Renowned agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan has called for ensuring the sustainability of agriculture, while promoting indigenous varieties of food grains.

He lauded the provisions of the Food Security Act, which acknowledges the right to food. He said tribal people and the rural folk are a treasure house of wisdom when it came to traditional methods of cultivation.

He spoke of the relevance of crops such as pokkali rice.

The 2004 tsunami showed how mangroves could be an effective bio-shield and speed breaker against calamities and the rising sea level, he said, while delivering the Eleventh Cardinal Joseph Parecattil Commemorative Lecture on ‘Rio+20: Green economy with inclusive growth’, at the Bharata Matha College here on Monday.

Dr. Swaminathan also spoke of the need to contain the price volatility of food grains, though timely changes in the government’s policies. Everyone in the world must have sufficient food.

The cultivation of millets and similar crops which are nutrient rich too is important, he said.

He spoke of the importance of providing drinking water to all, the relevance of sanitation and the role played by community-level watershed development. Union Minister of State for Food and Consumer Affairs K. V. Thomas spoke of how India used to import food grains since Independence. The country is in a position now to export food grains, he said.

The Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly Rev Sebastian Adayanthrath too spoke. Rio+20 is a short name for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this month. It is an opportunity to define pathways to a safer, cleaner, greener and more prosperous world.

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