Science for Nutrition Security: Prof M S Swaminathan
Chennai, January, 07, 2017: At the 104th Indian Science Congress being held at the Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, the topic of science and technology for food and nutrition security was discussed on 6th January 2017. Chairing this discussion, I made the following points.
We need to shift our attention from food to nutrition security with particular emphasis on the elimination of hidden hunger caused by micronutrient deficiencies.
If agriculture goes wrong, nothing else will have a chance to go right in our country. We need to produce more and more food from less and less availability of arable land and irrigation water. Fortunately, there is a large untapped production reservoir, due to a gap between to potential and actual yields. We should harness this untapped potential through an integration of scientific skill, political action and farmers’ enthusiasm.
The Indian Science Congress should promote the establishment of genetic gardens of biofortified plants in all the Universities as a tool for education, conservation and overcoming hidden hunger.
The monsoon and the market are two major determinants of a farmer’s wellbeing. Scientists should give more attention to monsoon management and to the marketing opportunities for farmers.
There should be more research on doomsday predictions as was done during 1960s. Scientists should help in falsifying doomsday predictions in the areas of, food production and malnutrition.
Both the government and the scientific institutions should pay overriding attention to ending malnutrition and to providing every child, woman and man an opportunity for a productive and healthy life. This needs the integration of agriculture, nutrition and health.
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.