NewZNew (Chandigarh) :
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) meeting on Agriculture on its second day held a brainstorming session on impending food crisis of the world due to explosion of population and finalised a blueprint to enhance agriculture production by atleast 50% by the year 2030 on the same area of land. The meet also raised concern over high water consuming crops after the advent of green revolution and asked the scientists to come out with the strains of low water consuming, heat-resistant high-production crops.
The second day of meet moved with the focussed approach to discus global agricultural situation, challenges and ways and means to tackle the impending food crisis.
Giving a detailed presentation, Prof Guy Poulter of Natural Resource Institute of University of Greenwich (UK) outlined a grim scenario and said that it was matter of great concern that over 1.2 billion people on the world live on less than one dollar a day. He said that with the population growth projected from 6-9 billion by the year 2050 and Asia’s population growth from 4.4-5.2 billion, the world would have to produce 50% more food and energy on same area of land by 2030. Projecting a dismal scenario on availability of fresh water and energy, Prof Poulter said that currently agriculture sector was using 70% of fresh water supply and this projected increase in production with the same type of seeds would require 30% more fresh water triggering a water crisis in the world. He said that we should learn a lesson from the pitfalls of green revolution and focus on low water consuming heat resistant and high yielding crops.
Describing Asia as future agriculture growth engine of the world, Prof Poulter said that Asia’s economic rise after 60s has been momentous and with increasing prosperity the world would have to brace for feeding more mouths who have become prosper enough to take more food. He said that presently even after this prosperity, a quarter billion people of Asia go to bed hungry every night and we should prepare ourselves to meet the food requirement of this strata of society when they would be earning enough to purchase their food. He said that with 80% Asians dependent on agriculture sector and 87% of farmers having small farms, the new policy should have more dispersing effect.
Expressing concern over the stagnation of food production after 1990, Prof Guy Poulter asked that agriculture scientists would have to focus on increasing production at par with increasing population. Prof Poulter also focussed on giving a boost to agriculture production sector, value addition of agriculture produce, opening FDI in agriculture sector, strengthening the role of women in agriculture sector, tackling malnutrition in the population and fulfilling the aspirations of small farmers.
Giving a call to parliamentarians for coming out with institutional network for the agriculture growth Prof Poulter stressed upon review of agriculture laws, policies coming in the way of growth of agriculture sector.
Painting a grim scenario of climatic changes, he said that with the expected rise of 4 degree Celsius rise in global temperature and dependence of 65% of Asia’s agriculture on rain, countries would have to come out with more accurate weather forecasting system. he also emphasised on boosting open pollinated hybrid seeds and genetically modified (GM) crops, he said that the fruits of research in agriculture sector needed to be taken to form and countries would have to strengthen their extension network in the villages.