In India, alleviating hunger, poverty and malnutrition has always been on the top priority of the policy agenda. The nation has made concerted efforts to address these challenges through UN-Millennium Development Goals and we have been partially successful in our efforts, but there is still a long road ahead. Hence, with the intension to leave no one behind, the nation has again adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a bigger plan to eliminate poverty and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. Agriculture in India play important role for the livelihood of poor especially in rural areas. Indian government is already giving high priority to agriculture sector to make it more efficient, competitive, sustainable and resilient with respect to various challenges.

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The theme of present conference “Agriculture and Sustainable Development Goals” is a very vital topic considering the importance of agriculture sector in India. An ancient Indian phrase meaning “the world is one family”, pithily captures the spirit of India’s approach to all aspects of life including economic development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are, thus, part and parcel of the country’s longstanding tradition and heritage.

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Investing in the agricultural sector can address not only hunger and malnutrition but also other challenges including poverty, water and energy use, climate change, and unsustainable production and consumption. Together, we must mobilise scientific, technological and social movements to address these challenges. More than any other sector, agriculture is the common thread which holds the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) together. The SDGs address the complex challenges we face in our interconnected world. 

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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Rapid economic growth and increased agricultural productivity over the past two decades have seen the number of undernourished people drop by almost half. The SDGs aim to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030. This involves promoting sustainable agricultural practices, supporting small scale farmers and allowing equal access to land, technology and markets.

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India has played an important role in shaping the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has been effectively committed to achieve them even before they were fully crystallized. For few SDGs, viz. ‘No Poverty’, ‘Zero Hunger’, ‘Climate Action’ and ‘Life on Land’, agriculture is crucial and significant. Thus, the challenge of meeting the SDGs’ targets depends to a great extent on the performance of agriculture as a supplier of affordable, nutritive and healthy food in an efficient manner. It is, therefore, pertinent to analyze whether several strategies adopted to enhance agricultural productivity are delivering desired results and contributing towards achieving various SDGs.

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Agriculture plays a crucial role in ‘No Poverty’ goal, which is one among the 17 goals of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Extreme poverty and hunger are predominantly rural, with smallholder farmers and their families making up a very significant proportion of the poor and the hungry. Thus, eradicating poverty and hunger are integrally linked to boosting food production, agricultural productivity, and rural incomes. Agriculture systems worldwide must become more productive and less wasteful. Sustainable agricultural practices and food systems, including both production and consumption, must be pursued from a holistic and integrated perspective.

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