New Delhi [India], Aug 7 (ANI): Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday highlighted the need to constantly review the country's food, agriculture and trade policies according to the times. He also called for reorienting agricultural priorities towards more nutrition-sensitive food.
Inaugurating the virtual consultation 'Science for Resilient Food, Nutrition and Livelihoods' organized by the MS Swaminathan Foundation (MSSRF), the Vice President drew attention towards impacts associated with poor diet quality and said that both undernutrition and obesity are significant risk factors for non-communicable diseases.
"We must step up investments in improved storage, processing and preservation to retain the nutritional value of food products, rather than investing in highly processed foods," he said.
Lauding Prof MS Swaminathan as a visionary scientist and the architect of India's Green Revolution, the Vice President expressed happiness that MSSRF aims to accelerate the use of modern science and technology for agricultural and rural development.
He commended MSSRF for its pro-poor, pro-women and pro-nature approach and exuded confidence that the virtual consultation will help in evolving new strategies and practices to promote food security and nutrition.
Expressing his respect and gratitude to Dr Swaminathan for helping farmers through technology, Naidu said that he closely follows Dr Swaminathan's suggestions and would pursue them at all levels including the Parliament.
Talking about SDG goals, the Vice President said that it is time to take stock of the progress made so far. "Where are we in terms of achieving zero hunger and good health and well-being goals?" he asked.
Citing a UN report which states the number of people suffering from hunger in the world has been slowly increasing in recent years, Naidu said that nearly 750 million people were exposed to severe levels of food insecurity in the world in 2019.
Drawing attention to these worrisome hunger indicators in the world, the Vice President emphasised the need to do things differently and more quickly.
"We need urgent, focussed and concerted action at national, regional and global levels," he said.
Maintaining that India has made significant strides in reducing hunger, undernourishment and infant mortality, Naidu expressed satisfaction that the Centre has accorded the highest priority to combating health and nutrition problems in the country.
Enumerating various government programmes, the Vice President expressed happiness over provision to provide nutritious breakfast to school children in recently announced Education Policy.
Highlighting the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the lives and livelihood, Naidu said that the problem of hunger and undernourishment may become more acute with the corona induced global economic slowdown.
Swaminathan, Prof K Vijayaraghavan and scientists and researchers from India and abroad joined in the online consultation. (ANI)