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Agriculture and Food Systems for Balanced Nutrition

New Delhi, February 15 (G’nY News Service): “A single degree rise in temperature can reduce our agricultural yield by 10 percent. Hence, we should have a climate smart agriculture that is climate resilient,” says Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) President & Global Panel Member Prof K Srinath Reddy. Referring to reforms that should help mitigate Climate Change, Prof Reddy called for reforms and incentives are economically viable and ecologically sustainable to produce the desired results. Prof Reddy was speaking at the final session of the Ist South Asia Regional Consultation on Nutrition, Agriculture and Food Systems in the Era of Sustainable Development at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on February 12, 2016.

The consultation was jointly organized by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food System for Nutrition and Research and Information System for Developing Countries, and PHFI. Speaking on the occasion, Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) Director General Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi emphasized on the need to focus on simple communication to facilitate cross domain learning on nutrition. He also called for sharing of knowledge among South Asian countries, while building on local systems.

Ambassador Shyam Saran spoke on the challenges posed by agriculture, and the need to involve people from different domains to overcome the multiplicity of problems plaguing agriculture today. Referring to the problems of water, energy and food, he cited the troubling example of farmers using toxic fertilizers and pesticides without donning adequate protective gear, and thus creating health issues for themselves. Indicating how melting glaciers, soil degradation and other changes were all inter-linked and could impact livelihoods. Hence, in his opinion, growth had to be looked at ina quantified manner, and not linked to any aspects of sustainability.

In a similar vein, Prof Patrick Webb, Advisor, Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition asserted that sustainable goals were critical and could be attained only if we sustained those who sustain nutrition. It was important to focus on nutrition, he pointed out, since nutritional shortcomings can lead to expensive medical care. Overemphasis on iron deficiency and anemia was not enough; other indicators of poor nutrition such as obesity and diabetes also needed to be attended to, he said.

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