19 April 2008

India Food Production

I think the below extract, taken from an article by an Indian agricultural scientist, most interesting in light of the current crisis in food prices throughout the world. In this respect even with over a billion people to feed, India is totally committed to ensuring internal food production is sufficient to meet the needs of domestic consumption instead of relying upon imports.

“India is in a precarious position with food grain production stagnating. Wheat and rice yields are either stagnating or plummeting, thanks to the combined effect of the environmental fallout from monoculture, degraded soils, escalating soil salinity and drying aquifers and a combination of the mindless use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and inefficent use of water. Cereal availability is down to 400 gm per capita per day compared to 475 gms in 1976. And in the cases of pulses, the per rate capita is 33 gms a day compared to 61 rams a day in 1951.

Instead of despairing about the gloomy situation on the food front, India needs to gear up and:

1. Expand wheat area.
2. Put in place a National Grain Policy. On no account should it allow the acreage under food grains, currently at 69 per cent of total arable land, to shrink.
3. Abolish the concept of the MSP and put in place a market driver price mechanism where Indian wheat farmers get the best price that will help the Government buy enough grains for public distribution and domestic consumption.
4. Put in place a wheat consortium where private millers and government join hands.
5. Throw ay the ‘text book’ knowledge of soil management as India’s fatigued soil is crying out for real attention.
6. Examine crop distribution in the case of sugarcane where a huge surplus is grown for export and thereby depriving land for growth of food for domestic consumption.
7. Extend the wheat area into South India.
8. Redesign the entire fertiliser subsidy programme and make it farmer oriented.”

[With thanks to KP Prabhakaran Nair]

1 comment:

Divya said...

Good ideas there. Hopefully they are being put into practice!