Chennai, October 15, 2018: ‘Food is Brahman’ said Dr Rajagopal Velamoor, Former Director, ICAR- CPCRI, and Founder and President, Society for Hunger Elimination (SHE), Tirupati, while talking about his book “Make Hunger Free India” at the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation today. The event was organised to celebrate World Food Day, which falls on October 16.
In his book, he takes a holistic approach to food, covering scientific and spiritual aspects while also considering the social aspect to ensure that food is available for all. He emphasised that making India hunger-free is an achievable goal but requires collective social responsibility. Dr Rajagopal also pointed to how a lot of food goes waste and there is the need to end this consciously.
He spoke about how his organisation is involved in the distribution of food to the poor, to women and to the old, and it reflects his idea that food can be a source of creating peace. He notes the role of the youth especially students to eradicate hunger and has held many sensitisation programmes on reducing food wastage for them. “Students are the best fighters of hunger if motivated well,” he said and calls them ‘young hunger fighters’. He also called for establishing a ‘hunger fighters association’ in Chennai to address food wastage within the city.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof M S Swaminathan, Founder, MSSRF, praised Dr Rajagopal for being able to cover all aspects related to food in his book. Prof Swaminathan noted that there were four issues to deal with if we want a food-secure India, these include - addressing the calorific deficiency, protein hunger deficiency, micronutrients deficiency and lastly the problem of clean drinking water, sanitation and healthcare. He said, “We now have the opportunity to overcome this problem,” but insisted that only if the four issues are addressed simultaneously and in a decentralised manner can we achieve the goal of a food-secure India.
Dr G N Hariharan, Director, Biotechology, MSSRF and Mr M K Sudarshan, SHE, spoke on the occasion. Dr Hariharan spoke about food-based approaches to solve the malnutrition problem, including adopting a farming system for nutrition model and also through bio-fortified gardens. Mr Sudarshan, while praising the speaker for a thought provoking lecture said “the missing link here is water – without water there is no agriculture”, and to address this we need to solve the problems of water scarcity and accessibility in India.
( Ahead of World Food Day, Prof Swaminathan, centre, releases book on tackling hunger)