But it won’t address hunger and malnutrition, and protein and micronutrient deficiency: eminent agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan

The national Food Security Act marks an important first step in the fight to eliminate hunger in India, but much more remains to be done, eminent agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan has said.

Addressing the ninth edition of the Nutra India Summit organised by the International Society for Nutraceuticals, Nutritionals and Naturals, Prof. Swaminathan said on Wednesday that the provisions of the legislation enshrined access to food as a legal right, which was a very important step.

The implementation of the Act would address the problem of calorie deficiency among the Indian population, but not hunger and malnutrition, and protein and micronutrient deficiency, he observed.

Prof. Swaminathan, who later received the lifetime achievement award for work in the field of agriculture and nutrition, said South Asia remained an enigma because although the region had seen rapid economic growth in the last decade, 39 per cent of children suffered from stunted growth and malnutrition. Studies, he said, showed that malnutrition affected economic growth by about 8 per cent.

Dinesh Gundu Rao, Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, said while malnutrition continued to be a major problem among the poor, there was also the problem of “excesses” among the rich. Delegates from more than 15 countries are participating in the three-day conference.

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