It was time for a nutrition
revolution in India and it is important to work to achieve that to end malnutrition, renowned agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan
said in Chennai on Wednesday.
Stating that India was a country with the largest number of people with malnutrition
in the world, he said this was despite adequate food production
and availability of cereals.
"This is a nutrition
enigma," he said and added that this called for a multi-sectoral approach involving areas, including agriculture, health and rural development to ensure nutrition
for people across the social spectrum.
In his concluding remarks at the three-day conference on 'Farming System for Nutrition,' held by M S Swaminathan
Research Foundation in Chennai, he spoke of studies reiterating that malnourishment affected the intellectual growth of children.
There is a need for a public policy on a balanced diet and several states, including Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had initiated schemes for better nutrition.
It was being done through noon meal scheme and by providing millets and pulses in the Public Distribution Scheme, he said.
"Therefore, states have a significant role in addressing malnutrition
in the country," he said.
The conference deliberated ways to ensure nutrition
and many recommendations were made in this regard.
Ramesh Chand, Member Niti Aayog, emphasised the need for data for planning. "Niti Aayog is in the process of developing input indicators for nutrition, relevant to India, rather than based on international standards," he said.
Affirming the Central government's commitment to nutrition, he suggested that the Indian Council for Agriculture Research make recommendations on 'farming system packages' rather than for individual crops so that nutrition
sensitive agriculture could be promoted.
Rasha Omar, country director International Fund for Agricultural Development, pointed out that coordinated action across different sectors like health, agriculture and sanitation was required to address nutrition.
She also said women's empowerment and education is important for nutrition
The three-day consultation was organised by M S Swaminathan
Research Foundation (MSSRF) with the support of Tata Trusts, which brought together scientists and experts in nutrition
and agriculture, farmers, policy makers and NGOs.