Global Ministerial meet seeks policy convergence for better food security

Union Food Minister K.V. Thomas on Monday told the FAO Committee on World Food Security that India’s new food law would ensure equitable distribution of food grains to all sections.

“India’s new Act marks a paradigm shift from the welfare approach to a rights-based approach [to food security]. With recent trends in higher foodgrains production and sufficient public stocks of foodgrains, India is confident of implementing the Act successfully,” Mr. Thomas said at the inaugural session at the FAO headquarters in Rome. The law seeks to provide subsidised cereals to 67 per cent of the population.

Speaking a t the second ministerial meeting on international food prices, Mr. Thomas said India had removed restrictions on export of cereals — especially rice and wheat — in September 2011. By 2012-13, more than 10 million tonnes of rice and five million tonnes of wheat had been exported from India, which “helped many nations in meeting their foodgrains stock requirements”.

“The latest estimates signal there are nearly 30 million less hungry people in the world in 2013, compared to last year,” said FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva.

“And we continue to progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal hunger target of reducing by half the proportion of the undernourished population between 1990 and 2015. We are convinced that working together is the only way forward.”

During the weeklong session, two round-table meets will focus on bio-fuels and food security, and investment in smallholder agriculture for food security and nutrition. This will be followed by consultations and negotiations resulting in recommendations.

The roundtables were expected to be followed by consultations and negotiations to arrive at widely accepted policy recommendations on those issues.

The report, titled ‘The State of Food Insecurity in the World’, estimates that 842 million people globally suffered from chronic hunger in 2011-13. This figure is down from 868 million during 2010-12, and represents a decline of 17 per cent since 1990-92. About 75 per cent of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas and mainly depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, it said.

More In: National | News