Sustainable Food Production Warrants Global Scientific Collaborations
Joint India-UK meet on “Sustaining Food Production under Environmental Stress"
Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; Minister of State PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh has called for greater collaboration between India and the United Kingdom on issues of mutual concern.
Addressing a joint India-UK meet on “Sustaining Food Production under Environmental Stress” through virtual mode, he said, India and UK must invite global collaborations in various dimensions of science like agriculture, food, pharma, engineering, and defence.
The Workshop was organised jointly by the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI), Mohali, an institute under the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, and the University of Birmingham, UK, and supported by Newton Bhabha Fund and British Council.
A major aim of the Indian Government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been to help farmers feed India and the world better. India’s efforts to safeguard the food security needs of every citizen in the country have been unprecedented as Prime Minister Modi ensured that no person went hungry during the pandemic. The policies have been framed to protect the interests of small and marginal farmers, and conserve local food cultures which in turn will significantly contribute to food security, the Minister added.
The India-UK collaboration, he suggested, may include programmes like student exchange, basic research, technology development, product development as well as product/process demonstration and their implementation.
He noted that the COVID pandemic demonstrated that science is a key tool to find solutions whenever humanity faces difficulties and pointed out that Indian science has proved the capability to produce vaccines for such a high risk/ devastating disease within a very limited time.
Dwelling on the issue of sustainable food production, Dr Jitendra Singh recalled that the South Asian region is facing a problem of shrinking arable land, besides global climate change and underlined the need for global pattern of food production and distribution to shift significantly. He called for joint funding to develop a coherent and stakeholder-relevant R&D program that will address this challenge.