Addressing the 58th Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) convocation, he said India's poor ranking in the Global Hunger Index was a matter of concern and policymakers as well as agricultural scientists had to examine and solve this problem by ensuring the food and nutrition security of the country. .
“While the position on the food front is comfortable with a total production of food grains of 283,37 million tonnes. India, however, ranks 102nd in the World Hunger Index. This is a matter of concern, ”Naidu said.
Policymakers, politicians, parliamentarians, agricultural universities and agricultural scientists must "seriously worry about why we are still 102nd on the Global Hunger Index," he said. he said, and inquired whether it was due to a lack of policy or poor program implementation.
“We all need to take serious soul-searching and address this concern,” Naidu said.
The vice-president pointed out that the total production of food grains in the country had increased to 283,37 million tonnes from nearly 51 million tonnes in 1950-51.
“We have achieved food self-sufficiency, but simple food security will not be enough. We need to have protein security. There is a vitamin deficiency in every person. We need to tackle the protein problem, ”Naidu said.
He asked a farmer to focus on increasing crop yield and production level and cited the example of Vietnam, where the productivity of rice is 10 times that of India.
“In a country like India with a galloping population, unfortunately no organization is paying attention to the population issue. The political parties feel timid, the politicians feel timid, nor the parliament is adequately discussing the issue, ”Naidu said.
“You know how the population is increasing by leaps and bounds, creating problems. See the problems in Delhi, the traffic, more people, more vehicles, more problems, more stress, less attention. If you have tension, you can't pay attention, ”the vice president said. said, addressing IARI students and faculties.
“One of course addresses the issue of population and secondly the need to increase food production not only for our food security but also for the world's food security… In the future, if the population increases like this, and that you are not able to match the increase in production, there will be a problem, ”Naidu said.
The vice president said country like India cannot depend on imported food security and ensuring “local food security” should be the priority.
“For us, a population of 130 crores, we have to come out with more production, more varieties, more qualities and more nutritious (crops). This is an important aspect that I would like to point out before all of you, ”he told the students.
The alarming prevalence of malnutrition and hidden hunger is a matter of serious concern, said the vice president and pointed out that more than 80% of adolescents in India suffer from hidden hunger.
With all the scientific, technological and industrial advancements, Naidu said that even today almost 60% of the Indian population depends on agriculture and related activities.
The vice president asked the IARI students to focus on their lifestyle and eating habits. He urged them to eat healthy food and practice yoga. “Yoga is for the body, not for Modi,” he told the students.
The Vice President spoke about the judicious use of fertilizers and pesticides, and also focused on crop diversification, food processing, storage and added value to increase farmers' income.
Naidu said the government has launched several programs, including Rs 87 crore PM-KISAN, for the welfare of farmers and that the focus should now be on proper implementation.
The scientist should focus more on improving the productivity of small and marginal farms, he added.
The vice president also pointed out that the government has now started a good practice of handing out Padma awards to farmers, which he said had been presented earlier to elites residing in the Lutyen area and the Khan market in the national capital.
Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of State Agriculture Kailash Choudhary and the Director General of ICAR, T Mohapatra, were present on this occasion.
IARI Director Ashok Kumar Singh and Dean Rashmi Aggarwal reported on the institute's significant achievements in 2019.
This article appeared first (in English) on THE TIMES OF INDIA