Food Security

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FOOD SECURITY IN INDIA

SHOULD INDIA IMPORT OR USES ITS OWN RESOURCES:-

INTRODUCTION: -

v WHAT IS FOOD SECURITY?

· Food is essential to the survival of people and grain is the principal food. Freedom from hunger is the most fundamental human right.

· Food Security refers to the availability of food and one's access to it. A household is considered food secure when its occupants do not live in hunger or fear of starvation.

· The concept of food security is defined as including both physical and economic access to food that meets people's dietary needs as well as their food preferences.

· Food security is the basis for economic development and social stability. It is also an important prerequisite for national independence and world peace.

· According to the World Resources Institute, global per capita food production has been increasing substantially for the past several decades.

· In 2006, the number of people who are overweight has surpassed the numbers who are undernourished - the world had more than one billion people who were overweight, and an estimated 800 million who were undernourished.

· According to a 2004 article from the BBC, China, the world's most populous country, is suffering from an obesity epidemic. In India, the second-most populous country in the world, 30 million people have been added to the ranks of the hungry since the mid-1990s and 46% of children are underweight.

· Worldwide around 852 million people are chronically hungry due to extreme poverty, while up to 2 billion people lack food security intermittently due to varying degrees of poverty.

· Six million children die of hunger every year - 17,000 every day.

· As of late 2007, increased farming for use in biofuels, world oil prices at more than $100 a barrel.

· Global population growth.

· Climate change.

· Loss of agricultural land to residential and industrial development .

· Growing consumer demands in China and India have pushed up the price of grain. Food riots have recently taken place in many countries across the world.

· In many countries, health problems related to dietary excess are an ever increasing threat, In fact, malnutrion and food borne diarrhoea are become double burden.

Ø In other words we can say that,

Food security is defined by access to sufficient and affordable food; it can relate to a single household or to the global population. The first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) falls short of food security aspirations in seeking only to reduce by half the proportion of the world's population experiencing hunger.

v WHEN THE FOOD SECURITY HAPPEN?

Food security happens when all people at all times have access to enough food that …

-is affordable, safe and healthy.

-is culturally acceptable.

-meets specific dietary needs.

-is obtained in a dignified manner.

-is produced in ways that are environmentally sound and socially just.

-farmers and fishers can earn a fair income for their efforts.

-food is produced in a way that is safe for people and the environment.

-local, regional, and community food production is supported.

-social justice and inclusion are priorities.

-all people are empowered to work together to create positive change in the food system and our communities.

Ø Food security is built on three pillars:

•Food availability: sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis.

•Food access: having sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet.

•Food use: appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation.

Food security is a complex sustainable development issue, linked to health through malnutrition, but also to sustainable economic development, environment, and trade. There is a great deal of debate around food security with some arguing that:-

•There is enough food in the world to feed everyone adequately; the problem is distribution.

•Future food needs can or cannot be met by current levels of production.

•National food security is paramount or no longer necessary because of global trade.

•Globalization may or may not lead to the persistence of food insecurity and poverty in rural communities.

v FOOD SECURITY IN INDIA

ü India is a country of its people, being the world's largest democracy. Indians have had freedom of speech, religion, and the press ever since their constitution was adopted on January 26, 1950. Within this democracy people still live everyday being food insecure.

ü “Food insecurity exists when all people, at all times, do not have physical and economic access to the sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”

ü Poverty easily coexists with food insecurity and is the main cause of hunger and malnutrition.

ü Poverty exists when there is lack of income, productive malnutrition, illiteracy, homelessness, inadequate housing, unsafe environment, social discrimination, and many more factors.

Food security has been a major developmental objective in India since the beginning of planning. India achieved self-sufficiency in food grains in the 1970's and has sustained it since then. But the achievement of food grain security at the national level did not percolate down to households and the level of chronic food insecurity is still high.

· Over 225 million Indians remain chronically under nourished.

* In 2000-01, about half of the rural children below five years of age suffered from malnutrition and 40% of adults suffered from chronic energy deficiency. Such a high level of wasting away of human resources should be a cause for concern.

· The focus on accelerated food grains production on a sustainable basis and free trade in grains would help create massive employment and reduce the incidence of poverty in rural areas.

· More than 850 million people all over the world live everyday being food insecure. One in seven people live with a problem that can be fixed.

