India’s ambitious Zero Hunger Programme through interventions in form sector was launched in three districts, namely- Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, Koraput in Odisha and Thane in Maharashtra, on 16 October 2017.

  • 16 October is observed globally as World Food Day. The zero hunger programme planned in these three districts will focus on agriculture, nutrition, and health in a symbiotic manner.
  • The Programme will be initiated by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research the (ICAR) in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation and the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).

Key highlights of the Zero Hunger Programme

  • The programme will ensure suitable methods of measuring the impact of an intervention.
  • There will be an intensive training programme in order to identify the nutritional maladies in each district and the appropriate agricultural/horticultural and animal husbandry remedies.”
  • The concerned state governments will also be involved in the programme which consists of organisations of the farming system for nutrition, setting up genetic gardens for biofortified plants/crops and initiation of a 'Zero Hunger' training.

What is a Genetic Garden for biofortified plants/crops?

  • It is a garden that contains the germplasm of naturally biofortified crops or such crops through plant breeding. These gardens are a house for plants and crops that help supplement micro-nutrient deficiencies, including iron, iodine, vitamin A and zinc among others.
  • Under the UN-approved SDGs, which were adopted by countries including India in 2015, the government is expected to ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices in the country.