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Business News/ Industry / Agriculture/  Sustainable agri-boost vital amid climate, food price concerns: Niti Aayog's Ramesh Chand
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Sustainable agri-boost vital amid climate, food price concerns: Niti Aayog's Ramesh Chand

Public-private partnerships crucial for sustainable agricultural growth

Agriculture is not only affected by but also contributes to it. (File Photo: HT)Premium
Agriculture is not only affected by but also contributes to it. (File Photo: HT)

New Delhi: Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand on Thursday emphasized the importance of cost-effective increases in agricultural productivity in line with actual production costs.

Despite doubling of per capita food production over the last 70 years, malnutrition has spiked in recent times, especially in the last eight years, largely attributed to soaring food prices. In tandem with a roughly 1% yearly population growth in recent decades, food production in India surged to 1.8 kg per person daily, up from 1.2 kg in 1970.

“In the coming two and half decades India’s population growth is estimated at 0.8% and the required rate to meet the domestic food demand in the future will be two-thirds of the past rate. In view of our land productivity having grown at 2.75% in the past few decades, in future if productivity grows at 2% annually, we will have no issue achieving our domestic demand. However, there are concerns over agricultural productivity due to the changing environment and climate, over-exploitation of natural resources, and most importantly, rising agricultural commodities prices causing malnutrition," Chand said at an an event.

Though advances in science and technology have successfully mitigated some climate change impacts, Chand warned of reaching a threshold beyond which adaptation becomes infeasible. He stressed the urgent need to tackle climate change for the long-term survival of both humanity and the planet.

Highlighting the intertwined relationship between agriculture and climate change, Chand indicated that agriculture is not only affected by but also contributes to it. The sector accounts for approximately 11% of global emissions. He urged the private sector to recognize these implications and strategize for an annual agricultural productivity growth rate of 2% to meet domestic demands.

Chand pointed out the importance of sustainability as natural resources have been over-exploited. He proposed prioritizing output growth over input growth as a solution.

Although there has been significant growth in per capita food production, Chand voiced concerns about potentially missing the zero-hunger target by 2030. Rising food prices have been cited as a significant factor behind increasing global hunger rates since 2015, especially in regions like Africa, Latin America, and South Asia, including India.

Highlighting the surge in food prices, Chand said that over the past two decades, agricultural prices have risen by 26% more than other goods. This, combined with rising food prices and environmental concerns, places India's agricultural productivity under scrutiny. Chand advocated for boosting productivity growth beyond 2% annually, ensuring it's cost-effective and sustainable.

Chand emphasized the role the private sector can play in precision farming using cutting-edge technologies. He underscored the the value of public-private partnerships for sustainable agricultural growth, noting the private sector's potential to offer advisory services and technological support.

He also highlighted the prominence of small-scale farmers in India and challenges related to data privacy, market structures, and scalability in the agricultural sector.


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Puja Das
Puja Das is a New Delhi based policy reporter covering food, farm, fertiliser, water, and climate policies for Mint. Puja reports on farmers' distress and how the agriculture sector is impacting India's rural economy and policy initiatives to help meet the pledges made at COP27. Puja holds a post-graduation degree in Broadcast Journalism from the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bangalore.
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Updated: 26 Oct 2023, 06:14 PM IST
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