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NATIONAL DIALOGUE | INDIAN AGRICULTURE TOWARDS 2030 : Pathways for Enhancing Farmers’ Income, Nutritional Security and Sustainable Food Systems | FAO in India | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations











(Curtain Raiser Interview : Prof. Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog)

(Curtain Raiser Interview : Mr. Tomio Shichiri, FAO Representative in India)


Pathways for Enhancing Farmers’ Income, Nutritional Security and Sustainable Food Systems 

Inaugural Session: 19 January 2021 | 4:00 to 4:45 pm (click for Programme | Video)
Overview Session: 19 January 2021 | 5:00 to 6:30 pm (click for Programme | Video)
Technical Sessions: 20 January 2021 | 2:00 to 6:30 pm (click for Programme | Video)
Technical Sessions: 21 January 2021 | 2:00 to 6:30 pm (click for Programme | Video)
Technical Sessions: 22 January 2021 | 2:00 to 5:00 pm (click for Programme | Video)
Closing Plenary: 22 January 2021 | 5:00 to 6:30 pm (click for Programme | Video)

Media Interaction: 22 January 2021 | 6:30 to 7:00 pm (click for Programme | Video)

All timings in IST (GMT +5.5)

Indian agriculture is typically identified with the ‘Green Revolution’ that started in the 1960s enabling the nation to make great strides in domestic food production and significantly contributing to progress in agriculture and allied sectors. It transformed India from a food-deficit nation to a food-surplus, export-oriented country. However, now the country is facing second-generation problems, especially related to sustainability, nutrition, the adoption of new agricultural technologies and, perhaps most importantly, income levels of the population dependent on farming. Agriculture is facing new and unprecedented challenges. The government is continuously engaged in addressing these challenges, and relevant departments are involved in the administration of existing programmes and policies. However, there is a recognised need for more long-term directional reorientation of food, agriculture, and farm policies. The country is known for its diversity of farming practices. It is important to get diverse points of view engaged in a national-level dialogue to find suitable solutions for the future.

The national dialogue aims to complement efforts of the NITI Aayog and Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW) in designing a post-Green Revolution future for the country. Both recognise that the challenges, for which the ‘Green Revolution’ was rolled out, have since been addressed to a great extent in a large part of the country. There is a clear need now for a transformative vision for the next decade. This national dialogue is about thinking through the transformation and what it means for both policy and practice. The areas that need special attention have been identified through a collaborative process with NITI Aayog and MoA&FW, under the overall guidance of a Steering Committee of agricultural experts. Papers have been commissioned on priority themes mentioned below, and will form the basis for the dialogue, which will be organised in dedicated thematic sessions. The dialogue process will eventually lead to a pathways document that will be presented to the Government of India and State Governments.

The NITI Aayog, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) initiated a national dialogue in the country in 2019 for facilitating the transformation of India’s agriculture. The development of its design was an iterative process amongst NITI Aayog, officials of MoA&FW and FAO staff. A steering committee was formed with a dozen domain experts in the field of food and agriculture, representing a wide range of agricultural and allied sectors expertise. FAO functions as the working secretariat. The committee is chaired by Prof Ramesh Chand, renowned agricultural economist and Member, NITI Aayog. The committee has held six meetings through which its members agreed on the priority themes for the dialogue and through which preparations for the national conference were also undertaken.  Papers have been commissioned to select authors on different thematic areas, which are listed below. These will form the basis of discussion. In the spirit of dialogue, new insights and ideas will be exchanged. The first round of the dialogue process will be held as virtual sessions from 19-22 January 2021. The second round of brainstorming will be held in mid-2021 to consolidate ideas and recommendations into ways forward for the next decade.

Transformational Change: Re-mandating Indian Agriculture

This overview paper lays down the rationale for the foundational change required in Indian agriculture. In doing so it explains the purpose of this national dialogue. It points towards the policy changes required to reorient India’s food and farming system from focusing on mere production to enhancing farmers’ incomes and ecological security.

