India, too, has been faced with the food problem from time to time. There a number of factors responsible for this problem. First of all, the province which produced excess foodgrains went to Pakistan after Independence Secondly, the farmers in India are still using the same centuries- old methods cultivation. They use seeds which are not of standard quality. The farmers’ India is still very poor. They do’ not have any spare capital for modernistic of agriculture. The net result of all this is that the per hectare yield in Indian much lower than that of many countries of the world.
Thirdly, Indian agriculture is a gamble in the monsoons. If the rains a scanty, output of foodgrains suffers. Scarcity of rains causes famine and: drought. If the rains are plenty, the prospects of a bumper crop improve. But if rains are very heavy, there are floods which damage or even wash away the crops.
Fourthly, population explosion in India exerts great pressure on the availability of foodgrains-. Whatever increase is achieved in foodgrai production is eaten up by the rise in population.
Fifthly, unscrupulous traders hoard the foodgrains and cause an artificial scarcity so as to sell foodgrains in the black market. They buy foodgrains at the time of harvest at cheap rates from the poor farmers and sell the same later on at exorbitant prices. A huge quantity of foodgrains is also destroyed by pests like rats, etc. It is to be regretted that while millions of people starve in many parts of our country, some affluent people waste a lot of food by throwing big parties and feasts.
Food is one of the basic necessities of life. Our Government should, therefore, pay serious attention to the problem of food shortages. It should improve irrigation facilities, modernise methods of cultivation, extend easy loans to farmers, and provide certified seeds and fertilizers to fanners at reasonable prices. The Government should also give a remunerative price to the farmers for their produce.
Government should also come down heavily on hoarders and black- marketers. No leniency should be shown to these anti-social elements. The public distribution system should be strengthened by opening fairer price shops, especially in the far-flung areas of the country inhabited by tribal’s and the weaker sections of the society. The menace of rats and other pests should be removed by scientific management of warehouses which contain buffer stocks. The losses caused by the menace of rats and other pests should also be reduced greatly.
India is failing its rural poor with 230 million people being undernourished – the highest for any country in the world. Malnutrition accounts for nearly 50% of child deaths in India as every third adult (aged 15-49 years) is reported to be thin (BMI less than 18.5). According to the latest report on the state of food insecurity in rural India, more than 1.5 million children are at risk of becoming malnourished because of rising global food prices. The report said that while general inflation declined from a 13-year high exceeding 12% in July 2008 to less than 5% by the end of January 2009, the inflation for food articles doubled from 5% to over 11 % during the same period. Foodgrain harvest during 2008- 09 is estimated to be a record 228 million tonnes. However, the requirement for the national population would exceed 250 million tonnes by 2015.