G20 Summit: Indian Leadership Builds Consensus On Food Security
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Ahead of the G20 Summit 2023, all set to take place with global leaders like Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others in New Delhi over the weekend of September 9-10, 2023, delegates from other ministries have been meeting to discuss global issues. In this regard, the Indian leadership has revealed that during its G20 Presidency, it has managed to achieve global consensus on two aspects—food security and millets

A recent news report says that Smita Sirohi, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Joint Secretary—who is also heading the G20 agriculture-related matters—has announced that global consensus has been reached regarding key concern areas and issues by the agriculture working group consisting of members of governments across the world. She also said that even though food security has especially been a priority agenda during previous G20 Summits, the consensus reached under India’s G20 Presidency by global agriculture ministers is “historic”. 

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“This is really a historic moment where agriculture ministers have come up together to deliberate on the issue of food security and nutrition. It has come up with seven principles and agreed to champion these principles,” Sirohi said while talking to PTI. The two topics on which the global leaders agreed were the Deccan G20 High-Level Principles on Food Security and Nutrition and India’s millet initiative called Maharishi. 

Sirohi also revealed that the food security principles the global ministers agreed on included those around humanitarian food assistance, increasing global food production, food safety net programmes, climate-smart approaches, one-health approach, digitization of the agriculture sector and increasing responsible public and private investment in agriculture. She added that for nations like India, food safety programmes matter more than ever now. 

“We have been able to create awareness and information campaigns among the developed world, that if India is insecure then the world cannot be food secure. Even in the past communique, from 2011 till 2020, before the G20 Indonesia Presidency, none of them find any reference to food safety net programmes to achieve food security. India ensured it got a reference on the importance of the food safety program last year and it was again emphasized this year as well,” she said. 

This apart, Sirohi said that the biofortification of crops, regenerative agriculture, natural farming and millet farming were also key discussion areas during the meeting. She also said that while agricultural trade issues fall under the purview of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the G20 member nations have also made a commitment to avoid any and all unjustified restrictions that can hinder the supply of essential food materials across the globe. In addition, she said, six initiatives are currently being discussed for implementation by the G20 Summit 2023 participants.