Debates on Food Technologies in India: R&D Priorities, Production Trends and Growing Expectations

Abstract: Technological interventions have contributed to increased yields and food security. Given the diverse needs and objectives policy makers have to deploy different technologies and strategies in food and agriculture. This discussion paper examines the use of three different technological options in the Indian agriculture. It shows that support to organic farming is increasing but at this stage innovation related inputs are least and traditional plant breeding has played a key role in agriculture. Examined in the context of ethics in S&T, these applications indicate that a mix of suitable policies can result in beneficial outcomes by enhancing food security and reducing the vulnerability of farmers. A discourse analysis in terms of innovation, risk and power and control reveals that innovation discourse plays a key role in legitimising policy decisions while risk and control discourses are invoked by critics. In the Indian context, the ethical dimension in S&T policy can be explored in terms of Access, Inclusion and Equity (AIE) Framework. It is important to confer how far India has been able to work out the policy options for developing an effective framework which can address emergent agricultural challenges and the issue of AIE. This paper outlines the application of this framework in agriculture and food sector in India. 

Keywords: Science, technology and innovation, biotechnology, GM, organic agriculture, traditional breeding