\'Prefer native food than fast food,\' says Vice President

The Vice President was speaking at a function to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity.

Chennai: Vice President Venkaiah Naidu pitched for the consumption of seasonal and local food, even as he advised people not to be carried away by advertisements that promote pizzas and burgers.

Expressing concern over extinction of varieties of food crops, Naidu said about 80 per cent of the food supply is based on a few crops such as rice, wheat, maize and millets.

He said such loss of diversity in diet has direct link to lifestyle diseases. The Vice President was here to inaugurate celebrations marking the International Day for Biological Diversity celebrations.

"Indian way of life has been to eat seasonal and locally available food, a principle that is also endorsed by the traditional Indian systems of medicine," Naidu said, adding that pizzas and burgers had no connection with nature.

Doing so, Naidu said, would decrease ecological footprint by reducing the energy requirements in processing, packaging, storing and transportation of food which is non-local and non-seasonal.

He also encouraged promotion of native food. "In our country, the traditional food systems evolved over centuries have proven to be healthier and more balanced from the nutrition point of view," he said.

On extinction of crops, Naidu said, "...we have acquired the capability to produce large quantities of food, we have also simultaneously increased our dependence on just a handful of crops."

"The loss of diversity in diet is directly linked to lifetyle diseases as well. Half of the breed of domestic animals have been lost and over fishing has had its adverse impact on aquatic resources as well," he said.

Frugal use of natural resources, he said, would help achieve sustainable development, adding that current consumption patterns in the industrialised world was unsustainable as they put enormous pressure on natural resources.

The Vice President also expressed concern over loss of trees at an unbelievable pace due to deforestation, urbanisation, industrialisation and pollution.

Earlier in the day, Naidu flagged off the 'Tree Ambulance' initiative, a campaign to save trees, here. The Tree Ambulance has been conceived, designed, fabricated and equipped to provide first aid treatment to trees, aid tree plantation, assist the shifting of trees, carry out seed ball distribution.

It has been launched in various cities including Bundelkhand and Delhi.

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