Agriculture sector has continued to be the single most important livelihood of the masses in India. This sector has experienced a phenomenon growth since the mid twentieth century all over the world. The growth driven by green revolution technology has made a significant mark on the aggregate supply of food grains, ensuring food security to the growing population. In other words, agriculture sector contributes significantly to sustainable economic development of the country. According to Pretty, Moroson and Hine (2003), Agriculture is critical to maintain food sustainability as development of agriculture can help fight the problem of poverty and food security. Sustainable agriculture refers to the use of farming system and practices to produce food, without causing much and irreversible damage to the ecosystem. India wants to be self-sufficient in food and “food secured”. Therefore, it is imperative for the national food security that we need to grow sufficient food within in the country through sustainable development of agriculture. At the same time for domestic food security, we need to sustain economic growth to raise the income levels and purchasing power of the poor people. Apart from these, agricultural regulation through fixation of food grains procurement price, regulation of consumer prices and public distribution have an important role in ensuring food security at the domestic level, even if self-sufficiency is achieved in food grains at the national level through sustainable agriculture development (Banik 1997, Goyal 2002).
Food security is defined by FAO as a situation in which 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. However, food security is a complex issue. Economically, there is difference between food shortage, food problem and food security. The concept of food shortage is associated with instability of agricultural production. Food problem may arise due to structural or institutional distortions within the economy and food security means average, sufficient food supplies available to meet consumption needs. There is the supply side as well as the demand side aspects of the debate on food security. On the demand side, there are three A’s: Availability, Access and Ability whereas on the supply side, the food security considers three P’s: crop Pattern, food and agricultural Policy and food Production.
A more simple definition, in the context of agriculture, would focus on the sustainability of production over an extended scale of time and space. This essentially would mean that crop production and economic gains would flourish over a long period of time, almost infinitely and globally. Sustainable agricultural is a direct measure to ensure food security to its population. Thus, “the goal of sustainable agricultural is to feed the expanding population while fanning profitability in an ecologically sound, regenerative way”.
It is necessary to promote sustainable agricultural to safeguard food security. The session 2020 document of the National Planning Commission has also reiterated ” India needs to sustain an agricultural growth rate of 4.0 to 4.5 percent in order to reduce food insecurity and poverty significantly (Rao and Radhakrishna, 1997). At this growth rate, agricultural development could more rapidly diversify into horticulture, fishery, dairying, animal husbandry, and other areas and this ensures food security.
Furthermore, Traditional farming technique often fail to produce enough food or enough variety of food for balanced diet. Conventional modern farming focuses on a few commodities, so people still do not have a balanced diet. Sustainable agriculture improves food security by improving the quality and nutritional value of the food, and by producing a bigger range of produce throughout the year.
Objectives of the study:-
* To analyze the India’s position in world agriculture.
* To analyze that how and to what extent sustainable agriculture is affecting food security in India.
Data and methodology:-
This study is based on secondary data. The study makes the frequent use of tabular analysis to analyze the secondary data. Data has been taken from various sources and reports from Reserve bank of India, Ministry of Agriculture (GOI), Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Food Corporation of India etc. Moreover, the journals, articles, web links, books have been used as a source of information.
India’s position in World Agriculture:-
Indian agriculture production in most parts of the country is closely related to the optimum use of availability natural and human resources of the country. The sustainable development of every country depends upon the judicious use of their available natural resources. The big objective for the improvement of agriculture sector can be realize through rapid growth of agriculture which depends upon the area of cultivation, cropping intensity and productivity. Thus, there is a need to tackle the issues related to sustainable agriculture development. Although India occupies only 2.4 percent of the world’s land area, it supports over 18 percent of the world’s population. The position of India in World Agriculture is shown in the below Table.