· Malnutrition not only denies people their right to health; it also has serious economic implications. Malnourished children are less able to concentrate in school, and malnourished adults are less able to work effectively - thus undermining productivity and economic growth.

India's malnutrition figures are not coming down despite a number of government programmes, says a new report released by World Food Programme. The research points out the need for a revamped public distribution system and greater public investment to address the wants of rural population.

· An estimated 7.3 million people move into the rapidly growing urban areas of India every year. Though the number of middle class citizens is growing, there is an extreme gap between the rich and poor. Around 35 percent of the population is living below the poverty line.

· The governmental policies that relate only to a country's internal affairs are known as domestic policies. Though India's overall economy and trade relations are improving, the poor people are still struggling to survive. Food and nutritional security can be improved through developments in domestic policies.

· Almost 1.1 billion people live in India, a population that is growing rapidly. India's population has tripled in size since the beginning of the twentieth century. It occupies 2.4 percent of the world's land, and contributes to 15 percent of the world's population. Almost half of India's land is covered with farms. Part of the reason India's population is growing so rapidly is because family is very important to the Indian people.

Indian tradition is to have many children because the parents will most likely rely on the children to support them when they are older, though often some children will die from disease, malnutrition, or accidents before they reach adulthood.

· Only fifteen percent of people suffer from no health care, but with India's population being so large, fifteen percent is over 150 million. There are still only 48 doctors for every 100,000 people. Though not everyone has health care, it has drastically improved, causing the fatality rate to decrease.

· Population growth is increasing because the mortality rate is decreasing due to better healthcare. The better healthcare may include better access to facilities, and more doctors. Only fifteen percent of people suffer from no health care, but with India's population being so large, fifteen percent is over 150 million.

· There are still only 48 doctors for every 100,000 people. Though not everyone has health care, it has drastically improved, causing the fatality rate to decrease.

· Indians diets are based around a staple grain, such as rice or wheat, served with vegetables and yogurt. Ninety-three percent of daily intake of food in India consists of vegetable products and only 7 percent consists of animal products. Vegetables eaten are those that are currently in season. The most commonly eaten meat is fish, while lamb, goat, beef, chicken, shark, lobster, and shrimp are also occasionally eaten too.

v WHY WE HAVE TO NEED KEEP INTENSION ON AGRICULTURE FOR FOOD SECURITY?

ü Agriculture remains the largest employment sector in most developing countries and international agriculture agreements are crucial to a country's food security. Some critics argue that trade liberalization may reduce a country's food security by reducing agricultural employment levels. Concern about this has led a group of World Trade Organization (WTO) member states to recommend that current negotiations on agricultural agreements allow developing countries to re-evaluate and raise tariffs on key products to protect national food security and employment. They argue that WTO agreements, by pushing for the liberalization of crucial markets, are threatening the food security of whole communities. Related issues include:-

§ What is the net impact of the further liberalization of food and agricultural trade, considering the widely differing situations in developing countries?

§ To what extent can domestic economic and social policies - and food, agricultural and rural development policies - offset the diverse (and possibly negative) impacts of international policies, such as those relating to international trade?

§ How can the overall economic gains from trade benefit those who are most likely to be suffering from food insecurity?

§ Do gains “trickle down” to enhance economic access to food for the poor?

§ How can food and agricultural production and trade be restrained from the over-exploitation of natural resources that may jeopardize domestic food security in the long term?

§ How to ensure that imported food products are of acceptable quality and safe to eat?

v Animal products are not a staple part of the Indian diet because they require refrigeration, and over 80 percent of Indians are Hindu, and the Hindu culture does not allow them to consume beef. Food is usually bought the same day it is eaten. Although most Indian's are vegetarians, animals are very important to farmers. They not only provide milk, they also serve as their work force for plowing land and hauling crops.

There are over 230 million people suffering from hunger or undernourishment in India. No other nation has so many people suffering chronic malnutrition, and the undernourished in India represent 27% of the worldwide hunger-stricken population. While India's economy develops and the potential for an expanded middle class takes root, the total number of Indians going hungry has risen, despite the overall percentage of undernourished, as part of the whole population, having been reduced in recent years.

