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Essay on National Food Policy of India (1960 Words)

1. Measures to increase output of food grain.

i. In view of shrinking land and water resources, the singular option for India to meet the future challenge food, fiber and other needs is through increase in productivity.

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ii. The only way to achieve this goal in a sustainable manner is through the scientific and need based integrated nutrient management.

iii. The micronutrient deficiency in crops is growing rapidly both in extent and intensity with the green revolution affecting human nutrition as well. Zinc, Copper, Iron, Manganese have emerged as major micronutrient deficiency in the soil.

iv. Availability of necessary micronutrient carriers. There is need to promote increased use of organic manners, which will meet some of the micronutrient requirements.

v. The question of subsidy on fertilizer should be viewed from a national perspective of food security nutritional security and national independence.

vi. A gradual change is preferable to sudden ad-hoc change in subsidy.

vii. There is need a critical review of pricing policy of fertilizers, agricultural commodities and of subsidy by a panel of experts, agronomists, soil scientists, plant scientists, agricultural economists, fertilizer industry and farmers representatives.

viii. It also refers (i) to increase the technological measure (i.e.) adopt of improved technology in production and (ii) improvement in land reform.

2. Measures concerning Distribution of food grains:

It includes improvement in organization of food zone and creation of buffer stock in state trading. To improve food situation, it is necessary to ensure regularity and certainty in food supplies. Accordingly it becomes essential to create sufficient buffer stock in the years of excess supply to meet their extra demand during the lean years.

Hence Govt, set up Food Corporation of India in January 1965 to undertake purchase, handling, transport, storage and distribution of food grains on behalf of government. The storage capacity of corporation currently is 17.26 m.t.

3. Procurement of food grains and regularization of public distribution

4. Procurement from whole sales

5. Import of food grains

International food policy:

According to the report of the International Food Policy Research Institute (1992), Washington, food security is basically defined as access by all people, at all times, to the food, needed for a healthy life. The food security concept thus addresses people’s risk of not having access to the required food (i.e., food insecurity). These risks can broadly encompass the major demands of crop production and productivity improvement, efficient public distribution systems, employment generation for poverty alleviation; and last but not the least, household food security ensuring enough food to meet adequate dietary intake of all its members.

The latest estimates of the FAO in its Bulletin published on the state of food in security in the world (FAO, 2000) have indicated that roughly about 826 million people are undemourished-of them, 729 million people in the developing world, and 34 million in the developed world. The report, in analyzing region-wise depth of hunger regime, has critically observed that ‘to develop lasting solution to end hunger, it is important to know not only how many people are hungry but how hungry they are’. The daily diets of the 826 million chronically hungry people in the world lack an average intake shortage of 100-400 kilocalories, diminishing their ability to lead an active life.

The greater the depth of this hunger, the greater is the vulnerability to the nutrition-related health risk. However, expressing optimism, FAO projection to 2015 AD suggests that ‘due to progressively declining population growth and increase in productivity and income level, more people will escape the prison of hunger’. The food security, thus in its true sense of the word, as derived from the Latin word ‘Secures’, means free from care and anxiety and hence implies not only access to but right to food.

Food security:

One of the finest Indian success stories of post-independent era has been the Green Revolution of sixties, which salvaged the country from being a chronic importer of foodgrains into an exporter. Since independence, while the population has increased 3 times, foodgrains production increased 4 times from 50.8 million tonnes during 1950-51 to 200 million tonnes by 200 AD. In the post­green revolution era, besides foodgrains production, significant achievements have been made in the field of milk, building up of strong agriculture R&D systems, extension services and human resource development programmes etc.

Attainment of food security is going to be the biggest challenge for the country from the very beginning of new millennium. According to the World Watch Institute, Washington, the average annual increase in foodgrains production, on a global basis, was 30 million tonnes between 1950 and 1954, which dropped down to 12 million tonnes during 1984-92 caloric gap in human nutrition. To meet the demand of our population @ 1.8% and average annual growth rate of 4.5%, according to some recent estimates, the country will need about 260-264 million metric tonnes of foodgrains, 130- 150 million metric tonnes of milk, 151-193 million metric tonnes of vegetables, 80-106 million metric tonnes of fruits, 10-14 million metric tonnes of fish and 12 million metric tonnes of edible oils to provide adequate nutrition to 1.35 billion people by 2020 AD.

Between now and 2020 AD world population will increase by about 40%, to a total of about 8 billion people. Much of this increase will occur in developing countries, including India, where urban population will grow at the rate of more than triple as that of now. According to some estimates, India’s population is projected to grow @ 1.62% annually during Ninth Plan and will gradually decline to 1.5% per annum during millennium ending 2021 AD. The country’s population will thus increase from 934 million in 1996 to 1012 million in 2021 AD and 1350 million in 2011 AD, an increase of about 45% over 1996.

Against the population projected above, the long-term projection made by Dr. Swaminathan and Sinha in 1970 is that the ultimate foodgrains production potential of the country by 2050 AD is estimated at 450 million tonnes of foodgrains on the basis of total photosynthetic abilities of foodgrain crops around that period.