Chair: Prof Ramesh Chand, Member NITI Aayog and Chairperson, Steering Committee of the National Dialogue

Address by Mr Maximo Torero Cullen, FAO Chief Economist

Theme Presentation:

  • Prof Ramesh Chand, Hon’ble Member NITI Aayog
  • Mr Shyam Khadka, Former FAOR in India


  • Mr Alok Sinha, Former Chairman, Food Corporation of India
  • Mr Ashish Bahuguna, Former Secretary, Agriculture, Government of India

The themes below were arrived at through extensive discussion amongst co-organisers and the Steering Committee, and capture the coverage of contents of this dialogue process. These thematic papers will be circulated prior to the respective sessions and will be presented and discussed at the technical sessions of the conference. After this, the authors will be requested to incorporate the feedback and submit a final version of the paper.

The paper analyses the trajectory of agricultural transformation using different indicators to discuss the likely path of transformation for Indian agriculture.

Chair: Dr T Nandakumar, Former Secretary, Agriculture

Theme Presentation:

  • Dr Ashok Gulati, Infosys Chair Professor for Agriculture, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER)
  • Ms Ritika Juneja, Consultant, ICRIER


  • Mr. Ajay Vir Jakhar, Chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj
  • Dr Arabinda K Padhee, Director, Country Relations, The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)


  • Pests, Pandemics, Preparedness and Bio-security (Abstract: Hindi / English)

In the light of the pandemic, desert locust attacks and other natural disasters, this paper explores new and emerging challenges confronting Indian agriculture, while looking towards the horizon on ways to undertake disaster risk reduction.

Chair: Dr B N Tripathi, DDG, Animal Sciences, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

Theme Presentation:

  • Dr N K Krishna Kumar, Regional Representative, South and Central Asia, Bioversity International
  • Dr S Vennila, Principal Scientist, ICAR


  • Dr A K Singh, DDG (Horticulture & Crop Science), National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS)
  • Dr Praveen Malik, Animal Husbandry Commissioner, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD), Government of India
  • Dr N Bakthavatsalam, Director, National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources (NBAIR)
  • Dr Rajesh Bhatia, Regional Technical Adviser on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), FAO
  • Mr Keith Cressman, Senior Locust Forecasting Officer, FAO


  • Natural Farming, Agro ecological and Biodiverse Futures

This session delves deeper into understanding the value proposition of agroecology and natural farming systems. Though natural farming systems is one of the subset practices in the current agricultural landscape, it has significant positive attribution to conserve and enhance agrobiodiversity. The session will discuss the potential of such systems to meet the challenges of food and nutritional security, achieve optimal efficacy in natural resource exploitation, integrate technology and innovation, augment climate resilience and guarantee economic viability. And, is natural farming system future ready?
*The thematic paper on the Natural Farming, Agro ecological and Biodiverse Futures is currently being drafted.

Chair: Mr Satya Tripathi, UN Assistant Secretary General and Head of New York office, UN Environment Programme

Theme Presentation:

  • Mr Vijay Kumar, RySS, Andra Pradesh Community Managed Natural Farming, Ex-Officio Chief Secretary to the Government of Andhra Pradesh  (view)
  • Dr Ravi Prabhu, Director Innovation, Investment and Impact, World Agroforestry (view)


  • Dr Bruno Dorin, Agriculture Economist, The French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD)
  • Dr Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW)

  • Structural Reforms and Governance (Abstract: Hindi / English)

This paper examines the role of structural reforms and governance issues for transformation of agriculture sector and provide pathways for reforming policies and institutions for a sustainable and resilient agriculture and food systems.

Chair: Dr S Rashid, Director for South Asia, The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Theme Presentation:

  • Dr Seema Bathla, Professor, Centre for the Study of Regional Development (CSRD), Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Mr Siraj Hussain, Senior Visiting Fellow, ICRIER


  • Dr Sukhpal Singh, Professor, and Chairperson, Centre for Management in Agriculture (CMA), Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad
  • Dr Pravesh Sharma, former Managing Director, Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC), Government of India
  • Dr Saurabh Garg, Principal Secretary (Agriculture), Government of Odisha


  • Climate Crisis and Risk Management (Abstract: Hindi / English)

This paper explores the different types of risks affecting food and farm systems, especially production, marketing, and pricing risks as well as climatic crises. The secondary objective is to provide pathways for building resilient food systems.

