ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Sustainable Food Consumption and ProductionSubscribe to Sustainable Food Consumption and Production

Our Agrarian Future

This paper highlights the extant and the emerging role of agriculture in the Asian region by reviewing the past performance and postulating the conditions for sustainable growth. In the first section, attention is drawn to the initial conditions impacting on the pace and pattern of economic growth. In the second section, the performance of agriculture is reviewed on well established parameters, bringing out the pattern of growth witnessed during the last two decades or so and discussing the exogenous and endogenous factors responsible for changes in this sector. The third section takes a medium-term view of the likely changes in the demand and supply conditions affecting Asian agriculture and the economic environment it is likely to face. In the fourth and final section key issues which have ramifications for achieving a sustainable and humane development in the region are outlined.

Sustainable Food Production and Consumption

Current methods of food production and consumption are imposing a severe burden on the environment and the constituent natural resources. New production and processing methods driven by biotechnology (genetically modified organisms (GMOs), hormones and other growth promoters) affect food safety. Are alternative more sustainable patterns of food production and consumption feasible? The paper examines some consumer initiatives in Asia and in the UK to examine how the consumer as a 'market force' can proactively influence the food industry, thereby making sustainable practices the norm rather than the exception. It also looks at the significance of empowering women, as consumers, with awareness and education on food safety, nutrition and its dependence on sustainable practices to exert a 'pull' on the market. Finally the paper discusses a multi-pronged approach involving, besides consumer pressure, policy changes, regulatory efforts and economic instruments to steer food production and consumption in a more sustainable direction.
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