ISB's BIPP hosts second food systems governance summit

The highlight of the event was the launch of the Food Systems Visualisation Engine (FSVE) which combines data from agriculture, rural development, nutrition

ISBs BIPP hosts second food systems governance summit

MOHALI: ISB’s Bharti Institute of Public Policy (BIPP) on Wednesday hosted the second edition of the Governance Summit on 'Food Systems: Balancing Equity and Sustainability'.

The one-day Summit brought together over 120 delegates representing policymakers, industry experts, thought leaders from the corporate sector, non-profit organisations, academia, and research institutions, focusing on fostering meaningful dialogue and sharing ideas on the critical issues and emerging trends shaping the future of food systems.

Speaking at the inaugural plenary on ‘Agriculture - Sustainability and Equity’, Mr K A P Sinha, IAS, Special Chief Secretary, Agriculture, Government of Punjab, said, “Equity and Sustainability are the two most important needs of a just society. Incidentally, policymakers, governments are always trying to balance the two. What makes this even more challenging is often when individual interest envelops the general interest of society.

The highlight of the event was the launch of the Food Systems Visualisation Engine (FSVE) which combines data from agriculture, rural development, nutrition, public distribution systems, livelihood programmes, and other related aspects to serve as a collaborative decision-making tool, for users from across domains. The Engine addresses the lack of visibility in food systems, allowing data to be used intuitively by all stakeholders.

Professor Ashwini Chhatre, Executive Director, Bharti Institute of Public Policy said, “We believe that while India is self-sufficient in food production, self-sufficient in calories, it is not self-sufficient in nutrition. Our nutritional status is abysmal. There is a lack of nutrients such as protein, iron, calcium, etc., in our foods due to regional disparities. Food is much more than a mechanism to reduce hunger. We must fill the large nutrition gap that exists in India, especially among children and women of the economically weaker sections of society. We need to find market actors who can make profits on a sufficiently small scale that requires us to use technology intelligently so we can support the poor. What we need is cultural and behavioural change”.

Highlighting the complex interplay of factors affecting sustainable agriculture and nutrition, including incentives, behavioral economics, and health systems, Ms. Arti Ahuja, IAS (Retd), Former Secretary, Government of India advocated aligning farmers' and consumers' incentives. She emphasised the need to adopt a multifaceted approach, including nutrition-sensitive and nutrition-specific interventions, as the way forward for achieving equity and sustainability in food systems.

Dr Karan Avtar Singh, IAS (Retd), Chairperson, Punjab Water Regulation and Development Authority, Government of Punjab, discussed the history of Indian nutrition, including the Great Indian Hedge and its relation to malnutrition. He addressed food security challenges and the need for a green food revolution.

Earlier, Dr Aarushi Jain, Policy Director, Bharti Institute of Public Policy, welcomed all the delegates and the participants of the Advanced Management Programme in Public Policy, who are currently in their final residency at the ISB Mohali campus.

Two-panel discussions, Sustainable Harvests: Advancing Climate Smart Agriculture in India and Agriculture-Nutrition Convergence, were also held during the Summit.

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