Re-aligning Agri-food Policies for Protecting Soil, Water, Air & Biodiversity (SWAB)

In the face of growing pressures on environmental resources exacerbated by climate change, it is crucial to acknowledge the intricate relationship between food production, natural resource management and environmental sustainability. Our agri-food policies wield immense influence in sculpting the vitality of our soil, the purity of our water and air, and the diversity of our ecosystems.

Soil degradation, often caused by erosion, nutrient depletion, and chemical contamination, reduces the fertility and resilience of farms, hampering crop yields. Depletion of groundwater resulting from excessive irrigation and inefficient water management practices, threatens the sustainability of agriculture by diminishing water availability for irrigation. Moreover, the GHGs emissions from agricultural activities, such as methane from livestock and nitrous oxide from fertilizers, exacerbate climate change, leading to unpredictable weather patterns and extreme events that disrupt agricultural productivity. Additionally, the loss of agro-biodiversity undermines the genetic diversity of crops and reduces the resilience of agricultural ecosystems, making them more vulnerable to pests, diseases, and adverse weather conditions. Addressing these interconnected challenges is essential for fostering sustainable and resilient food production systems capable of meeting the needs of a growing global population while safeguarding environmental health.

Against this backdrop, this edition of ICRIER – Agriculture Policy Sustainability and Innovation (APSI) quarterly bulletin, Agri – Food Trends and Analytics Bulletin (AF-TAB), serves as an impassioned call to policymakers, to re-assess and re-align the agri-food policies to protect the Soil, Water, Air, and Biodiversity (SWAB). With well informed and well communicated policy decisions, coupled with collaborative endeavors, India has the power to structure the agricultural food system in a manner that it not only produces enough food, feed, fibre, and fuel (bio-fuel) for the nutritional requirements of present and future generations, but also serves as a custodian of our planet’s wellbeing.