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Building Resilience Towards a Sustainable and Secure Future

Context:

The G20 acknowledges the worldwide importance of malnutrition and its repercussions for public health and societal welfare. Climate change is an undeniable reality, posing a substantial threat to our entire civilization. The escalating climate emergency, the rapid deterioration of soil quality, the depletion of aquifers, the loss of agricultural biodiversity, and the highly unstable nature of markets have led to concerns about the feasibility of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially considering that only seven annual harvests are left until 2030.

Relevance:

GS2-Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s Interests

GS3-Environmental pollution and degradation

Mains Question:

India has significantly used the G20 platform to further its goals of sustainable agriculture that can generate food security in the country. Critically comment. (15 marks, 250 words).

IssuesStatusInitiatives
Anthropogenic climate changeIt has slowed down global agricultural productivity by 21% in the last 50 years.

Climate change is driven primarily by human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, industrial processes, and agricultural activities.

Agriculture is in the midst of numerous global challenges, including food security, environmental sustainability, and climate change mitigation.

Agriculture is both vulnerable to and a contributor to climate change. For addressing global agricultural challenges such as meeting the food and nutritional demands of the growing population, climate change, water scarcity, and low agricultural productivity, a shared vision leading to collective action by the global community is crucial.
In this respect, the Agricultural Working Group (AWG) of the G20 under India’s presidency has taken some futuristic and innovative initiatives.


Food and Nutritional SecurityMillets which are increasingly being acknowledged as ‘nutri-cereals’ have many health benefits and are also climate-resilient crops that can be grown in low rainfall, low soil fertility conditions, requiring low inputs, and have comparatively low water and carbon footprints compared to many cereals.The declaration of the Year 2023 as the International Year of Millets.

India’s distinctive G20 endeavor, known as MAHARISHI (Millets and Other Ancient Grains International Research Initiative), will play a pivotal role in driving progress in various domains. This initiative, operating through its Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS) and Agricultural Working Group, will significantly contribute to advancements in technology, climate adaptation, inclusive policymaking, global partnerships, capacity development, and the promotion of mutual learning among Southern nations.

The primary objectives of the MAHARISHI initiative and the ‘Shree Anna’ millet campaign are to encourage the cultivation and consumption of millets. Millets, known for their nutrient density, drought tolerance, and resilience, are at the forefront of this effort.

Under the G20’s MAHARISHI initiative, there is a strong emphasis on strengthening collaborations with international organizations like the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). Together, they are committed to combatting malnutrition through scientific research. This research encompasses activities aimed at improving crop varieties to enhance productivity, nutritional value, and resilience. Moreover, the initiative prioritizes the promotion of sustainable agricultural practices, the advancement of digital agriculture, capacity building, and advocacy for policy reforms.

Conclusion:

The G20, as a forum representing major economies, acknowledges the global significance of malnutrition and its far-reaching consequences on public health, economic progress, and social welfare. By collaborating with esteemed international organizations such as ICRISAT, the G20 can harness scientific expertise and innovative solutions to effectively combat malnutrition.

Efforts must be intensified to support agricultural communities in adapting to the challenges posed by shifting climate conditions. This entails promoting the cultivation of drought-resistant crops, implementing advanced techniques for soil and water management, and adopting low-input technologies. Sustainable practices like crop rotation, agroforestry, and organic farming should be actively promoted, as they not only benefit the environment but also make economic sense. These practices play a pivotal role in mitigating soil degradation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


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