Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH) submits a paper titled “Dryland Food Systems in Telangana” at aPre-Summit event for the United Nations Food Systems Summit
Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH) is submitting a paper titled “Dryland Food Systems in Telangana” at a pre-summit event held between 26-28July 2021 in Rome, which is a part of 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit . The paper aims to highlight some of the challenges faced by farmers in the dryland agricultural ecosystem of India and has been published in partnership with The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
This Pre-Summit event is a lead-up to the United Nations Food Systems Summit to be held later, in September 2021. The event is being held as a part of the “Decade of Action” to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The Summit will launch bold new actions to deliver progress on all 17 SDGs, each of which relies on healthier, more sustainable, and equitable food systems to some extent.
As part of trying to address the issues faced by dryland agricultural systems, RICH had convened an online dialogue on 16 July 2021 involving a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including Government representatives (state and Central), researchers, civil society organizations, members of the agriculture industry and farmers. The deliberations of the dialogue have been analyzed and distilled into the paper being presented the UN Pre-Summit. Some of the key participants included Shri. Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Govt. of Telangana; Dr. Jacqueline d’Arros Hughes, Director General, ICRISAT; and Ajit Rangnekar, Director General, RICH .
As mentioned by Shri Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Government of Telangana in his opening address, “Dryland food systems have sustained our economy, food habits and farming ecosystem for generations. However, because of some reasons which can perhaps be corrected with proper understanding and guidance, there is no reason to believe why we cannot revive crops like millets, pulses etc. that are predominantly grown into dryland areas, into a very rich and thriving agriculture and economic ecosystem.
I am very glad that all of us are involved in these deliberations today. I do look forward to looking at the recommendations and suggestions. Once we are able to sense that this is the possibility, we really work in a very collaborative manner. Lots of start-ups brought in the ecosystem, academic and research institutions, agriculture dept. industry dept. food processing dept. I am very sure that the outcome of today’s work will lead us to that path.”
Bhubesh Kumar, Director, Food and Agriculture, RICH echoed Shri Ranjan in his remarks “Dry lands contribute 42% of the total food grain production of India. Out of the 97 million farm holdings in India, about 76% come under dry land farming. Dryland farmers suffer from low yields and crop losses due to poor resilience to climate change, which has drastically affected this food system in the region. If India has to meet its target of SDG No. 2, i.e. Zero Hunger, we need to come together and address these challenges on a war footing. In this regard, we at RICH are hosting this independent online development dialogue for the Pre-Summit dialogue for the UN Food System Summit, so that we can collaborate with nutrition specialists and agriculture experts across the globe and develop viable solutions that can help the marginal farmers of India.”
The pre-summitevent will provide a common platform to youth, farmers, indigenous peoples, civil society, researchers, private sector, policy leaders and ministers of agriculture, environment, health, nutrition and finance, among others. It aims to deliver the most recent evidence-based and scientific approaches to food system transformation from across the globe, launch a set of new commitments through coalitions of action and mobilize new financing and partnerships.
This spirit of collaboration was echoed by Dr. Jacqueline d’Arros Hughes, Director, ICRISAT, who remarked “Extreme poverty and hunger are predominantly rural, although we know we have a lot of hunger, poverty in the urban areas too. The small holder farmers, their families and their communities make up a very significant proportion of the poor and hungry. So eradicating poverty and hunger is integrally linked with boosting food production, agriculture productivity and rural incomes. We need sustainable changes to increase agriculture production. We need to improve our global supply chain and value web. We need to decrease food losses and waste, and to ensure that healthy and nutritious food is available and affordable for all.
We need to diversify our agricultural systems to minimize risk and to help sustain productivity. To transform our food systems requires bridging yield gaps i.e. what the crop could or should yield as opposed to what it currently does. We need to fix those long and inefficient supply chains where the profits accrue to middlemen. We need to curb those greenhouse gas emissions. If we can shift and diversify diets, it could certainly eliminate under nutrition, over-nourishment as well as the hidden hunger of micro-nutrients malnutrition.”
The spirited sessions led to some key insights being drawn from the inputs provided by the diverse set of stakeholders. The insights ranged from preserving and promoting grassroots level knowledge and importance of creating village level seed banks, to incorporation of advanced technologies like AI that can help leverage data lakes into a data driven policy making. The stakeholders also underlined the importance of interdisciplinary research for better implementation and sustainability as well as use of adaptive technologies to address yield gaps and impact of climate change.
The full paper can be viewed at https://summitdialogues.org/dialogue/31516/
Summing up, Rashmi Pimpale, CEO RICH, said “The objective of the Hyderabad Cluster, is to help foster research and innovation across industry sectors, to help research break out of its silos so that it can be used where it delivers the best outcomes. Which is why, with this Pre-Summit Dialogue we have brought together a diverse set of stakeholders, from Government representatives to Civil Society Organizations, from researchers to farmers, from academics to industry partners. We hope that this dialogue will help drive much needed discussion and collaboration that will address at least a small part of the challenge of Global Hunger. We hope that this rainbow coalition will help Hyderabad live up to its title of being the Seed Bowl of India.”
RICH’s endeavor to put a spotlight on the importance and current plight of dryland food systems at this global platform will help create broad community dialogue, inspire collaborative change, and helpbuild a better future – one that is bright, safe, and sustainable for both India and the world.
Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH) is an initiative jointly spearheaded by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India and the Government of Telangana. RICH has been entrusted with the unique responsibility of bringing ideas and research outcomes into the real world through co-operation and scientific approach. RICH aims to be a partner-of-choice for start-ups, researchers, and industry to nurture viable solutions for generating wealth, employment & societal good in the sectors of Food and Agriculture, Life SciencesandPharma and Aerospace and Defence.
The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is an international non-profit, non-political organization that undertakes scientific research for development. Founded in 1972 and headquartered in Patancheru, Telangana, ICRISAT conducts partnership-based international agricultural research primarily for rural development. ICRISAT envisions prosperous, food-secure and resilient dryland tropics. To achieve this, its mission is to reduce poverty, hunger, malnutrition, and environmental degradation in the dryland tropics.