FAO Chief for a second green revolution in India, protect poor

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New Delhi, Apr 9 (UNI) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Director General Jacques Diouf today made out a case for a second green revolution in India taking into account the new realities domestically and abroad.

"A second green revolution would help India to enhance production and productivity of various crops. But it will be in a different environment unlike the first," Mr Diouf told a newsconference here.

The world food scene is characterised by rising prices of agricultural commodities and domestically there is much bigger market economy at play.

Mr Diouf said India and China are among the fastest growing economies in the world and are thus generating tremendous demand for food products. There is also an urgent need to increase the income of the farmers and a green revolution would go a long way to meet this end.

The FAO Chief said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh understands these realities quite well. This was apparent to him during his meeting with the Premier some times back.

Mr Diouf said the Prime Minister had asked the FAO to conduct a study on the impact that India can make to global food production.

He said the FAO was in the process of conducting the study with the help of expert organisations in India, like the Swaminathan Foundation.

The event was also addressed by Director-General of UN Industrial Development Organisation Kandeh K Yumkella and President of International Fund for Agricultural Development Lennart Bage.

The leaders are here to participate in the 'Global Agro- Industries Forum 2008' from April eight to eleven.

The leaders called for urgent measures to ensure that short-term adverse effects of higher food prices do not impact even more alarmingly on the very poor.

"World food prices have risen 45 per cent in the last nine months and there are serious shortages of rice, wheat and maize. A ombination of factors, including reduced production due to climate change, historically low levels of stocks, higher consumption of meat and diary products in emerging economies, increased demand for biofuels production and the higher cost of energy and transportaion have led to surges in food prices," Mr Diouf said.

Mr Yomkella said climate change will impose great stress on the world's ability to feed ever growing population. This challenge brings new threats to arable land areas, live stock rearing and fisheries through droughts, water shortages and pollution of land, air and sea. "It is agriculture and livestock production that provide the raw materials that are basic to human existence, especially food," Mr Yumkella said.

Mr Bage called for immediate action to prevent the escalation of hunger and malnutrition facing developing countries in the wake of climate change and soaring food prices.

Mr Bage said current food prices and climate crisis pose dangers.

but they also offer opportunities for increased investment in agriculture and rural development."Our experience has shown that even the poorest farmers readily seize opportunities to build better and more secure lives for their families", he said.

Mr Diouf said it was essential to increase agricultural investment in water control and infrastructure and to facilitiate small farmer access to inputs, so that they can raise their prductivity. He also stressed upon the importance of effective marketing and processing systems for agricultural products.

UNI GS MP RN1842

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