Seminar on Health per Acre – Organic Solutions to Hunger
Posted on Friday, February 25th, 2011
Navdanya is organizing a seminar on “Health per Acre – Organic Solutions to Hunger and Malnutrition” on March 26, 2011 from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm at Conference Room No. 1, India International Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi.
India faces a dual crisis related to food and agriculture. First is the malnutrition and hunger crisis. Every 4th Indian is hungry (Ref : Navdanya, “Why is Every 4th Indian Hungry?”). Every third women is severely malnourished. Every second child is “wasted”. This is not “Shinning India” but “Starving India”. The second aspect of the crisis is the agrarian crisis, tragically highlighted by 250,000 farmers suicides in the last one and a half decades, driven by debt which is largely caused by high cost chemical inputs. The agrarian crisis and the food and nutrition crisis are really connected.
Taking note of the hunger and malnutrition crisis, the Government is trying to put together a Food Security Act. However, there are two serious limitations to the proposed Act. Firstly, it leaves out nutrition. Without nutrition there can be no right to food or health. Malnutrition is leading to a public health crisis, of hunger on the one hand, and obesity, diabetes etc. on the other. Secondly, it leaves out agriculture, food producers and food production systems. Without agriculture and nutrition, there can be no food security.
Both aspects of the food crisis, the agrarian crisis on the one hand and the malnutrition crisis on the other are related to the fact that food production has become chemical intensive and is focused on “Yield per Acre”. However, yield per acre ignores the loss of nutrition which is leading to the malnutrition crisis. It also ignores the increase in costs of chemical inputs which trap farmers in debt and are leading to suicides. “Yield per Acre” measures a part one crop grown in a monoculture. This ignores the lost nutrition in the displaced biodiversity. Thus the Green Revolution led to increase of rice and wheat with chemical intensive, capital intensive and water intensive inputs, but it displaced pulses, oil seeds, millets, greens, vegetables, and fruits from the field and from the diet.
Navdanya’s “Health per Acre” shows that a shift to biodiverse organic farming and ecological intensification increases output of nutrition while reducing input costs. When agriculture output is measured in terms of “Health per Acre” and “Nutrition per Acre” instead of “Yield per Acre”, biodiverse ecological systems have a much higher output. This should be the strategy for protecting the livelihoods of farmers as well the right to food and right to health of all our people.
The paradigm shift we propose is a shift from monocultures to diversity, from chemical intensive agriculture to ecologically intensive, biodiversity intensive agriculture, from external inputs to internal inputs, from capital intensive production to low cost, zero cost production, from yield per acre to health and nutrition per acre, from food as a commodity to food as nourishment and nutrition. This shift addresses the multiple crises related to food systems. It shows how we can protect the environment, while protecting our farmers and our health. And we can do this while lowering costs of food production and distribution. By maximizing health per acre, we can ensure that every child, woman and man in India has access to healthy, nutritious, safe and good food.
Tentative Program is as follows:
|10.00 am – 11.00 am||Organic Solutions to Hunger and Malnutrition|
|11.00 am – 12.00 pm||The Right to Health, Food and Nutrition|
|12.00 pm – 1.00 pm||Farmers Right to Livelihoods|
|1.00 pm – 2.00 pm||Lunch / Press Conference|
Speakers include: Dr Vaibhav Singh, Dr Vandana Shiva
We would like to invite you to participate in this seminar.
Look forward to your participation.
DR. VANDANA SHIVA