India Transforming Agriculture through Digital Revolution and Addressing Food Security and Nutrition on the Global Stage
Shri Narendra Singh Tomar,
Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, GoI
Under the visionary guidance of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the G20 under the India’s presidency is making the entire nation proud. Everyone has a feeling of pride. Entering the era of "Amrit Kaal", India has embarked on a transformational journey towards development especially in the Agriculture Sector. The agricultural sector has always been at the forefront of human progress, providing sustenance, livelihoods, and economic stability. With the advent of digitalization and emerging technologies, the agriculture sector is witnessing new wave of transformation. This digital revolution has the potential to take agriculture to the next level while helping governments and stakeholders tackle pressing challenges related to food security, the environment, and socio-economic development.
At the heart of this transformation lies the concept of Open Public Digital Infrastructure, a critical enabler for effective, synergetic, and scalable digital solutions in agriculture. Embracing open standards and interoperability, Digital Public Goods hold the potential to drive inclusive growth, foster cooperation, and facilitate international trade by reducing costs and expediting adoption. One such example of digital public goods can be found in the innovative initiatives developed by the Government of India, including the India Stack and the Aadhar ecosystem, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), and the National Health Stack.
The application of similar digital public infrastructure in agriculture promises to revolutionize farming practices and enhance farm productivity through sustainable methods. Services like Real-time Advisory, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and, Remote Sensing will strengthen digital infrastructure and reduce digital divide in agriculture sector. Easy access to financing and other resources levels the playing field, especially for small and marginal farmers. It enables them to compete effectively, expand their operations, and invest in cutting-edge agricultural technologies. To fully harness the potential of digitalization in agriculture, policies that encourage data sharing and openness in the agricultural sector must be promoted. These policies
should revolve around data-driven, intelligent, dynamic, and interconnected systems that engage all stakeholders, both public and private, from farm to fork. The G20 member nations also committed to collaborate with all stakeholders and strengthen capacity-building efforts, including dissemination of digital tools and technology and promoting its adoption by farmers, especially by marginal, small holders, family farmers, women, youth, indigenous peoples as applicable, ageing farmers and other underrepresented groups. The cross-border and international exchange of experiences will provide insights for the use of digital technologies in agriculture and improve food systems.
The involvement of both the public and private sectors, through science, technology, and innovation (STI) initiatives, can invigorate the technological and digitally enabled agri-food system. Agri-tech start-ups have a significant role to play by providing innovative and affordable solutions that address challenges throughout the agricultural value chain, using open digital networks.
The potential of open digital networks, powered by cutting-edge and emerging technologies, invites us and calls upon us to take decisive action. It is a call that requires a multi-dimensional, multi-stakeholder, and collaborative approach. Only through such collective efforts we can unlock the transformative potential of digitalization in agriculture, ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future for farmers and the broader agricultural ecosystem. The time for action is now, and it is a call we must heed for the betterment of agriculture and global food security. India is not only focusing on transforming Agriculture through digital revolution but also reiterating its commitment to address both food security and nutrition on the global stage. Under the able guidance of
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the brainstorming held in the G20 meetings chaired by India is being discussed all over the country and the world. An important grouping of the G20 deals with agriculture, which has held meetings in different cities of India over the past months, with an emphasis on promoting food security and climate resilience through sustainable agriculture. This has been a major topic during the meetings, which concerns the whole world. The G20 Agriculture Working Group (AWG) meetings held during this mega event were historic. The achievements of the Agriculture Working Group represent the collective efforts of over 200 delegates who have traveled over the past months from India's cleanest city, Indore, to the well-planned urban landscape of Chandigarh, to the holy city of Varanasi, and finally reached to the mesmerizing city of pearls, Hyderabad.
The G20 Agriculture Ministers' Meeting held on 16-17 June 2023 in Hyderabad, India, offers a major milestone in the global discourse on food security and nutrition. This gathering reaffirmed international commitments to establishing inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agricultural systems.
The Context: An Unprecedented Call for Action
The meeting's outcome document laid bare the global community's concerns about food and fertilizer price volatility, supply chain disruptions, and geopolitical tensions. Resilient
and reliable supply chains were emphasized as essential for global food security, particularly for marginalized groups like women and girls during humanitarian crises.
Diversifying Food Resources
One of the meeting's standout sections focuses on the importance of diverse and sustainably produced nutritious food. Encouraging initiatives to innovate in crop development, the ministers pointed to the need for climate-resilient, locally adapted, and underutilized grains. The document emphasizes the role of research and development in enhancing agricultural productivity.
Nutrition and Biofortification
The ministers endorsed an evidence-based approach to nutrition, emphasizing that nutrient adequacy must primarily come from a diverse food base. They also acknowledged the potential of biofortification in improving nutritional content in crops.
A Focus on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The ministers recognized the interconnectedness of sustainable agriculture, food production, international trade, and the achievement of the SDGs—especially the zero- hunger goal (SDG2). According to recent projections, almost 600 million people will still be chronically undernourished by 2030, underscoring the immense challenge of eradicating hunger. They highlighted the importance of enhancing capacity in developing countries for sustainable food production, storage, marketing, and loss reduction.
Transparency and Data-Driven Decision-Making
The Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) and the Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM) were acknowledged as crucial initiatives for enhancing agricultural market transparency. Given that food insecurity is not just a matter of availability but also of access.
Implications and Future Actions
Under India's leadership in this G20 meeting, these discussions provide a scaffold upon which international initiatives can be built or expanded, offering a timely response to the
increasing acute food insecurity and persistent high levels of hunger reported globally.
The roadmap has been laid; the challenge now is its implementation. As countries share best practices and build on these principles, the promise of a world with robust food
security and better nutrition comes ever closer to realization. This milestone meeting serves as a significant catalyst, carrying the potential to change the course of food
security and nutrition for generations to come.