Israel's former president Shimon Peres on Friday lauded the steps taken by India in the last few decades to strengthen its agriculture sector and enhance food production.
Taking part in a discussion on "Challenges and Opportunities of Creating a Second Green Revolution in India" held in the capital today, Peres said, "While India needed to rely on foreign aid in the 1960s to avert disaster, today India is a net exporter of food, and any threat of malnutrition is a question more of distribution, than of production. The world can learn a lot from your experience. Your commitment to basic scientific agricultural research, is the only way that India today is more food secure than it was 50 years ago. And amazingly, you have done this while still relying primarily on small-scale farmers."
"The green revolution has brought new challenges that must be dealt with. We must maintain the increased yields, but with more environmentally sustainable practices. I'm convinced that the answer lies in science and technology. India and Israel have a common agenda. We both realize the importance of food security for both our national security and regional stability," he added.
Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman, Ananta Centre and Chairman of the Board, Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Company Ltd., said, "Agriculture lies at the basis of our economy, providing 52% of the country's total workforce. With the projected levels of population growth, food security remains high on the development agenda. Farmer aggregation and improved water irrigation systems can be the foundation for the expansion of Indian agriculture. Israel's agro-technologies and Australia's efficient production, processing systems and RandD can also play a vital role in India's Second Green Revolution."
India's agricultural sector contributes 16 per cent of total GDP and 10 per cent of export earnings in the economy.
Despite being largely self-sufficient in food production, Indian agriculture currently faces a slew of problems-its growth is much slower than other sectors of the economy; productivity is in decline and the income gap between farmers and the rest of the workforce is widening.
In addition, India is on its way to become the world's most populous country by 2030. The increased population, and rapid urbanization, is bound to put added pressures on land and water resources.
Given this backdrop, the Ananta Centre, in collaboration with the Tel Aviv University and Pratt Foundation, organised a
The program featured Shimon Peres, Former President of Israel; and Anthony Pratt, Chairman, Pratt Foundation and Chairman, Visy Industries Pty Ltd.
The Green Revolution in India began in the late 1960s with the introduction of high-yield crop varieties and applications of modern agricultural techniques.
The success of the initiative was attributed to a mixture of investment in crop research, use of appropriate technology, market development and government provisions. The expansion in food production created self-sufficiency in food grains and significantly cut India's reliance on imports.
According to estimates, food-grain production improved from 51 million tonnes (MT) in 1950-1951 to 234 MT in 2008-2009.
Mr. T.N. Ninan, Chairman, Ananta Aspen Centre and Chairman, Business Standard Pvt. Ltd., used the occasion to formally announce the launch of a new Track II initiative on food and water security in collaboration with Tel Aviv University and the Pratt Foundation of Australia.
Mr. Shimon Peres, Mr. Jamshyd Godrej and Mr. Anthony Pratt are the three patrons of this initiative. The Track 2 Trilateral Dialogue will be co-chaired by Dr. Ashok Gulati from India, Mr. Ross Fitzgerald from Australia and Dr. Daniel Chamovitz from Israel.
Highlighting the increasing cooperation between India, Israel and Australia on water and food security, Pratt said, "I am honoured and delighted to be the Australian Patron of the Trilateral Track II Food and Water Security Dialogue between India, Israel and Australia. We are dedicated to serving Prime Minister Modi's vision of creating India's second green revolution across the full agricultural, food processing, distribution supply chain, to improve the livelihoods and productivity of India's smallholder farmers."
Prime Minister Modi's vision for a Second Green Revolution includes focus on increased agro-productivity, value addition and agro-technology; decentralization of warehousing; white revolution to focus on increasing milk productivity and developing a system for ensuring cattle health, and increased focus on water conservation.