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Rich nations must help poor counterparts’ small farmers to transform food systems, says RK Singh

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India will soon have enough green ammonia to cease importing ammonia-based fertilisers, which account for a significant portion of its import costs, Singh said 

Farmers in developing countries are usually not wealthy and need partnership among all stakeholders. Photo: iStock.
Farmers in developing countries are usually not wealthy and need partnership among all stakeholders. Photo: iStock.

Developed countries should deliver their commitments towards transforming food systems in the developing world by providing affordable access to irrigation, fertilisers and markets for small farmers, said Union minister for new and renewable energy, Raj Kumar Singh, January 17, 2023.

India is providing farmers millions of solar-powered water pumps. The country will soon have enough green ammonia to cease importing ammonia-based fertilisers, which account for a significant portion of its import costs, Singh said at a session of the ongoing World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.


Also read: Global food systems emissions alone can cause global warming to exceed 1.5°C: CSE report


The minister responded severely to accusations of India continuing to purchase oil from Russia. India’s import was only a small portion of what Europe was buying and the West should end all oil trade with Russia before lecturing others, he stated.

“India had a conflict with its northern neighbour; did the West do anything about it? Stop importing from it?” the minister asked.

Hollywood actor Idris Elba discussed his experience of serving as a goodwill ambassador for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) during the same session. While IFAD’s interventions demonstrate replicable and effective systems, more public-private partnerships are required, Elba said.

“Countries need a food systems ministry, not just an agriculture ministry. One that relies on people-centric policies, incentivises the private sector for early adoption of new systems, has multifaceted goals,” he added.

Such PPPs are already active in Vietnam, said the country’s minister of natural resources and environment, Tran Hong Ha.

“Farmers in developing countries are usually not wealthy and need partnership among all stakeholders — producers, consumers and others along the value chain — in order to contribute knowledge and share profits.”

Additionally, there will always be friction and governments should act as a stabilising force to guarantee that each sector can grow to its full potential, he added.


Also read: Irony just died: Coca-Cola, among biggest global polluters, to sponsor CoP27


Proclaiming PepsiCo to be mainly an ‘agricultural company’, Ramon Laguarta, chairman and CEO of the company, claimed that they are ‘striving to make agriculture regenerative, sustainable and positive for the planet.’

“We have beautiful brands that have the power to educate consumers on sustainability,” he claimed.

Ironically, PepsiCo has been ranked as one of the world’s leading plastic polluters for the fourth consecutive year in 2022 by Break Free From Plastic, a global movement combatting single-use plastic.

It is absurd that the very people who go hungry are food producers, said Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, minister of international development of Norway.

She argued in favour of precision farming, which maps soils to enable the best use of water and fertiliser. Tvinnereim said Norway had been able to leverage its taxpayers’ money to crowd in private money.

Agreeing with Singh, she said derisking should be a crucial component of financial help for farmers in developing nations.

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