Day 14 – Q 3.What are the essential components of food security? What measures has the government taken to ensure food security in our country? Are they enough?
3. What are the essential components of food security? What measures has the government taken to ensure food security in our country? Are they enough?
खाद्य सुरक्षा के आवश्यक घटक क्या हैं? हमारे देश में खाद्य सुरक्षा सुनिश्चित करने के लिए सरकार ने क्या उपाय किए हैं? क्या वे पर्याप्त हैं?
As per World Food Summit, Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
The components of food security are:
- Availability- Food availability addresses the “supply side” of food security and is determined by the level of food production, stock levels and net trade.
- Access- Having adequate income or other resources to access food. It incorporates affordability, allocation and preference for food.
- Utilization/consumption- Having adequate dietary intake and the ability to absorb and use nutrients in the body. It includes nutrition, safety and social value regarding food.
- Stability- Stability of the above three components on periodic basis. Adverse weather conditions, political instability, or economic factors (unemployment, rising food prices) may have an impact on food security status.
Measures by government-
- Green revolution- Use of hybrid seeds, irrigation, subsidies to increase agricultural yield.
- Operation flood- Increase in production of milk, which is considered a complete food.
- Minimum Support Price- The MSP helps to incentivize the framers and thus ensures adequate food grains production in the country.
- National Food Security Act- The Targeted Public Distribution System (PDS) ensures ‘Right to food’ for the population.
- MGNREGA- To make rural people self-sufficient to buy food for themselves.
- Mid-day meal scheme- To provide sufficient calories intake in children.
- Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)- To ensure holistic development of children up to six years of age
- FSSAI- It ensures quality of food products being supplied in the market.
- Operation greens- To ensure price stability of potato, tomato and onion.
- Focus on Employment generation to ensure affordability of food.
- Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana- To ensure adequate food production in rainfed areas.
India has taken care of the availability of food and is now a food surplus country from being food deficit once. The affordability of food has also been ensured to a large extent by public distribution system and the ‘right to food’.
However, the utilization and stability parts are not yet implemented properly:
- Huge under nourishment- Malnourishment stands at 38.4% as per NFHS-4. Recent outbreak of encephalitis is also attributed to malnutrition to some extent.
- Hidden hunger- Having a cereal centric diet has resulted in lack of micronutrients in people.
- Rainfall failure- During drought conditions, we suffer from food availability due to improper water management and lack of proper irrigation.
- Fluctuations in food prices- Due to faulty agricultural policies and distribution systems, there is often fluctuations in prices in food commodities, with one season seeing a spike in prices and another seeing a price crash.
Measures that can be taken:
- Implementing universal PDS (As per Swaminathan committee recommendations). Focusing on diversification of food basket.
- Integrated nutrient management through precision farming- Attention needs to be given to balanced use of nutrients.
- Use of biotechnology- Bio fortification of food, like rice with Vitamin A will enhance the nutritional value of food.
- Improving the distribution systems and storage capacity of FCI.
- Agricultural research education needs to be improved- Agricultural colleges and universities need to disseminate scientific knowledge and skills to the farming community and to train them to use such skills for better output.
Achieving the goal of zero hunger under SDG Goal 2 by 2030 can be achieved if we focus not only on availability of food but also on the quality and affordability as well as ensuring a stable price regime.