Why Improvements in Farming and Food Sector Are So Important?

    Given the critical importance of food for survival and human existence, the need to usher in much needed reforms in the food and agriculture sector is the call of the hour, failing which, we all could be moving towards a major crisis in future.

    Improvements are needed in so many aspects of human life, but perhaps the sector in which improvements are most needed is the food and farming sector. There are several reasons for this.

    Firstly, while there are so many needs and even basic needs, perhaps there is no need which is of such crucial importance than the need for food. Food should be available in adequacy, now and for future generations, and food should be safe, healthy, nutritious and wholesome. As present systems do not meet this requirement, improvements are needed.

    Secondly, no other sector has the potential of supporting so many creative, satisfactory and sustainable  long-term livelihoods as this sector. Despite this, a situation has been created where even those whose livelihood was in this sector for decades are being forced by worsening circumstances to leave this. Hence clearly something has gone very wrong and there is need for improvement.

    Thirdly, this sector is among those where there is the most scope for checking climate change, pollution and related very serious environmental problems. But the tragic reality today is that the reverse of this is happening. So clearly improvements are needed. This aspect is going to become increasingly important in the days to come.

    This sector if it progresses along the right lines can contribute much to the welfare of many other forms of life ( not just human beings ), ranging from tiny insects to  beautiful birds to big mammals. The sad reality is that exactly the reverse of this has been happening. Hence clearly there is very urgent need to bring improvements.

    Another important reason for giving a lot of careful attention to clearly identifying and bringing the really needed improvements is that very powerful interests have emerged which retard the actually needed improvements and instead try to dress up their selfish interests, which are actually very harmful for the entire world and for all forms of life, as reforms and then try to push their terrible selfish interests in the form of so-called reforms.

    Given this reality of the food and farming sector today it has become very important to engage in the struggle to identify and establish the actual improvements that are needed in the food and farming sector while exposing the falsehood of the selfish interests of powerful lobbies.

    Hence while the actual improvements should be clearly identified and worked out in detail in line with regional and local agro-climatic and social conditions, a related change is to work out the various improvements in such a way that these are supportive of each other and also supportive of the agenda of wider improvements based on justice, equality, democracy, peace, protection of environment, biodiversity and all forms of life. It is certainly possible to meet this challenge with participative and cooperative efforts, shared wisdom and thoughtful planning, combining traditional understanding and new scientific research.  The overwhelming and pressing need to avoid the survival crisis of course remains important for all such endeavors.

    Bharat Dogra is a writer and journalist. His recent books include Protecting Earth for Children and Man Over Machine.   

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