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India’s food System UPSC NOTE

 Challenges of India's food system

  • Malnutrition: India faces a significant burden of malnutrition. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), 35.5% of children under five are stunted (low height-for-age), 22.9% are wasted (low weight-for-height), and 57.9% are anemic.

  • Food loss and waste: India loses an estimated 40% of its food production due to post-harvest losses. This is due to a number of factors, such as inadequate storage and transportation facilities, poor handling practices, and pest infestation.


Challenges of India's food system

  • Climate change: Climate change is likely to lead to more extreme weather events, such as droughts, floods, and heat waves. These events can damage crops, reduce yields, and disrupt food supply chains.

  • Water scarcity: India is a water-stressed country. Agriculture accounts for about 80% of India's water withdrawals. As the demand for water increases, competition for water between agriculture and other sectors is likely to intensify.

  • Soil degradationOveruse of fertilizers and pesticides, as well as unsustainable farming practices, have led to the degradation of soil


Challenges of India's food system

Interconnectedness of India's food system

  • Malnutrition is linked to food loss and waste. When food is lost or wasted, it is not available to people who need it. This can contribute to malnutrition, especially among children.

  •  Climate change can lead to both food loss and waste and malnutrition. Extreme weather events can damage crops and disrupt food supply chains. This can lead to higher food prices and reduced access to food.


Challenges of India's food system

How to address the challenges facing India's food system, 

  • This means considering the interconnectedness of the different challenges and developing solutions that address multiple challenges at the same time.

  • Investments in improving post-harvest storage and transportation facilities can help to reduce food loss and waste. 

  • This can also help to improve food security and nutrition. 

  • Investments in climate-smart agriculture can help farmers to adapt to the impacts of climate change. 

Way forward

The way forward on India's food system lies in a holistic and sustainable approach,

  • Promote climate-smart agriculture: Investing in climate-smart agriculture practices such as water-efficient irrigation, drought-resistant crops, and diversified farming systems can help farmers adapt to the changing climate and ensure continued production.

  • Strengthen food value chains: Supply chain reduce food loss and waste, improve market access for farmers, and increase incomes. This can be achieved through investments in infrastructure, capacity building.

 

Way forward

  • Promote nutritious diets: Despite being a food-sufficient country, India faces a significant burden of malnutrition. Promoting nutritious diets through awareness campaigns, food fortification, and school feeding programs can help improve the health and well-being of the population.

  • Reduce food waste: Food waste is a major problem in India, with an estimated 40% of food being wasted from farm to fork. Reducing food waste can help improve food security and conserve resources. 

Way forward

  • In addition to these, taking into account the interrelationships between different parts of the food system, such as agriculture, environment, health, and trade. 

  • By working together, stakeholders from all sectors can develop and implement solutions that are both effective and sustainable.

  • The way forward on India's food system is not easy, but it is essential for ensuring food security, nutrition, and environmental sustainability for future generations. 

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: India’s food System UPSC NOTE
India’s food System UPSC NOTE
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