water-level declines caused by sustained and unrestrained groundwater pumping.

A landrace is an agricultural plant species that has been grown in a specific local environment over a long period of time and has adapted to the environmental conditions of the area of cultivation.

The term micronutrient is used to describe vitamins and minerals as opposed to macronutrients which include proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The human body requires smaller amounts of micronutrients relative to macronutrients.

Stunting is the impaired growth and development of children mostly due to poor nutrition. 38 per cent of Indian children younger than 5 years of age are stunted.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals and 169 targets adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity for all people by 2030.

Wasting, or low weight for height, is a result of malnutrition. It is a strong predicator for mortality among children under the age of 5. 20 per cent of Indian children under 5 years of age suffer from wasting due to acute undernutrition.