Bhubaneswar: The state government needs to make available balanced diet for the people in rural areas In order to alleviate hunger and malnutrition in the state, said Prabhu Pingali, Prof in Charles H Dyson School of Economics & Management at Cornell, USA. Pingali was here to address a seminar on malnutrition.
“Odisha has been prioritising rice production, but the government should also give priority to pulses and millets. These two items need to be made available in backward regions of the state,” said Pingali.
He also urged state government to come up with a policy that would encourage balanced diet production. The economist also suggested the government to give adequate market access to these products and make them available at affordable prices.
Pingali, along with Anaka Aiyar, Mathew Abraham and Andaleeb Rahman wrote a book ‘Transforming Food Systems for a Rising India’, which was released Friday. The book deals in examining the interactions between India’s economic development, agricultural production, and nutrition through a food lens.
In the wake of rising burden of malnutrition, there is a growing evidence that diversifying diets, increasing income and improving access to food safety nets is vital for reducing it, said, agriculture economist.
“Undernutrition in Madhya Pradesh remains high, but in Kerala, overweight and obesity are on the rise. Similarly, rural poverty in Punjab has reduced due to agriculture development, while in Odisha low agricultural productivity has resulted in high rural poverty. The book explains these differences in growth trajectories, by classifying Indian states into three categories – Agriculture led-states, Urbanising states, and Lagging states,” explained Pingali.