ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Food Security

Agenda for Asian Economies

Sustained development of agriculture for ensuring food security needs country-specific measures, with a vital, balancing role played by all three crucial institutions of state, markets and civil society.

Agriculture sector has made many strides in the 20th century, with significant technological innovations and increased integration of markets in the developing countries. Trade has become an important component of agriculture sector with the entry of WTO and it has enhanced the vulnerability of developing countries, who host the major proportion of poor of the world. Thus food self-sufficiency of Asian nations has become a concern. Other related issues are poverty and nutrition. There have been changes in environment too over the years and agricultural growth and environment have become part of the debate on sustainable agriculture. It was in this context that the Third Conference of Asian Agricultural Economists on “Sustainable Agriculture, Poverty Alleviation and Food Security in Asia: The Perspectives for the 21st Century” was hosted by Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur in collaboration with Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, Bombay and Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Delhi in Jaipur from October 18-20, 2000.

The keynote address delivered by M S Swaminathan highlighted the impressive array of accomplishments in science and technology in the last century. The last few decades in particular have witnessed the tremendous beneficial impact of innovations in biotechnology and information and space technologies on human food and health security. The entire global population, since Thomas Malthus expressed his apprehensions about human capacity to achieve a balance between food production and population, has touched six billion in 1999. Science-based technologies supported by appropriate public policies are responsible for food famines becoming rare. A famine of jobs and livelihood opportunities do, however, continue to plague the poor of the world. The green revolution in wheat helped to surpass in four years the production accomplishments of the preceding 4,000 years, thus illustrating the power of synergy between science and public policy. The question now is how can we now enlist technology as an ally in the movement for social, gender and economic equity in an era of expanding proprietary science? In this context, the concept of bio-village, a village where human-centred development assumes primacy.

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