Background Note

The challenge: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – and the future of our planet and its people – depend on well-functioning food systems everywhere. They should be sustainable, produce foodstuffs that are affordable, safe and nourish people in ways that are sustainable, regenerating ecosystems, reducing greenhouse gases. They must ensure prosperity for all producers (especially women and smallholders) to have decent livelihoods and for processors and distributors. They should make the lowest possible contribution to climate change. Yet most current food systems are not working properly – for people, for the planet and for our common future.

Although we may share a vision of a food system that delivers for all, leaving no one behind – there are a broad range of views on how to make that happen. However, we would probably not agree on how to make it happen and work together. The food systems community has different approaches to weighing up evidence, establishing policies and devising programmes. There are also a variety of views on the kinds of incentives and regulations that are needed to transform food systems. Many stakeholders have found that if we are able to appreciate each other’s points of view and find ways to agree on what should be done, we are in a better position to align our efforts and make a lasting difference together.

The Dialogues will succeed if they help different actors within food systems to work together effectively, as well as to align and, where possible, combine their efforts, because they better understand and appreciate each other. This requires careful framing – and, when necessary, reframing - of issues. It also requires that there are open interactions between actors in a context characterized by mutual respect. The Dialogues are designed to be interdisciplinary, cutting across sectors, involving key contributors from a range of entities (including local and national governments, consumers, farmers, businesspeople, civil society groups and international organizations). They will use a common conceptual framework but not shy away from identifying and seeking to understand areas in which there is no agreement.

All aspects of food systems can be explored – including horticulture, livestock, fish (and oceans), all crops (including cash crops and forestry), as well as priorities for consumers, processors and producers, the economics of food and the financing of food systems. It is expected that the FSDs will examine specific challenges – such as ensuring all people’s access to sustainable and healthy diets, livelihoods of small-scale food producers, as well as sustaining biodiversity. They will also examine opportunities and risks – including the use of incentives to drive sustainability in food systems, changes in consumer preference and bio-innovations to making food systems more localised.

The Food Systems Dialogues (FSDs) was initiated by EAT, the World Business Council on Sustainable Development and the World Economic Forum. The Food Systems Dialogues are planned to enable different stakeholders in food systems to debate, increase impact of effort, align what they do with and make a lasting impact that benefits both people and the planet. The Workshop is facilitated and supported by Dr. David Nabarro, recipient of “2018 World Food Prize”. We hope it will be the beginning of series of annual events, which will critically and continuously shape the narratives in the years ahead.

The Dialogues and opinions will be collated and be available to all who wish to access them.

Resource Persons


Dr. Abhijit Sen
Former Member, Planning Commission, Govt. of India

Mr. Anil Jain
CEO, Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd.

Mr. Ashish Bahuguna
Former Chairman, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

Dr. Ashok Gulati
Infosys Chair Professor for Agriculture
Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER)

Prof. Arun Kumar
Professor, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)

Mr. Avik Saha
General Secretary, Swaraj Abhiyan | National Convenor, Jai Kisan Andolan

Dr. Bibek Debroy
Chairman, PM’s Economic Advisory Commission

Dr. C.D. Mayee
Former Chairman, Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board

Dr. David Nabarro
Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change & Recipient of “2018 World Food Prize”

Dr. Devinder Sharma
Food Policy Analyst

Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala
Chairman, NABARD

Dr. K. Ramasamy
Vice-Chancellor, Tamil-Nadu Agricultural University

Ms. Kavitha Kuruganti
Convener, ASHA

Ms. Kiranjeet Jhunir
Farmer Activist, Punjab

Mr. Neelkanth Mishra
Managing Director and the Credit Suisse India Economist and Strategist

Mr. Paranjoy Guha Thakurta
Senior Journalist

Dr. Purvi Mehta
Senior Advisor & Head of Agriculture (South Asia), BMGF

Dr. Ramesh Chand
Member, NITI Aayog, Govt. of India

Mr. Siraj Hussain
Former Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India

Mr. T. Nanda Kumar
Former Secretary Food & Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, GOI

Dr. U.S. Awasthi
Managing Director, Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited

Dr. Vandana Shiva
NAVDANYA - Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology

Shri Vijoo Krishnan
All India Joint Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha, Affiliated to CPI (M)


Day 1 – Thursday, 25th October 2018

12:20 PM – 1:00 PM Lunch & Registration

Welcome - Mr. Ajay Vir Jakhar, Chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj

Setting the Agenda - Dr. David Nabarro, Recipient “2018 World Food Prize”

