At the recent Deccan CSR Summit a panel discussion was held on ‘Integrating Smart Food across programs’ to discuss ways in which Smart Food can be included into existing initiatives. The discussion focused on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) engagement on health/nutrition, agriculture development, entrepreneurship programs, education and agribusiness programs, among other aspects.
Joanna Kane-Potaka, Director External Relations and Strategic Marketing, ICRISAT, moderated the discussion. The flagship summit brought together companies, foundations, not-for-profits, entrepreneurs and policy makers under one roof on 22 February in Hyderabad.
She set the tone for the discussion by underlining that Smart Food is good for the consumer (highly nutritious), good for planet (sustainable) and good (viable) for the farmer. Millets and legumes are recognized as Smart Foods. They are growing in popularity with increasing awareness among consumers and food companies.
“We are calling for programs that support farmers to educate them about nutritional value of these crops and their environmental value. There is a need to help entrepreneurs who want set up businesses and marketing of Smart Food,” she added, defining the scope of discussion while inviting the panellists to present.
The panel had a wide range of participants in terms of the organizational affiliations and sectors they represented.
Following are the panellists and the theme or topic they spoke on:
- Leigh Fisher, CSR External Relations & Partnerships, The Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad, spoke on how education or nutrition CSR programs can incorporate Smart Foods (like millets) to have a better outcome and how best to do this.
- Dr Dayakar Rao, PI Center of Excellence for Agribusiness, ICAR-International Institute of Millets Research, spoke on how agribusiness incubation can support SMEs and the role CSR can play.
- HG Satya Gaura Chandra Dasa, President, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana and Hare Krishna Movement-Hyderabad, spoke on approaches to bringing Smart Food into meal schemes.
- Sitaram K, Founder & Managing Trustee, GrameenMall Foundation, spoke about working directly with farmers to improve livelihoods through Smart Food.
- Dibyajyoti Borgohain Saikia, Co-Founder, Ind Millet Foods, spoke on challenges of SMEs and how CSR can support SMEs in Smart Food.
- Sridhar Iriventi, Founder and Director of GoBhaarati, spoke on how CSR can influence bottom-of-the-pyramid kitchens in to preventive pharma, using Smart Food.