Prioritizing Food Security in India’s G20 Presidency while celebrating the International Year of Millet. | The Financial Express

Prioritizing Food Security in India’s G20 Presidency while celebrating the International Year of Millet

Taking over India’s presidency of the G20 offers a unique opportunity to champion the cause and create a success story around resilient and equitable food systems.

Prioritizing Food Security in India’s G20 Presidency while celebrating the International Year of Millet

By Dr. Sreshtha Chakraborty

Food security has been deliberated upon as one of the priority agendas of the G20 summit hosted by India. India has begun its year-long presidency of the Group of 20 this week. Taking over India’s presidency of the G20 offers a unique opportunity to champion the cause and create a success story around resilient and equitable food systems. India’s presidency is coming at a time when the world’s most powerful leaders are divided due to the escalation of global tension. The world is still recovering from the fragility of the food supply chain exposed by the outbreak of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The ten months-long Ukraine-Russia war further added to the food supply crisis. The Indian Presidency is coming at a time when it is playing its part in “healing, hope, and harmony” by promoting a human-centric vision of “One Earth, One Family, and One Future”.

The Indian city of Lakes, Udaipur, has geared up for the most awaited moment of G20 for India. The selection of Udaipur as the first city to host all the sherpas of 20 countries to showcase India’s Royal is carefully curated to depict Indian culture. The first Sherpa Track meeting is starting on 4 December with the assurance of coming up with a joint agreement. It is a moment of pride for India to lead the most influential multilateral forum of the world’s richest and most powerful countries. India’s G20 agenda is crucial as it reflects the voice of the Global South, which has been under-recognized for a long time in the global decision-making process. It has also happened for the first time in the history of the multilateral forum that a leadership Troika consists of developing countries, with Indonesia as the past president and Brazil as the upcoming president. The host country usually works with its predecessor and successor to maintain the continuity of the agenda. The Malta declaration of G20 charted out the blueprint to address the issues related to Global hunger. It recognized that poverty alleviation, food security, and sustainable food systems are vital to ending hunger. The Indian presidency gives a historic opportunity to address the growing challenges of food security and promote cultivation as a solution to the climate crisis. It also coincides with the UN General Assembly’s declaration in March 2021 to make 2023 the “International Year of Millet”. Millets, popularly called “Nutri-cereals”, include pearl millet, finger millet, fonio, foxtail millet, and others mainly grown in the dry region of Asia and Africa. More than 90 million people in the African and Asia subcontinent consume millet as their dietary requirement due to its affordability and easy availability. Africa contributes about 55 percent, and Asia accounts for 40 percent respectively of the global millet production in the world market. India is a leading producer of millet in the world, and millet once was the country’s staple food in the central, southern, and hilly regions of India until wheat and rice replaced it in the 1940s and 1950s. A few years ago, there came a resurgence in the demand for this millet as the trend surged for healthy eating habits. Since the need for these millets has increased substantially, there is a vast scope to link this local produce from developing countries to global markets. India’s total estimated share in the global production of millet is 41 percent and has recorded 27 percent growth in millet production in 2021-2022 as compared to the previous year. India’s top millet-producing states are Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh. It is too early, however, to predict how inclusive and widespread this process will turn out to be; however, it holds enormous potential. Millet-Smart Nutritive Food Conclave organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority will hold its pre-launch event for the “International Year of Millets -2023” starting 5December in New Delhi.

India’s presidency can be a watershed moment for the country’s rise as an international leader and Asia’s voice to counter the critical global food challenges. It also opens a new chapter for India to promote its food diplomacy and leverage its traditional items like Kala Namak Rice of Uttar Pradesh, Foxnut of Madhubani, Malbhog Banana of Hajipur, and many such nutritious foods.

India is about to host over 200 meetings across the Indian cities beginning 4 December 2022 and will host the head of State at G20 Leaders Summit on September 9-10, 2023, in New Delhi. Since the G20 will be organized from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, the promotion of Indian local living and the popular participation of people including women and students can benefit the Indian government. The University Grant Commission recently organized “University Connect” to familiarize the student with the benefits of India’s G20 presidency. Meanwhile, the First sherpa meeting sets the tone and agenda for future meetings, India gets the opportunity to showcase its rich cultural heritage and unique experiences.

Author holds a Ph.D. in International Studies from School of International Studies , Jawaharlal Nehru University and presently working as Assistant Professor at Manav Rachna International Institute of Research and Studies.

Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position of the author’s institution or policy of Financial Express Online. Reproducing this content without permission is prohibited.

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First published on: 05-12-2022 at 01:55:53 pm
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