Session 1
(Topic: Access to Nutrition in India's Food System) Seminar Hall No. 2

1.30 PM - 2.15 PM
Mr. T. Nanda Kumar, Former Secretary Food & Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, GOI

1. Dr. Bibek Debroy, Chairman, Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council
Topic: Moving from food security to nutrition security
2. Dr. Abhijit Sen, Former Member, Planning Commission, GOI
Topic: Agriculture; a state subject or in the concurrent list to deliver a sustainable food system
Question & Answers

2.15 PM - 2.25 PM Changeover - Changeover

Session 2
(Topic: Investment, Credit & Growth) Seminar Hall No. 1

2.25PM - 4.00 PM
Mr. Siraj Hussain, Former CMD, FCI & Former Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing, GOI

1. Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, Chairman, NABARD
Topic: Changing NABARD and matrix to measure programme delivery
2. Prof. Arun Kumar, Professor, Malcolm S. Adiseshiah Chair Professor, Institute of Social Sciences
Topic: Growth distribution and economic shocks
3. Mr. Anil Jain, CEO, Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd.
Topic : Water, micro irrigation potential & public investment gap
Discussion Time - 2 groups *

Session 3
(Topic: Academics & Economics) Seminar Hall No. 3

2.25 PM - 4.00 PM
Dr. C.D. Mayee, Former Chairman, Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board

1. Dr. Ashok Gulati, Infosys Chair Professor for Agriculture, ICRIER
Topic: Connecting farmers to value chain for ensuring farmer prosperity
2. Dr. U. S. Awasthi, Managing Director, Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited
Topic: Fertilizer industry – policy & the future
3. Dr. K. Ramasamy, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil-Nadu Agricultural University
Topic: Responding to climate change and the missing link of farm extension
Discussion Time - 2 groups *

4.00 PM - 4.30 PM - Tea Break & Network

Session 4
(Topic: Making Rural Economy Resillient) Seminar Hall No. 2

4.30 PM - 6.00 PM
Mr. Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Senior Journalist

1. Dr. Vandana Shiva, NAVDANYA - Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology
Topic: GMO, pesticides – international advocacy & forecasting 2050
2. Dr. Purvi Mehta, Senior Advisor & Head of Agriculture (South Asia), BMGF
Topic:BMG worldwide agriculture research initiatives & on-ground India initiatives
3. Mr. Avik Saha, General Secretary, Swaraj Abhiyan | National Convenor, Jai Kisan Andolan
Topic: Improving livelihoods through input subsidies or direct cash support to farmers
Discussion time & Report back - 3 groups

6.00 PM - 6.30 PM
Wrap-up Reporting back by 7 discussions groups * Moderated by Dr. David Nabarro

6.30 PM onwards - Tea & Networking

Day 2 – Friday, 26th October 2018

9:00 AM – 9:45 AM Breakfast & Registration

Session 5
(Topic: Bigger Picture - Livelihoods) Seminar Hall No. 2

10.00 AM - 11.20 AM
Mr. Ashish Bahuguna, Former Chairman, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India

1. Dr. David Nabarro, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General & Recipient “2018 World Food Prize”
Topic: Necessity to reduce food waste and changing diets
2. Dr. Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog, Govt. of India
Topic: Supporting marginal & small farmers through MSP – past, present & the future
3. Mr. Neelkanth Mishra, MD & the Credit Suisse India Economist & Strategist
Topic: Agricultural economy: protection vs. free trade; is a strong rupee anti-farmer?
Questions & Answers

11.20 AM - 11.45 AM - Tea Break & Network

Session 6
(Topic: System Under Pressure) Seminar Hall No. 2

11.45 PM - 1.30 PM
Mr. Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Senior Journalist

1. Dr. Devinder Sharma, Food Policy Analyst
Topic: Farmers’ income commission or universal healthcare & education
2. Mr. Vijoo Krishnan, All India Joint Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha, Affiliated to CPI (M)
Topic: History of farmer agitations & the next big bang
3. Ms. Kavitha Kuruganti, Convener, ASHA
Topic: Feminisation of Indian agriculture strong rupee anti-farmer?
4. Ms. Kiranjeet Jhunir, Farmer Activist, Punjab
Topic: Ground realities and the true picture
Discussion time & Report back - 4 groups

1.30 PM - 1.45 PM
Dr. David Nabarro & Mr. T. Nanda Kumar

1.45 PM onwards - Lunch & Networking


If you wish to participate, please send a request for an invite to ho@bks.org.in. Do specify, if you want to participate on both the dates (25th & 26th October, 2018) or for any particular date.

The programme is by invitation only. Right to admission reserved

Mr. Ajay Vir Jakhar
Chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj
Twitter: @Ajayvirjakhar
Blog: www.ajayvirjakhar.com


Bharat Krishak Samaj,
A-1, Nizamuddin West, New Delhi – 110013
E-mail : ho@bks.org.in

Website: www.bks.org.in