Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2, Zero Hunger, is one of the 17 SDGs adopted by the United Nations. The goal aims to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. Hunger and malnutrition are major global challenges, and India is no exception. According to the Global Hunger Index 2022, India ranks 107 out of 121 countries in terms of hunger and malnutrition. Therefore, concerted efforts are required to address this issue. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can play a significant role in achieving SDG 2 in India.
1. Supporting Sustainable Agriculture
Agriculture is a vital sector in India, providing livelihoods to millions of people and playing a critical role in the country’s food security. However, Indian agriculture is facing several challenges, such as climate change, land degradation, and water scarcity. To address these challenges, companies can invest in initiatives that promote sustainable agriculture practices, such as crop diversification, soil conservation, and water management.
The Adani Group has launched a project to promote sustainable agriculture among smallholder farmers in Gujarat. The project includes training on sustainable farming practices, access to quality inputs, and market linkages.
2. Improving Access to Nutritious Food
Malnutrition is a significant challenge in India, with high levels of stunting and wasting among children. Companies can invest in programs that improve access to nutritious food, such as school feeding programs, community kitchens, and food banks.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation operates a mid-day meal program that serves over 1.8 million children in government schools across India. The program provides nutritious meals to children, which helps improve their health and educational outcomes. Several companies such as Biocon, BHEL, DMart, and Edelgive, among others, support the organisation as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
3. Supporting Smallholder Farmers
Smallholder farmers are an essential part of the food system in India, producing a significant share of the country’s food. Companies can invest in initiatives that support smallholder farmers, such as farmer-producer organizations, agri-extension services, and access to markets.
The e-Choupal initiative launched by ITC Limited connects smallholder farmers with markets, information, and services through digital technology. The initiative has benefited over four million farmers in 12 states in India, improving their incomes and livelihoods.
4. Collaborating with Other Stakeholders
Companies can collaborate with other stakeholders, such as the government, civil society organizations, and academia, to achieve SDG 2. Collaboration can help align initiatives with national priorities, leverage resources and expertise, and ensure a more significant impact. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has launched the Indian Food Industry Collaborative Platform (IFICP), which aims to bring together stakeholders from the food industry, government, and academia to promote sustainable and inclusive growth in the sector.
Corporate philanthropy can play a critical role in achieving SDG 2 in India. By investing in sustainable agriculture, improving access to nutritious food, supporting smallholder farmers, and collaborating with other stakeholders, companies can help create a more sustainable and equitable food system. The Indian government and civil society organizations must work with the private sector to ensure that initiatives are coordinated and aligned with national priorities. By working together, we can achieve SDG 2 and ensure that no one goes hungry in India.