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Equality in Agri-Food Systems Crucial for Poverty Reduction and Women's Health, Says Narendra Singh Tomar

The four-day International Research Conference on 'From research to impact: Towards Just and Resilient Agri-Food Systems', running from October 9 to 12, aims to promote gender equality and inclusion in food systems.

Shivam Dwivedi
Equality in Agri-Food Systems Crucial for Poverty Reduction and Women's Health, Says Narendra Singh Tomar (Photo Source: @nstomar/twitter)
Equality in Agri-Food Systems Crucial for Poverty Reduction and Women's Health, Says Narendra Singh Tomar (Photo Source: @nstomar/twitter)

President Droupadi Murmu inaugurated the International Research Conference on 'From Research to Impact: Towards Just and Resilient Agri-Food Systems' in New Delhi on October 9, 2023. Hosted by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and CGIAR GENDER Impact Platform, the conference brought together eminent personalities and researchers from around the world to discuss gender equality and inclusion in agriculture.

The event was graced by the presence of Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare  Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Ministers of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare  Kailash Choudhary and Shobha Karandlaje, Secretary for Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare  Manoj Ahuja, Secretary for Department of Agriculture Research and Education, and Director General for Indian Council of Agricultural Research Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Executive Managing Director for CGIAR Prof. Andrew Campbell, Director for CGIAR GENDER Impact Platform Dr. Nicoline de Haan, Director, and South Asia Regional Director for CGIAR Temina Lalani-Shariff.

President Droupadi Murmu delivered the inaugural address, emphasizing the pivotal role of women in agriculture and the importance of empowering them for sustainable and equitable food systems. She stated, "For ecologically sustainable, ethically desirable, economically affordable, and socially justifiable production, we need research which can enable conditions to reach these goals."

Murmu highlighted the persistent challenges women face in agriculture worldwide, such as discriminatory social norms and barriers to knowledge, ownership, assets, resources, and social networks. She called for a transformation in the recognition and role of women in agri-food systems, asserting that ‘their story needs to change.’

President Murmu commended the CGIAR GENDER Impact Platform for focusing on women as agents of transformation rather than mere subjects of change, emphasizing the need for gender equality and inclusion at the core of food systems research. Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar acknowledged the substantial contributions of women in Indian agriculture and their extensive unpaid care work. He stressed the significance of gender equality in agri-food systems, which aligns with the G20 Declaration's emphasis on the well-being of women for holistic societal growth.

Tomar also highlighted India's commitment to agricultural research, development, and innovation, acknowledging the substantial role of small and medium farmers in sustaining the nation's food supply. He urged continued investment in research and innovation to enhance productivity and address challenges posed by climate change.

Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Director General of ICAR, noted the conference's role in advancing resilient, equitable, and just food systems. He underscored the importance of mainstreaming women in agriculture, emphasizing their potential to drive economic growth through improved access to resources and technical knowledge.

Prof. Andrew Campbell of CGIAR emphasized the community-wide benefits of gender equity in access to resources and decision-making in agriculture. He stressed that gender plays a crucial role in achieving inclusive agricultural transformation. Dr. Nicoline de Haan called for a new wave of research-backed innovation that empowers women in food systems, echoing the legacy of the late Prof. MS. Swaminathan, who championed the Green Revolution.

Amitabh Kant, India's G20 Sherpa, delivered a keynote speech, highlighting the research's importance in areas like food security, nutrition, climate-smart approaches, inclusive agricultural value chains, and digitization for gender-inclusive agricultural transformation.

Researchers from 68 countries are participating, fostering scientific exchange, dialogue, and collaboration. The event seeks to bridge the gap between research and practice and promote gender-equal and socially inclusive, resilient food systems.

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