Based on the estimates made by the Ministry of Agriculture in its Draft Document ‘Indian Agriculture: Vision 2020 AD, the demand for foodgrains is estimated at 324 million tonnes to meet the foodgrains demands of 1350 million people.

During 1999-2000, foodgrains production touched 200 million tonnes mark; together with a very significant achievement in horticulture sector. India becoming the largest producer of fruits and second largest producer of vegetables in the world. To add further, India has emerged the largest producer of milk with 78 million tonnes production level before entering into twenty-first century, leaving behind USA and the European Union.

A strategy for food security based largely on self-sufficiency in food production has the advantage of promoting both productivity and purchasing power among small peasants and agricultural labourers. In general, policies for improving household food security, forming an integrate component of food security, should include:

(i) Development strategies and macro- economic policies that would create conditions for growth with equity;

(ii) Accelerating growth in the food and agricultural sectors which provide direct sources of food and income with which to buy food;

(iii) Promoting rural development that focuses on the poor;

(iv) Improving access to land and other natural resources;

(v) Providing cheap credit for poor households;

(vi) Increasing employment opportunities;

(vii) Introducing income transfer scheme, including provision of public distribution of subsidised cheap food;

(viii) Stablizing food supplies and food prices;

(ix) Improving emergency-preparedness- planning for providing food and during natural disasters like drought, flood, earthquakes etc.

The right to food for freedom from hunger:

The United Nations have legitimately considered the access of around 826 million hungry people of the developing world to adequate food as a universal human right and collective responsibility, as are approximately reflected from the set milestones and the understandings reached from the conclusions of the following international conventions held during past half-a-century.

i. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which recognized that ‘everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well­being of himself and his family, including food… ‘.

ii. The International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), which stressed the ‘right of everyone adequate food’ and specified that to be free from hunger is a fundamental right of everyone.

iii. The World Food Conference (1974), convened in Rome by the United Nations, which reaffirmed that ‘every man, women and child has the inalienable right to be free from hunger and malnutrition in order to develop fully and maintain their physical and mental faculties’.

iv. The World Food Security Compact (1984), which stated that ‘food security was the common responsibility of humankind, requiring a moral commitment and international co-operation’.

v. The International Conference on Nutrition (1992), convened by FAO and the World Health Organization, which examined in detail the problems of hunger, malnutrition and diet-related diseases.

vi. The World Food Summit (1996), prepared and hosted by FAO, which aimed to secure a political commitment to establishing food security within an agreed frame-work of action, including targets for the reduction of hunger.

vii. The State of Food Insecurity in the World (2000) draws on FAO’s on-going work of monitoring the nutritional status of populations world-wide and analyzing their degree of food insecurity and vulnerability. This work represents part of FAO’s contribution to the Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System (FIVIMS) initiative, which is being established at the global and national levels.

Realignment of Research Priorities to Address Food Security:

In the words of Dr. Amartya Sen ‘Most countries in the world have achieved economic prosperity and eliminated economic insecurity through industrialization and along with that, by putting agriculture on a higher technological basis’. The entire research and development programmes aiming at improvement of production and productivity to achieve self-sufficiency, from the First to the Ninth Plan, spanning five decades, can be grouped into four phases. According to ICAR: Vision 2020.

i. Conservation, planned enhancement and utilization of agro-biodiversity.

ii. Enhancing productivity through evolution of high-yielding hybrids and varieties.

iii. Research on diversification, quality improvement, post-harvest technology, value-addition and export-oriented commodities.

iv. Sustaining enhanced productivity of irrigated agriculture and judicious development and use of energy, especially renewable sources of energy.

v. Characterization and development of sustainable land-use models for rainfed agriculture in high-rainfall areas.

vi. Development of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Integrated Nutrient Management System (INMS) approaches and systems for sustainable agriculture.

vii. Fostering excellence in relevant basic and strategic research.

viii. Generating research and technologies geared to promote equity among regions, sectors of society and gender.

ix. Strengthening social science, policy planning, agri-business and research monitoring mechanisms.

x. Strengthening Agricultural Research Information System (ARIS).

xi. Promoting the Agricultural Human Resource Development (AHRD).

xii. Linking scientists with the farmers through Institute-Village-Linkage Programme (IVLP) as an innovative technology transfer model.

xiii. Institutionalization and strengthening linkages/partnerships with CGIAR and under national and international agencies and research and development establishment, non-government organizations (NGOs), farmer organizations, private sector etc.

xiv. Explore alternative or non-conventional plant resources for diversification of agriculture so as to enhance the food, fodder, fibre and fuelwood production.

xv. Provide solutions which are relevant, technically sound, economically viable, socio-culturally acceptable, eco-friendly and systems-responsive.

xvi. Enhance the use of biofertilizers and biopesticides and biodegradable chemicals in agriculture.

xvii. Strengthen the production base by harnessing modern scientific knowledge and translate it in the form of crop plants which are high-yielding, resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses, and efficient in input use.

xviii. Improve skill and productivity of farm women with accent on social engineering and empowerment.

xix. State-of-the-art technology for post-havest management and agro-processing.

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