Over 30 environmentalists & agricultural economists from across the country present new perspective of reshaping Indian ecology
On the second day of the two-day conference of the 3rd National Dialogue on Himalayan Ecology various agricultural economists, environmentalists and journalists came up with effective & efficient solutions to address some of the most pressing challenges related to sustainable practices confronting Indian ecology.
Experts from Universities and Institutions from all across India, including Shoolini University, Goa University, Kerala Agriculture University, Delhi University, and Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, among others, were speaking at the panel discussion on ‘Fixing the Broken Food Systems’.
The two-day conference which was inaugurated on Friday by Navjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab Cabinet Minister concluded at Hotel Park View, Sector 24, here. Theme of the conference organised by Chandigarh-based trust, Dialogue Highway, was “Measuring the Economics of Food & Agriculture Ecosystems”
Considering the vast extent of broken food systems existing in the country, MK Venu, Executive Editor, The Wire chaired an intriguing discussion; providing a platform to deliberate resolutions to improve the status of food systems in India. Mr. Venu raised his concern about mankind turning materialistic when the need of the hour is to safeguard humanity.
Dr. HK Bali, Director of Cardiology, Fortis Hospital Mohali highlighted that the heart diseases is issue of concern as it is immensely affecting the younger generation. “The aggressive use of pesticides and broken food systems since the last 40 years is affecting human’s reproductive health, brain development of child and giving rise to diseases like cancer,” he said.
“The food systems prevailing in Punjab are similar to a black & white film; the agriculture sector is becoming bleak with each passing day, losing hues of prosperity,” said SP Singh, Veteran Journalist, Chandigarh, questioning the dubious system of the state.
Syncing with the same, Sujay Mehdudia, Journalist, said, “The policymakers are disconnected with what is happening in the ground. They’re oblivious to the gloom ground reality of the agriculture sector. It is high time that we surpass our obsession with the Gross Domestic Product and make way for some actual development. The media should act as pressure groups on the policy-makers and create awareness about providing solutions to get out of the vicious circle”.
“The food loss & wastage comprises of the 30% of the total food produced,” he added.
Emphasizing on the dire need to change our perspective of looking at ecosystems, Prof. Krishan Kumar, Former Chairman, National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) said, “There is a larger discourse of policies for growth, but there is a narrow vision for the growth of the villages. The villages remind of us of the yesterday’s world. In our country, where the rural population comprises of a majority, it is really imperative for the policy-makers to take history into account for making accurate policies; if we want the situation to start getting better or stop getting worse. If India’s imagination is not inventive, so there is no difference from the times when it was colonized.”
The session was followed with an interactive deliberation on suggesting a way out from the broken food systems. “The history stands testament to the fact that the farmers have started shifting from agriculture sector to different white collar jobs as they seem to be more promising and lucrative,” said Dr. Adesh Kumar, Shoolini University, Solan, while discussing the challenges of Himalayan ecology and mountainous agriculture practices.
“The agriculture sector is being ruthlessly exploited by the increased dependence of chemical fertilizers & pesticides. This is not only harming the producer but, also the consumer. In order to curb the same, the government must issue statutory warnings to create awareness about the harmful consequences of the same and educate farmers about prospective alternates,” he concluded.