Agriculture / Food Security

Agriculture / Food Security Go Back

Food availability is a necessary condition for food security. India is more or less self-sufficient in cereals but deficit in pulses and oilseeds. Due to changes in consumption patterns, demand for fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, poultry, and fisheries has been increasing. There is need to increase crop diversification and improve allied activities

According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Food security has three components, viz., availability, access, and absorption (nutrition). The three are interconnected. Many studies have shown that improvement in nutrition is important, even for increase in productivity of workers. Thus, food security has intrinsic (for its own sake) as well as instrumental (for increasing productivity) value.

Some of the pressing issues related to Agriculture/Food Security

  1. India ranks 97th out of 118 countries on the 2016 Global Hunger Index. Countries worse than India include extremely poor African countries such as Niger, Chad, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone besides two of India's neighbours: Afghanistan and Pakistan. Other neighbours Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and China are all ranked above India.
  2. The main occupation in India is agriculture, because 70 per cent of the population is involved in this occupation. Agriculture sector employs 4/5th of all economically-active women in the country. 48% of India’s self-employed farmers are women.
  3. 68% of India’s agriculture is dependent on rain-fed crops and even modest alterations in the intensity, frequency, and timing of rainfall can disrupt agriculture production
  4. India has malnutrition levels almost double those of many countries in Africa
  5. The official estimates show that income poverty declined from 55 per cent in the early 1970s to 22 per cent in 2011-12. Although there has been progress in this regard still more than 270 million are below poverty line.
  6. Under National Food Security Law (2013), the government wants to provide 5 kilograms of rice and wheat at Rs.3/kg and Rs.2/kg respectively per person per month. This is too narrow an approach for Right to Food.

The Millennium Alliance is actively looking for innovations in the agriculture/food security domain that promises to bring access to food to the needy at the right time, right quantity, and at the right price.