The United Nations Agricultural Development Fund praised India's renewed interest in millet and its export of 1.8 million tons of wheat to 18 countries facing severe food shortages following last year's war in Ukraine.
India's G20 Presidency Could 'Change' the Global Food System
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations, has been focusing on funding projects in poor and vulnerable countries to help them fight poverty, hunger and food insecurity.
Alvaro Lario, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said India can support agriculture and rural development in other countries of the South. "We also appreciate the fact that India exported 1.8 million tons of wheat last year to 18 countries facing severe shortages following the war in Ukraine," he said.
India has also shown thoughtful leadership in South-South cooperation," he said. For example, I greatly appreciate India's focus on reviving millet." "We have seen that millet is an important crop for farmers to adapt to climate change because they are drought resistant and can ensure nutrition in some of the poorest and most remote areas of the world."
"India's G20 presidency has the potential to change the food system. The food system includes all aspects of providing food and nutrition to people: growing, harvesting, packaging, processing, transporting, marketing and consuming food," he said.
Food crisis in African countries - the aftermath of the war in Ukraine
"The core of food systems has been shaken over the past few years - cumulative shocks have reversed years of progress and exposed their weaknesses," he added.
The COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and climate change have severely impacted global food security, triggering a food crisis in African countries.
India has been strongly pointing out the impact of the conflict in Ukraine on food, energy and fertilizers, consequences that have affected the global South or developing countries. "The war in Ukraine has led to a humanitarian crisis. It has led to an increase in global food and fuel prices, which in turn has affected the world's most vulnerable people." "In addition to limiting the availability of grains, it has limited access to affordable energy and fertilizer. It's disastrous for the ability of small farmers - who grow at least a third of the world's food - to continue to produce food and also their ability to access markets."
Ukraine has been a major global supplier of wheat, and supplies have been hit hard by the global food crisis caused by Russia's invasion of the country.
The "ripple effect" of the war in Ukraine, coupled with other ongoing crises, is a reminder of the need to invest heavily in medium- and long-term development to avoid another similar "costly crisis," Lario said.
"The key areas of food system transformation identified by India's G20 presidency - ensuring global food security and nutrition; promoting climate-smart agriculture; building inclusive and pro-poor value chains; and using digital technologies to create smart solutions - are the same IFAD focus. -are the same areas of focus for IFAD," he said.
India becomes a role model for many countries
Lario also praised the overall success of India's transformation from a food-deficit country to a food-surplus country.
"India has long been a key partner of IFAD - it is a founding member, our largest borrower, and one of our top 15 donors. India has made impressive progress, moving from a food-deficit country to a food-surplus country and can clearly set an example for countries facing similar problems," he said.
At the invitation of New Delhi, IFAD supports India in strengthening its focus and sharing its experience in local production systems and in building markets and resilience, the IFAD President said.
The need for food system transformation
"It is estimated that we need between $300 billion and $350 billion per year to transform food systems. That's less than 3 percent of the money wasted each year due to inefficiencies in the current global food system," said Lario.
"It's less than 0.5 percent of global GDP. IFAD's expertise and long-term partnerships with governments can help make public investments more efficient and food systems more attractive to private investors," he said.
Slammed the "distortions" in the implementation process of climate change and other natural disasters.
"We need climate finance to reduce emissions and help economies adapt to change. The current pace of action is not sufficient to meet global commitments under the Paris Agreement. "Between 2017 and 2018, small-scale producers received only $10 billion, or 1.7 percent of climate finance." He added.
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