Even as India was cognizant of its role in ensuring global food security, it was the world’s major agricultural producers that had a far bigger role to play in fulfilling this obligation, minister for chemicals and fertiliser, Mansukh Mandaviya has said.
“We are a country with a 1.3 billion and our requirement for food grains is much more. Our share of agricultural exports is only between 1-1.5 per cent. We should ramp up our production of food grains but countries whose share of agricultural exports is much more have a bigger responsibility towards the needy countries,” said Mandaviya.
To elucidate his point, the minister highlighted the role played by India during the first two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country was guided by its philosophy of Vasudev Kutumbakam (the world is one family), he said. Despite being under lockdown at the time, nearly 3,000 pharma companies and 10,000 pharma manufacturing units ramped up production to meet the global demand for medicines.
“We supplied medicines to 150 countries without overcharging them,” said Mandaviya.
The minister made these observations at the panel discussion ‘Redefining Food Systems with Emerging Technologies’ hosted by Business Today’s executive director Rahul Kanwal on the final day of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The minister also said that without technology-driven farming it was impossible to ensure global food security. Enumerating the initiatives undertaken by India, he said the country had taken several steps in this direction. As farmers could use technology to assess the amount of fertiliser or nutrients to be used on their land, the government had started 7,000 modern fertiliser shops to provide them with both information and guidance. Similarly, the farmers’ cooperatives were buying tractors and other farm machinery for use by those who could not afford them otherwise.
Other panelists, including executive vice president, corporate governance and compliance of Nestle Leanne Geale, president & CEO of Yara International Svein Tore Holsethe, and CEO of Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) Ishmael Sunga also shared their thoughts on utilising new and emerging technologies to build resilient supply chains as well as providing access to small and marginal farmers to those technologies.
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