Agricultural pathway of overcoming malnutrition: Prof M S Swaminathan
Chennai, March 14, 2016: A recent article in Down to Earth (1-15 March 2016) has described the serious malnutrition prevailing in several parts of Maharashtra, particularly Amaravati district. The author Shri Jitendra has quoted Ashish Satav, Founder of Mahan Trust, who said “Our study shows a tribal family consumes less than 50 g of vegetables per day, when an individual needs around 200 g of vegetables”. This emphasises the urgency of mainstreaming nutrition in farming systems by a procedure which I have termed Farming System for Nutrition (FSN). What is now needed is the introduction of FSN approach wherever the malnutrition problem can be solved through locally grown biofortified plants. FSN has three components; first, introduce crops which can address the malnutrition problem prevailing in an area. Second, establish a Genetic Garden of Biofortified Plants which will introduce the local community to agricultural remedies for the nutritional maladies of the area. Finally, train at least one woman and one male member of each Panchayat as Community Hunger Fighters who are knowledgeable of the malnutrition problem and of local farm level solutions. This will be the most economical and speedy method of achieving a malnutrition free Amaravati as well as other districts with a high malnutrition burden.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.