How India’s G20 Presidency can address Global Hunger?

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    In Context

    • India’s G20 presidency has committed to depoliticising the “global supply of food, fertilisers and medical products so that geopolitical tensions do not lead to humanitarian crises”.

    The challenge of hunger & food insecurity 

    • For the first time in decades, there is a rising number of hungry people, even though we produce enough food to feed 10 billion people. 
    • Today, more than 800 million people go to bed hungry. Many of them, paradoxically, are small-scale farmers who produce one-third of the world’s food.
    • Issue of Underinvestment:
      • Three-fourths of the world’s poorest and food insecure live in rural areas. Rural economies, specifically agriculture, have suffered from chronic under-investment. 
      • Today, low- and middle-income countries are increasingly indebted, and global inflation and local currency depreciation are making it challenging for them to finance their development and climate action. 
      • Additionally, donor support for agriculture has stagnated at 4-6 percent of total official development assistance (ODA) for at least two decades. 
    • What is needed?
      • Estimates suggest that we need US$300-400 billion annually until 2030 to transform food systems. So investment needs to grow at least 30 times!

    Significance of investing in rural agriculture 

    • Benefits for governments
      • Boosting local production, local food chains and local markets means global food security, jobs and less conflict. 
      • It will also mean lower GHG emissions (agriculture is responsible for up to 21 per cent of total emissions). 
    • Benefits for the private sector, 
      • Investing in small-scale farmers should be a win-win: Production costs are low, returns on capital are high, farmer organisations and cooperatives have shown they can achieve economies of scale, and crop diversification can defray risk for farms and markets.
    • Aid for the future:
      • These investments can build long-term  resilience and reduce the impact of climate change and other shocks. Every US$1 spent on resilience saves up to US$10 in emergency aid in the future. 
      • Investing in agriculture is at least 2-3 times more effective in reducing poverty than investment in other sectors.
    • Investments by multilateral development banks & financial institutions: 
      • Small-scale agricultural producers still lack access to credit, markets, technology,  infrastructure, information and land. 
      • This is where multilateral development banks and international financial institutions like the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) can make a big difference. 
      • If we de-risk investments through innovative financial instruments and mechanisms, we can help agriculture become the centre of growth it has the potential to be.

    About G20

    • Origin: The G20 was formed in 1999 in the backdrop of the Asian financial crisis of the 1990s to secure global financial stability by involving middle-income countries. 
    • Objectives: To promote financial regulations that prevent future financial crises; and to create a new international financial architecture to achieve global economic stability and sustainable growth.
    • Members:  Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.  

     

    India’s Presidency: Roles and responsibilities

    • The presidency of the G20 rotates every year among members. India is holding the G20 Presidency from 1 December 2022 to 30 November 2023.
    • India aims to strengthen international support for priorities of vital importance to developing countries in diverse social and economic sectors, ranging from Energy, agriculture, trade, digital economy, health and environment to Employment, tourism, anti-corruption and women empowerment.
    • Mobilising resources: India’s G-20 presidency assumes critical importance in mobilising resources that will allow us to deliver on the international community’s resolve to ensure that every person has access to affordable, safe, sufficient and nutritious food. This can be done through
      • Increasing digitisation, 
      • Making insurance attractive for farmers and insurers,
      • Providing access to easy and discounted loans, 
      • Securing land rights and 
      • Strengthening farmers’ organisations.
    • India’s experiences & leadership:
      • India is a crucial partner in the mission to end rural poverty and hunger. 
      • Leveraging the panchayat system, India has successfully built robust community institutions that have strengthened people’s ability to manage their own development
      • These experiences are an inspiration for countries attempting to become food secure. 
      • India has shown thoughtful leadership in advancing South-South and triangular cooperation. This has only deepened with its increasing economic weight.
    • G20’s path:
      • The G-20 can set us on the course to much-needed structural change, mobilising commitments from governments, global financial institutions, investors and companies to invest in medium-term sustainable rural development and agriculture. 

    Way ahead

    • The Indian presidency can deliver an operationally feasible roadmap for inclusive, resilient and sustainable food systems. 
    • This will end hunger for 800 million people, create over 120 million decent rural jobs, boost incomes for the bottom 20 per cent and combat climate change, while also protecting biodiversity.

     

    Daily Mains Question

     

    [Q] India’s G20 presidency can deliver an operationally feasible roadmap for inclusive, resilient and sustainable food systems. Analyse.