World Sustainable Gastronomy Day Fetes India's Advances

India has taken significant strides in sustainable gastronomy, with the nation's diverse cuisine and innovative food industry setting the pace for the global movement towards eco-friendly practices
Global food and agriculture face challenges from increasing demand due to population growth, hunger, climate change, resource depletion, biodiversity loss, and food waste
Global food and agriculture face challenges from increasing demand due to population growth, hunger, climate change, resource depletion, biodiversity loss, and food waste

In recent years, the Indian food industry has made significant progress towards achieving sustainability goals. Indian cuisine plays a crucial role in shaping global food practices, and the industry is adopting eco-friendly packaging materials and measures to reduce its plastic footprint. As of May 2023, there were 4,979 recognised food and agri-tech startups making an impact in 523 districts across India.The World Sustainable Gastronomy Day, celebrated on June 18 to highlight the significance of gastronomy, also known as the art of food, acknowledges this fact.

Art of food encompasses a style of cooking specific to a region, focusing on local food and cuisine. Sustainable gastronomy involves considering the origins of ingredients, methods of food production, and the journey from source to plate.

The day promotes sustainable gastronomy's role in food security, agricultural development, and biodiversity conservation. This year, it includes the launch of Sustainable Gastronomy Restaurant Week, focusing on ‘More Taste, Less Waste’.

WFF and FAO are collaborating with local businesses run by young chefs in Rome and other cities to create special menus dedicated to sustainable gastronomy. The initiative aims to reduce food waste while using fresh, seasonal ingredients and following sustainability guidelines. Sustainable food and agriculture (SFA) contributes to all pillars of food security and the dimensions of sustainability.

Global food and agriculture face challenges from increasing demand due to population growth, hunger, climate change, resource depletion, biodiversity loss, and food waste. Traditional Indian ingredients like turmeric, ginger, and garlic offer health benefits. In India, food entrepreneurs combine traditional and modern techniques to innovate the food industry.

India is a major contributor to global cuisine through its agricultural exports. In April-June 2023, spice exports increased by 18.2 percent, and fruits and vegetables by 14.1 percent compared to the same period in 2022. The Economic Survey 2022-23 highlights that 47 percent of the Indian population relies on agriculture for livelihood. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has implemented various programmes to ensure access to quality food and sustainable practices while supporting farmers' financial well-being.

Indian cuisine is very rich and diverse and has recently been ranked fifth among the world’s cuisines. Its global acceptance is increasing, and the impact of Indian food has led to a shift towards plant-based foods worldwide. A large number of Indians follow vegetarianism and veganism, and the consumption of cereals, legumes, lentils, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products forms the foundation of Indian cuisine. The Indian diet's emphasis on plant-based foods reduces the environmental impact associated with meat production, including deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.

e-National Agriculture Market (eNAM) is an online marketplace in India connecting farmers, traders, and purchasers to create a standardised national market for agricultural commodities by linking APMC mandis across the country.

The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) focuses on enhancing agricultural productivity in rainfed areas through integrated farming, water use efficiency, soil health management, and resource conservation.

The Eat Right Initiative, launched by FSSAI, is a public health campaign promoting healthy and safe eating habits among the Indian populace.

The Digital Agriculture Mission (DAM) initiative, launched in September 2021, supports agri-tech startups by leveraging the latest technological advances in areas like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, the Internet of Things, Blockchain, cloud computing, earth observation, and remote sensing.

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