Chair: Dr Ashok Dalwai, CEO, National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA)

Theme Presentation:

  • Dr Pramod K Aggarwal, Regional Program Director, Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), India
  • Dr Joyashree Roy, Bangabandhu Chair Professor, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT)


  • Dr Kavi Kumar, Professor, Madras School of Economics
  • Dr Pratap S Birthal, Fellow, National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NIAP)


This paper critically documents key challenges and explore opportunities for efficient use of water in agriculture and allied sectors. The paper traverses through the diverse waterscapes of the country. It then projects the water requirement for farming by 2030 in view of changing food systems and climate change. The paper also provides pathways for effectively and efficiently conserving and utilising water in agriculture.

Chair:  Dr Himanshu Kulkarni, Executive Director and Secretary, Advance Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM)

Theme Presentation:

  • Dr Mihir Shah, Co-founder, Samaj Pragati Sahayog (SPS)
  • Mr Vijayshankar PS, Founder Member, SPS


  • Dr B Venkateswarlu, Former Vice Chancellor, Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Krishi Vidyapeet
  • Dr Alok K Sikka, Representative – India & Principal Researcher, International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
  • Mr. Shrikant Goenka, President, Micro Irrigation Association of India


  • Dietary Diversity for Nutritive and Safe food (Abstract: Hindi / English)

This paper shows how dietary pattern among rich and poor in India is changing, and what are the drivers influencing the changing pattern. How are rich and poor responding to changing incomes and prices in deciding their diets? Also, it examines how social safety-net programmes are contributing to enhancing food and nutritional security. Finally, the paper will provide pathways for safe and healthy diets for nutritional security.

Chair: Dr V K Paul, Member, NITI Aayog

Theme Presentation:

  • Prof S Mahendra Dev, Director and Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR)
  • Dr Vijay Laxmi Pandey, Professor, IGIDR


  • Dr Hemalatha R., Director, ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition
  • Dr Mahtab S Bamji, Indian National Science Academy (INSA) Emeritus Scientist, Dangoria Charitable Trust
  • Dr Purnima Menon, Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI – Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division


  • Science, Technology and Innovation (Abstract: Hindi / English)

This paper explores the new role of science, technology and innovation in making agriculture more efficient, competitive and sustainable.

Chair: Dr V K Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog

Theme Presentation:

  • Dr R B Singh, President, NAAS
  • Dr Malavika Dadlani, President, Indian Society of Seed Technology (ISST)


  • Dr K V Prabhu, Chairperson, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority, Government of India
  • Dr Deepak Pental, Ex Vice Chancellor, Department of Genetics, University of Delhi


A Pathways Document will be developed based on the inputs and feedback from the first round of the policy dialogue, which can inform Government programmes and strategies for agriculture and allied sectors in the coming decade. This is to complement the ‘production-plus’ approach already adopted.

The participants and intended audience include all stakeholders; relevant ministries and departments of the Government of India and State Governments; the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), State Agricultural Universities (SAUs), farmers’ groups, academia, international organisations and civil society. Media will be invited to cover the event.

The original intent of the organisers was to hold a physical event in New Delhi. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, respecting participants health and safety concerns, the dialogue sessions will be held virtually in the afternoon on the four days (19-22 January 2021). 

A photo essay documenting the dialogue process through 2019-2021.

We welcome comments from the audience on the Discussion Papers presented during this National Dialogue. Aside from participating in the virtual conference, the audience may:

  • Provide comments on Discussion Papers for each theme by 01 March 2021 (email to [email protected]); and 
  • Suggest Case Studies and Best Practices for inclusion in the Pathways Document by 31 March 2021 (email to [email protected]). 

NITI Aayog, also called the National Institution for Transforming India, is a policy think tank of the Government of India, established with the aim of achieving the SDGs through cooperative federalism, fostering the involvement of State Governments in India in the economic policy-making process using a bottom-up approach.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW) is the nodal ministry of the Government of India overseeing agricultural and allied sectors in the country.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Its goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. With over 194 member states, FAO has been working in over 130 countries worldwide for the last 75 years. FAO has enjoyed a longstanding and valuable partnership with India since it began operations in the country in 1948. It continues to play a catalytic role in India’s progress in the areas of crops, livestock, fisheries, food security, and management of natural resources.


NITI Aayog

Dr Neelam Patel
Senior Advisor, Agriculture
[email protected]


Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW)

Director (IC)
[email protected]
+ 91 – 11 -23381507


Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)

Mr Tomio Shichiri
FAO Representative in India

Ms Ingrid D’Souza
Administrative Assistant

[email protected]


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