The import of wheat after 6 years has raised serious doubts about the processes in place to achieve the key goal of food self-sufficiency and a preeminent think tank has called for a revamp of agriculture products procurement, storing, and public distribution processes. The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) has said that the involvement of private trade with a more responsive policy regime are two most essential changes required in any policy reform to ensure future food security.
The NCAER has pointed out that the Food Corporation of India had overflowing stocks of 63 million tons (mt) only four years ago encouraging the Government to launch populist programs that caused rapid depletion of wheat from Public Distribution System leading to less than 2 mt of wheat this April instead of the normal 4 mt. It said that “urgent corrective steps” were required to amend this trend instead of blaming lower agricultural productivity on rainfall deficiencies and changes in weather patterns. Specifically, it said the nation needs to check rapid deceleration of agricultural productivity, slowdown in technological development, pervasive ecological degradation from populist policies, and improper investments in agriculture.
The think tank also said that there was an increasing unhealthy tendency to forego cereal production to grow commercial crops like sugarcane as yield levels of cereals and pulses were low because of non-development and adoption of technologies in the last 2 decades. Moreover, there has been classic mismanagement of food economy where target and output gaps have grown enormously with no changes made to check this trend. Besides, the prediction mechanism for agricultural output has also been vastly unreliable.
is a classic example of how populist policies have
destroyed ecological balance.
Even attempts to
cut back on some of these “incentives” has increased the ire of farmers.
Further, increasing sugar prices world-over and
drop in sugar production in many countries have encouraged many farmers to go for sugarcane irrespective of consequences