Small farmers need irrigation, fertilizers, and market access to transform food systems
Union Minister Raj Kumar Singh said on January 18 that developed countries should live up to the rhetoric on food system transformation by providing small farmers in poor countries with cheaper access to irrigation, fertilizers, and markets.
In a strong response to claims that India still buys oil from Russia, the Minister for New and Renewable Energy said that India’s imports of Russian oil were only a small part of what Europe bought and that the West should stop all oil deals with Russia before giving advice to other countries.
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During a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023, Mr. Singh said that India helps farmers reduce their carbon footprints by giving them solar water pumps and “green ammonia.”
He stated that India is distributing millions of solar water pumps to farmers and that it will soon produce enough green ammonia to eliminate imports of ammonia-based fertilizers, which account for a significant portion of its import cost.
When asked why India continues to acquire inexpensive Russian gas in the face of international condemnation, Singh stated that India imports less gas from Russia in a month than Europe does in a day.
‘Did the West intervene in India’s dispute with its northern neighbor? Why not stop importing from it? ‘He inquired.
Speaking about his experience as a Goodwill Ambassador for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in the same session, actor Idris Elba stated that IFAD’s interventions demonstrate systems that work and are replicable, but that more public-private partnerships (PPPs) are required.
‘Countries require a food systems ministry in addition to an agriculture ministry. One that is based on people-centered policies, incentivizes the private sector to adopt new systems early, and has diverse purposes ‘He stated.
According to Tran Hong Ha, Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, such PPPs are already active.
Farmers in developing countries are typically poor, and they rely on all stakeholders – producers, consumers, and others along the value chain – to contribute expertise and share earnings. He said that there will always be conflict and that the government may have to act as a balance to make sure that each sector grows to its full potential.
Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, USA, Ramon Laguarta, said that his company is working to make agriculture more environmentally friendly, sustainable, and regenerative.
As the owner of the largest private fleet in the United States, PepsiCo is making its vehicles low-emission, he said. ‘We have wonderful brands with the ability to educate people on sustainability,’ he says.
He called for an international agreement that would make every country responsible for changing its food system. He said it was important to put the farmer at the center and make sure he or she had a fair way to make a living while using less resources and putting out less carbon.
Laguarta emphasized the importance of ‘making farming sexy,’ claiming that there will be no future generation of farmers unless farmers love their jobs, earn a living, and continue to invest in farming.
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‘We need to assist with technology, training, and finance,’ he stated. ‘It’s occurring; it’s our company’s future.’ Norway’s Minister of International Development, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, said it was nonsensical that ‘the very people who go hungry are food producers,’ adding that ‘today, with increased input costs, it will get worse.’ Speaking about the United States Department of Agriculture’s Global Fertilizer Challenge, she argued for precision agriculture, which maps soils to optimize fertilizer and water use.
Tvinnereim agreed with Indian Minister Mr. Singh that derisking should be a key part of giving farmers in developing countries financial help. He said that Norway has been able to get private money by using government money.
‘We have the technologies and know what we need to achieve, but we need funding to establish a virtuous investment cycle.’ ‘She stated.