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Making our agri-food systems more just, inclusive, and equitable is crucial for the well-being of the planet: President

The President of India, Droupadi Murmu, inaugurated an International Research Conference on 'FROM RESEARCH TO IMPACT: Towards Just and Resilient Agri-Food Systems' in New Delhi on October 9, 2023.

During her speech, the President emphasized the importance of justice in society, regardless of its level of prosperity. She noted that even in modern times, gender justice is lacking in agriculture, which is considered the oldest science. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the strong connection between agri-food systems and structural inequality, with women experiencing higher job losses and increased migration compared to men.

The President pointed out that women worldwide have been excluded from agri-food systems for a long time. They make up the majority of the lowest tier of the agriculture structure but are denied opportunities to rise as decision-makers. Discriminatory social norms and barriers related to knowledge, ownership, assets, resources, and social networks hinder their progress. Their contributions are often unrecognized, their roles marginalized, and their agency denied throughout the agri-food systems. The President highlighted the positive changes in India, where legislative and governmental interventions are empowering women.

She described modern women as not being helpless but powerful, advocating for women-led development rather than just women's development. Making agri-food systems more just, inclusive, and equitable is not only desirable but also crucial for the planet and humanity's well-being, she said.

Addressing climate change as an existential threat, the President emphasized the need for swift action. Climate change, global warming, and ecosystem disruptions are affecting food production and sustainability. Agri-food systems need to break the cycle and increase biodiversity and ecosystem restoration to ensure food and nutritional security, as well as a more prosperous and equitable future.

The President stressed the importance of research to achieve ecologically sustainable, ethically desirable, economically affordable, and socially justifiable production. Understanding how to transform agri-food systems systematically is essential. These systems should be resilient and agile to withstand shocks and disruptions, making nutritious and healthy diets accessible, available, and affordable for all while being just, equitable, and sustainable. She expressed confidence that the conference, over the next four days, would address these issues and pave the way for positive transformation of agri-food systems.


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