India releases commemorative coin to mark 75th anniversary of Food and Agriculture Organization
On October 16, 2020, PM Modi will release a commemorative coin of Rs 75 denomination to mark the 75th anniversary of United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The Prime Minister will also dedicate 17 bio-fortified varieties of eight crops.
The launch of commemorative coin will mark the highest priority given by the Government of India to agriculture and nutrition.
Bio-fortified food varieties
The seventeen bio-fortified varieties developed will increase the nutritional value. India aims to transform Indian thali into nutria-thali through these bio-fortified crops. These bio-fortified crops are to be linked to government programmes such as mid-day meal, Nutri-sensitive Agricultural Resources and Innovations (NARI) and Anganwadis. It aims to make India Kuposhan Mukt. Also, the biofortified crops will help to achieve National Nutritional Strategy. Kuposhan Mukt means free from malnutrition.
National Nutritional Strategy
It is committed to ensure that every adolescent girl, child and woman obtains optimal nutritional status, especially to those from most vulnerable communities. The target is to achieve one-third reduction in anemia in children, women of reproductive age and adolescent age.
The NARI was started by Indian Council of Agricultural Research to promote family farming linked agriculture.
Malnutrition in India
The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that there are 194.4 million people in India that are undernourished. India ranks 102 out of 117 in Global Hunger Index 2019.
Need to focus on biofortified crops
Indian Council of Medical Research says that malnutrition is the predominant risk factor in children younger than five. The Global Burden of Disease study, 2017 says that malnutrition is the leading cause of death and disability in India.
Reasons for Malnutrition in India
The malnutrition in India prevails mainly because of monoculture agricultural practices. Though the food grain production has increased over 5 times since independence it has not addressed the malnutrition issues in the country. This in turn has led to low power consumption and production of indigenous traditional crops, vegetables and fruits impacting the nutrition of the country.
The food consumption patterns in India have changed substantially in the past few decades. Poverty lack of sanitation and clean drinking water or other reasons that has led to malnutrition in the country. Poor sanitation has increased the vulnerability to water borne diseases.