Today is World Food Day which highlights the global importance of food. Access to food is a basic human right, vital for good health and ultimately for life itself. Globally speaking, 1.3 billion tons of food goes to waste every year.
PM to release commemorative coin to mark 75th Anniversary of FAO
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release a commemorative coin of 75 rupees denomination to mark the 75th Anniversary of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today.
Mr Modi will also dedicate 17 recently developed biofortified varieties of eight crops to the nation. Union Agriculture Minister, Finance Minister and Women and Child Development Minister will also be present on the occasion. It will be witnessed by Anganwadis, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Organic and Horticulture Missions across the country. The event marks the highest priority accorded by the government to agriculture and nutrition and is a testament of the resolve to completely eliminate hunger, undernourishment and malnutrition.
India has a historic association with FAO. Indian Civil Service Officer Dr. Binay Ranjan Sen was the Director General of FAO during 1956-1967 and the World Food Programme, which has won the Nobel Peace Prize 2020, was established during his time. India’s proposals for the International Year of Pulses in 2016 and the International Year of Millets 2023 have also been endorsed by FAO. Government has rolled out an ambitious POSHAN Abhiyaan targeting over 100 million people with the aim to reduce stunting, under nutrition, anaemia, and low birth weight. Malnutrition is a global problem with two billion people suffering from micronutrient deficiency. Nearly 45 per cent of deaths among children are linked to malnutrition. The development of nutritionally rich varieties of crops with elevated levels of micronutrients has been accorded top priority by the government.
The National Agricultural Research System under the leadership of Indian Council of Agricultural Research developed 53 such varieties during the last five years. There was only one biofortified variety developed prior to 2014. The 17 recently developed biofortified varieties of 8 crops to be dedicated to the nation by the Prime Minister will have up to 3-fold increase in nutritional value. These varieties, along with other food ingredients, will transform the normal Indian thali into nutri-thali.
These varieties have been developed by utilizing the local landraces and farmer’s varieties. The production of bio-fortified crop varieties will be upscaled and linked with government programmes of mid-day meal, Anganwadi etc. to reduce malnutrition and make India Kuposhan Mukt through naturally enriched food ingredients. It will also usher in higher income of farmers and will open new avenues of entrepreneurship development.