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Dialogue on Food Systems Approach helping identify scalable actions towards building convergence strengthening food systems in India
Friday, 17 September, 2021, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
Dr Martin Frick Deputy to Special Envoy of the UN secretary-general for the 2021 Food Systems Summit, said, “UN Food Systems Summit 2021 has been catalytic in transitioning discussion on food to a holistic food systems approach. Initiatives like the Green Climate Fund will support the upcoming coalitions to work on the actions identified towards the 2030 agenda.”

He was speaking at the special session of the CII Pre Event in support of UNFSS. The summit was organised with the objective of identifying key actions towards scaling efforts towards improving the food systems in India leveraging a multi stakeholder collaborative framework. Focus was on the Action Tracks of ‘Boosting nature positive production and climate resilience’, ‘Advancing equitable livelihoods’ and ‘Scaling sustainable consumption’.

Addressing the session on ‘Scaling sustainable consumption’, Pushpa Subrahmanyam, secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India, highlighted the initiatives taken by MoFPI for strengthening the local value chains and mentioned that “PMFME scheme supports the shift to Sustainable Consumption Patterns utilising local products and offering healthier choices to consumers.”

The session focussed on increasing access to nutritious food; technologies towards reducing food loss; future trends of consumption and means to maintain sustainability for the same including focusing on local sourcing market models; as well as actions to reduce food wastage towards optimising consumption. Speaking at the session.

India is also running the world's largest food-based safety net programmes. As India looks towards 2030 and beyond, these efforts need to be scaled with a right mix of investment and income driven policies. 

Speaking about Government initiatives on ensuring food security for the country, and its alignment with the SDG of Zero Hunger, Sudhanshu Pandey, secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Government of India mentioned that “Delivering nutrition and supporting diet diversity are important aspects being integrated with our food security efforts at DFPD.” He also highlighted the Departments efforts taken towards reducing food losses especially around food grains.

The emerging public private partnerships need to be scaled to build efficient and inclusive value chains, giving due importance to environmental sustainability. Also, more innovative technologies would be needed to ‘produce more from less’ with a goal to feed the most populous nation on this planet by 2030 in a sustainable manner. As India looks towards 2030 and beyond, these efforts need to be scaled with a right mix of investment and income driven policies. 

Addressing this Pawan Aggarwal, former CEO, FSSAI and former secretary, Government of India and co-chair of the Working Group for Food Safety, UNFSS 2021 mentioned that, “The framework for scaling sustainable consumption has to look at creating the right balance between health, taste and affordability,” while adding that each of the SDGs relies to some degree on healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems.

While sharing the framework for sustainable consumption, Ajay Vir Jakhar, UNFSS Action Track 2 vice chair and chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj, mentioned that, “Farmers produce what markets demand and therefore sustainable change in consumption patterns can occur by nudging consumers towards healthier food choices.”

Speaking on role of agriculture under the food systems approach, Sanjiv Puri, chairman, CII National Council on Agriculture and CMD, ITC LTD highlighted that, “Farmer aggregation through FPOs, focus on climate resilience, demand responsive value chains and digitalisation are the key levers to fast track food systems transformation.”

Speaking on the role of food processing towards meeting the SDG’s Suresh Narayanan, chairman, CII National Committee on Food Processing industries highlighted that, “A simple 10 percent reduction in food losses and a change to diets by including use of more fresh and local foods would help reduce overall demands for energy, water, and land.”

The session also saw a vibrant panel discussion. The panellists, P Ravichandran, chairman, CII Task Force on Post-Harvest and Logistics and president, Danfoss India, Pankaj Mehta, co-chairman, CII Task Force on Post-Harvest and Logistics and managing director, Carrier Transicold India and South Asia, Arabind Das, co-chairman, CII National Committee on Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and chairman and managing director, NutriWizGlobal Food Advisory Services Pvt Ltd., Varun Deshpande, CEO, Good Food Institute, and Meeta Sharma, senior manager, Feeding India; provided solutions across the spectrum to achieve Sustainable Consumption Patterns focusing on carbon neutrality, reverse logistics, solar and Renewable Energy in cold chain logistics, smart protein diversity and redistribution of surplus food.

The session was part of a 2-day National Dialogue organised by CII on Actions towards strengthening Food Systems in India, aligned with the UN Food Systems Summit 2021. The multi stakeholder National Dialogue focused on scaling actions towards feeding the most populous nation on this planet by 2030 in a sustainable manner.  
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