Daily Editorial Analysis for 9th Sep 2021

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Future of food

Why in News

  • UN will convene the Food Systems Summit in September 2021, which mainly focused on the transformation of global food systems in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030. India also played a major role in the ‘transformation of food system’ since independence, to gain the self-sufficiency in it.

Transformation of Global Food System

  • There are mainly five action tracks to achieve the objectives of SDG 2030:
  • Ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all;
  • Shift to sustainable consumption patterns;
  • Boost nature-positive production;
  • Advance equitable livelihoods;
  • Build resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks and stress.
  • As per the ‘Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)’, “food systems encompass the entire range of actors involved in the production, aggregation, processing, distribution, consumption and disposal of food products that originate from agriculture, forestry or fisheries, and parts of the broader economic, societal and natural environments in which they are embedded”.

India’s policy in transformation of Food System

  • From a food-deficit country, to became a self-reliant, India gone through various phases and challenges in the food system.
  • From the beginning of Green Revolution, which led to problems like water-logging, soil erosion, groundwater depletion and the unsustainability of agriculture in India, till current policies, India is still working with the “deficit” mindset of 1960s.
  • Only three crops that is, rice, wheat and sugarcane, gained the procurement, subsidies and water policies benefits than any other crops.

Issues associated with food system of India

  • Value-chain in Agriculture:
  • Small farmers require special support, public goods and links to input and output markets.
  • Technological and institutional innovations, best institutional practices in agricultural marketing and better prices for inputs and outputs for small holders can help India in diversification of farming. For example: ITC’s E-Choupal.
  • Women empowerment is also important particularly for raising incomes and nutrition. Women’s cooperatives and groups like Kudumbashree in Kerala would be helpful. Most successful example is Amul India.
  • Hunger and Malnutrition:
  • According to the NFHS-4 survey, around 38% of the children in India were stunt in 2015-16.
  • In NFHS-5, under-nutrition has not declined in various states even in 2019-20. Obesity is also rising.
  • A food systems approach must be focus on undernutrition and obesity. Safe and healthy diversified diets are needed.
  • Healthy and Sustainable Diet:
  • As per EAT-Lancet diet, a healthy and sustainable diet is not affordable for the majority of people in India.
  • Study of Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition shows that the cost of the EAT-Lancet dietary recommendations for rural India ranges between $3 and $5 per person per day, but the actual dietary intake is $1 per person per day.
  • In rural areas, processed foods are cheaper and available as compared to fruits and vegetables.
  • Animal-sourced foods are still needed for countries like India.
  • Sustainability in Food System:
  • Estimates show that the food sector emits around 30% of greenhouse gases globally which is going to be crucial in upcoming years.
  • Sustainability has to be achieved in production, value chains and consumption. Climate-resilient cropping patterns have to be promoted and cash transfers can be given for farmers for sustainable agriculture.
  • Health Infrastructure of India:
  • Food systems also need health infrastructure.
  • Inequalities in health and education have to be reduced for healthy and sustainable food systems.
  • Women’s health indicators need to be improved for better nutrition.
  • Social Food Protection Programme:
  • Inclusive food systems need strong social protection programmes. Strengthening National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, public distribution system (PDS), nutrition programmes like ICDS, mid-day meal programmes, can improve income, livelihoods and nutrition for the poor and vulnerable groups. In PDS, there is a need to give non-staples like pulses and oils, and biofortified cereals for better nutrition.
  • Role of non-agriculture:
  • Some economists argued that the solution for problems in agriculture was in non-agriculture.
  • Therefore, labour-intensive manufacturing and services can reduce pressure on agriculture.
  • Income from agriculture is not sufficient for small holders and informal workers. Strengthening rural MSMEs and food processing is part of the solution. Industry has to help in producing healthy processed food.


  • At the global level, there is a proposal to have an International Panel on Food and Nutritional Security (IPFN), an “IPCC for food,”.
  • The UN food systems summit is a great opportunity to boost policies for achieving SDGs.
  • Science and technology are important drivers to achieve these goals. India should also aim for a food systems transformation, which can be inclusive and sustainable, ensure growing farm incomes and nutrition security.


Green hydrogen, a new ally for a zero-carbon future

Why in News

With the emerging technology in India, there is need to adopt ‘Green Hydrogen’ to control the increasing ‘Global Warming’ and move ahead with ‘zero emission’ of carbon dioxide. According to the latest study, about 195 countries have signalled the crucial issue of climate vulnerability, especially for the Asian countries.

About Hydrogen

  • Hydrogen is the most abundant element on the planet, but rarely in its pure form.
  • Its energy density is almost 3 times the diesel, which makes hydrogen energy-rich source, but the challenge is to compress or liquify the LH2 (liquid hydrogen).
  • It needs to be kept at a stable -253° C; entailing its ‘prior to use exorbitant cost’.
  • The production techniques of ‘Energy-Carrier’ vary depending upon its applications, designated with different colours such as black hydrogen, brown hydrogen, blue hydrogen, green hydrogen, etc.

Types of Hydrogen

  • Black hydrogen is produced by use of fossil fuel.
  • Pink hydrogen is produced through electrolysis, but using energy from nuclear power sources.
  • Green hydrogen is a zero-carbon fuel made by electrolysis using renewable power from wind and solar to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
  • It can be utilised for the generation of power from natural sources, and will be a major step forward in achieving the ‘net zero’ target emission. Presently, nearly 0.1% of hydrogen capable of generating ~284GW of power.
  • It is an alternative source of energy, to power industries and light our homes with the ‘zero emission’ of carbon dioxide.

Challenges for Green Hydrogen in India

  • Production cost of Green hydrogen: It is the major obstacle for producing ‘Green Hydrogen’.
  • As per the ‘International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA)’, the production cost of ‘green hydrogen’ is expected to be around $1.5 per kilogram by the year 2030; by adopting various conservative measures.
  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts the additional power demand up to 25%-30% by the year 2040.
  • Thus, power generation by ‘net-zero’ emission will be the best solution to achieve the target of global warming to remain under 1.5° C.
  • It can also reduce the dependency on conventional fossil fuel.

India in Power sector

  • According to the IEA, India becomes the 4th largest energy consuming country globally after China, the United States and the European Union and it will overtake the European Union to become the world’s third energy consumer by the year 2030.
  • Recently, the Indian Railways have announced the first experiment of a hydrogen-fuel cell technology-based train by retrofitting an existing diesel engine.
  • The scale of interest for ‘plucking the low hanging fruit’ can be gauged by the fact that even oil-producing nations such as Saudi Arabia is prioritising plans to manufacture this source of energy by utilising ‘idle-land-banks’ for solar and wind energy generation.


  • It is high time to catch up with the rest of the world by going in for clean energy, decarbonising the economy and adopting ‘Green hydrogen’ as an environment-friendly and safe fuel for the next generations.
  • The forthcoming 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow from November 1-12, 2021 is to re-examine the coordinated action plans to mitigate greenhouse gases and climate adaptation measures.


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