Tamil Nadu

Focus on pulses production can help overcome malnutrition: Swaminathan

Agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan handing over the first copy of the 26th annual report of MSSRF to N. Ram, Chairman, Kasturi and Sons Ltd at the MSSRF Foundation Day in Chennai. Photo: M. Vedhan

Agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan handing over the first copy of the 26th annual report of MSSRF to N. Ram, Chairman, Kasturi and Sons Ltd at the MSSRF Foundation Day in Chennai. Photo: M. Vedhan   | Photo Credit: Photo: M. Vedhan

A combination of scientific skill, political will and farmer’s participation in pulses production can help achieve Zero Hunger, said agriculture scientist M. S. Swaminathan at the inauguration of the consultation on Pulses for Addressing Food and Nutrition Security at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) here on Sunday.

The Zero Hunger challenge was launched by the United Nations in 2012.

Addressing experts during the inauguration of the consultation, he said there were three kinds of hunger that needed to be dealt with – calorie inadequacy, protein deficiency and micronutrient deficiency. There was a need for India to look at enlarging the food basket and include millets in the public distribution system, Mr. Swaminathan said.

The three-day consultation brings together farmers and experts and will discuss ways and means to increase production of pulses. India currently depends on exports to fill the gap of around seven million tonnes in pulses annually.

N. Ram, Chairman, Kasturi and Sons Limited, said the ability of Mr. Swaminathan to understand India’s agricultural systems while keeping the global picture in mind was unmatched.

David Bergvinson, Director-General, International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, stressed on the importance of a farmer-lead approach for a malnutrition-free India.

Publications on Family Farming, Pulses, Malnutrition-Free India and MSSRF’s annual report were released on the occasion. The publication on pulses captures the situation in India with regard to its production and shares the work done on the field.

Genetic garden soon

A Genetic Garden for biofortified plants/crops will soon be established by MSSRF and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. It will contain the germplasm of naturally biofortified crops as well as through plant breeding.

The garden, to come up initially on one acre of land provided by the University at Thirurkuppam near Avadi, will also serve as a centre for conservation and education.

It would have plants and crops that help supplement micronutrient deficiencies, including iron, iodine, vitamin A, folate, zinc and selenium. The garden would be a place where the public can visit and learn about the advantages of the plants in bringing down nutritional deficiencies.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2020 1:59:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/Focus-on-pulses-production-can-help-overcome-malnutrition-Swaminathan/article14558429.ece

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