Table 1: India’s Position in World Agriculture in 2014
Total Area (million hectares)
Russian federation, Canada, U.S.A, China, Brazil, Australia
Total population (Million)
Crop production (Million Tonnes)
(A): Total Cereals
(B): Total pulses
Groundnut (in shell)
(D): Commercial Crops
Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Columbia, Ethiopia
Jute & Jute like Fibres
Livestock (Million Heads)
China, U.S.A, Indonesia, Brazil, Iran, Pakistan
Animal Products(000 MT)
(A): Milk Total
(B): Eggs (Primary) Total
(C): Meat Total
China, U.S.A, Brazil, Russian federation, Germany
Source: FAOSTAT (as on 26.12.2016)
India with second largest agricultural land in the world has 20 agro-climatic regions which have a potential to grow almost all type of crops around the year. India is leading producer of coconuts, mangoes, milk, bananas etc. India stands first in pulse production, second in case of wheat, rice and groundnut production and third in case of rapeseeds production in the world. India ranks first in buffalo population as well as milk production and second for cattle population in the world. Moreover, India has made a significant contribution in case of Animal products as indicated in Table 1. Although, India has made a significant progress in the agriculture and allied activities, but in comparison to developed countries and some of the developing countries even the picture is not so sanguine.
The state of food insecurity and hunger in India is of considerable significance for global situation and therefore, figures prominently in such discussion at the world fora. However, the situation of food insecurity has increased due to rising food prices. Driving forces behind soaring food prices are many and complex, with both supply side and demand side factors playing a part.
India’s Food Security Approach:-
Food security, at both the national and household levels has been the focus of sustainable agriculture in India over since mid-1960 when import dependence for cereals had gone up to 16 percent and country faced several droughts continuously for two years. The new strategy launched at that point of time was aimed at ‘Maximizing the production of cereals’ and involved building a solid foundation of food security. India achieved near self-sufficiency in the availability of food grains by the mid-seventies. The trend rate of food grain production improved from 2.3 per cent during the 1960s and 1970s to 2.9 per cent in the eighties (Bhalla and Singh, 2001) Although India has initiated several direct and indirect measures to ensure food security to its population. These measures can be categorized as:-
*Food subsidy measures
*Entitlement feeding programme.
*Social safety net scheme
Among all these measures sustainable agricultural improves food security by improving the quality and nutritional value of the food and by producing a bigger range of produce throughout the year. However, a major challenge to food security comes from dietary diversification. If cereal pricing is left to the market forces, government playing the facilitating role, land will be released from rice and wheat cultivation to meet the growing demand for non-cereals crops such as oilseeds, fruits and vegetables in accordance with diet diversification. Furthermore, the food demand will be driven by income and population growth, urbanization, food prices and income distribution. The projected demand of food demands have been shown below:-
Table 2: Projections of Household Food demand – All India (million tons per annum)
Milk & Milk Products
Meat and Fish
Sugar & Gur
Fruits & Vegetables
Source: Economic and Social Studies (CESS), Hyderabad.
As per Table 2, at the current cereal intake of 143 kgs/per capital/annum, cereal requirement for household consumption will be around 192 million tons in 2020. The requirement will be more if the increase in household demand due to income growth will also be considered. The demand for cereals works out to be 221 million tons in 2020 and for food grains 241 million tons. Furthermore, the table 2 illustrates that the estimated demand in 2020 for milk and milk products will be around 166 million tons, edible oils will be around 10.94 million tons. However, in case of meat, fish and eggs the projected demand would be around 11 million tones. Further, it is clearly indicated in Table 2 that projected demand for Sugar and Gur in the year 2020 will be 25 million tones and for Fruits and Vegetables will be 113 million tones. This all points towards the diversified and sustainable agriculture growth which will enhance the food security.
It has been observed that for a growing country like India the practice of sustainable agriculture is of quite importance. Various policy makers and academicians have realized that self-sufficiency in food production is a pre requisite for sustainable agricultural development. Thus, there is need to produce bumper crop through minimum use of natural resources to achieve the objective of food security. Agriculture is the premier source of our national income and it is base of development of our country. Emphasis on a need for prioritizing the growth strategies in favour of agricultural sector is need of the hour so that the problem of food insecurity and poverty can be solved. Sustainable agricultural development is a vision and way of thinking and acting so that scarce and limited resources can be optimally used which will further help in ensuring food security in the country.