Food Security and Sustainable Rural Livelihoods in India

8 January 2019


Reported by Katie Cohen, CSaP Research Assistant

A CSaP policy workshop brought together TIGR2ESS researchers, academic experts, and the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Indian Government Professor K VijayRaghavan to discuss food security and sustainable rural livelihoods in India.

Chaired by CSaP Director Rob Doubleday, the roundtable discussion explored the Indian agricultural and agrarian crises and how TIGR2ESS researchers can make meaningful interventions.

Bhaskar Vira opened by setting the agenda for the workshop, including overall objectives, issues for dialogue, and policy vantage points. Srijit Mishra proceeded to highlight two key problems, distribution and accessibility, which both his Odisha Millet Mission and TIGR2ESS hope to tackle. Next, Nitya Rao elaborated on the crises' implications for reproduction, which led to a conversation about the balance between top-down and bottom-up approaches to intervention.

Jaideep Prabhu followed with an interesting comparison between innovation in Western versus developing countries, giving examples of how policy interventions in India must be well-suited to their contexts. Finally, our distinguished visitor Professor Krishnaswamy VijayRaghavan gave his perspective on the key challenges facing the Indian government and current initiatives aimed at improving productivity and sustainability in agriculture and farming.

“The TIGR2ESS programme will help to deliver our vision, in partnership with institutions in India, to improve Indian crop science and food security. Professor Howard Griffiths, Co-Chair of the University of Cambridge Global Food Security initiative and Principal Investigator of the programme.

Discussion then shifted to the goals of TIGR2ESS and how the programme can best contribute to policy changes in India. TIGR2ESS researchers around the table agreed that the current priorities of the programme include capacity building, rigorous data collection to be used for modelling and scaling, and collaboration and integration of the sciences and social sciences. In response, Vijay and external contributors around the table highlighted three areas as a particular focus for TIGR2ESS moving forward:

  • Build careers across the UK/Indian partnership,
  • Understand work of NGOs and other organisations working on food security across India and
  • Communicate to public as a unified TIGR2ESS project, branded for outreach and translation.