It is an embarrassment that India has the highest number of malnourished children in the world, admitted union agriculture secretary, Ashish Bahuguna.
Speaking at the 6th Indian Horticulture Congress at Codissia trade fair complex in Coimbatore on Thursday, the agriculture secretary said that the hard work of farmers and research put in by scientists has ensured that India is surplus in food grain production. Yet the country is still lagging behind in terms of malnourishment, he regretted.
“One of the fundamental ways to overcome malnutrition issue is to improve diets of people and increase sustainable income for a better livelihood. This could be done with horticulture as a medium,” the secretary said. Technological advancements have been luring youngsters and diverting people from agriculture to horticulture, fisheries and diary farming, which help in inclusive and sustainable growth of people.
Horticulture is poised for a great leap forward, but India’s conservatism and reluctance to break the shackles of anxiety over food security hampers further growth of horticulture in the country, he added
Eminent agriculture scientist and founder chairman of MSSRF in Chennai, M.S. Swaminathan said that the country has been slowly diverting its attention from food security to nutrient security, for which horticulture plays the role of a catalyst.