The current global economic crisis puts the most vulnerable in India at severe risk of persistent or even chronic hunger. Hundreds of millions of people living at the margins of a society in which the privileges of modern life are far from universal —people kept in a state of chronic poverty by countless socio-economic factors and often treated as the detritus of an incomplete political system struggling to comprehend its own massive responsibilities— simply do not have access to extra resources to cover worsening deficits in their food supply.

This means that a population the size of many nations may be facing the perils of a deepening condition of chronic hunger in a nation whose arable land is being diminished by huge dam projects, overuse and soil erosion, impromptu irrigation systems, hyper-expansion of water-use for non-sustenance purposes —industry, development and personal hygiene— and urban sprawl of a kind rarely seen in human history. Climate change is also putting India's climate stability and water resources at risk, and chronic water shortage brings both the potential for tens of millions of water refugees and for outbreaks of cholera and other diseases.

The average per capita income in India in 2001 was 450 dollars, but the average farming families make less than 300 dollars every year, while other families make no money and live off of their land. Eighty percent of the population is earning less than two dollars a day.

People working for the international industry with exports tend to make more money than those who are working for the domestic industry. Nonetheless, fishing communities are still very poor and the average fisherman usually makes less that one dollar everyday. Upper-class citizens are commonly those who are engineers and are very well educated and respected, and most of them do not live in poverty or food insecurity.

The population facing food shortage is roughly half the population of the expanded European Union. In fact, only China, India, the United States and Indonesia have populations larger than the 230 million undernourished within India. That population is actually about 5 million more than the combined populations of Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Venezuela, Malaysia, North Korea, Taiwan, Ghana and Romania — all among the 50 most populous nations. So one could say that the number of malnourished in India encompasses the entire populations of 8 populous nations.

India's food production and food consumption are both massive, by any standards, but the huge population makes the modes of distribution intensely relevant to the quality of life of hundreds of millions who find themselves at the fringes of that system.

India's problem may be more to do with global harvest capacity and food distribution than with the nature of the retail sector there, however. India's central plateaus are one of the world's most prolific grain-producing regions. The country was saved from catastrophic famine in the 1960s by the so-called ‘Green Revolution', which used modern farming techniques and highly efficient grain varieties to vastly increase crop yields, eventually making India a major exporter of grains. But in 2006, India was forced to import 3.5 million tons of wheat.

The average amount of time one will spend in school is less than two years. The two main reasons for so many children not attending school are: lack of motivation from parents, and work keeping children from going to school. Males are most likely to pursue an education. The role of females is to take care of the household and help men with the work that needs to be done. Most parents are illiterate and see no reason for their children to go to school and become educated.

Families held in poverty are often taken advantage of Children are often forced to do child labour, which could have them working 14 hours everyday and doing tedious work, such as making rugs, in hazardous conditions. For those parents who want their children to become educated they run into another problem; the matter of finding a proper facility nearby. An average school day lasts 4 hours and the school year is only 120 days a year. With the short school year and hours, it would seem easy to have children go to school, but most children of poor families work longer than eight hours everyday.

While education is a free right, most likely there will be extra fees, such as books, paper, write utensils that will amount to as much as $300 per child, making a child unable to attend school. Well-educated teachers are also hard to obtain. For every one teacher, there are around fifty students. One-third of all schools only have one teacher.

Ø SHOULD INDIA IMPORT FOODS ?

ü The drought situation in India was extraordinary and the government would import items in short supply, The decision is already there that whichever commodity will be in short supply, to maintain demand-supply mechanism, we will go for imports.

ü We have developed a certain expertise to handle drought. We will not publicize the government's plans to import food, The moment news is spread that India is going for big imports, the market prices are jacked up.

ü Drought does not affect only crop production it has a cascading effect. 246 of its 626 administrative districts were drought-hit after insufficient monsoon rainfall. Many of these districts are among the top rice-producing regions in the country.

ü India will import food grains and pulses and step up edible oil purchases from global markets to boost its buffer stocks as a prolonged dry spell has shrunk summer crops, but a late burst of rains will limit the shortfall by increasing winter crop output.

ü India is expected to import 7 million-7.5 million tons of edible oil in the marketing year ending Oct. 31. The country is the world's top consumer and importer of pulses, consuming 17 million-18 million tons a year, while output is usually around 15 million tons.

ü The government has already extended the duty-free imports of pulses through March 2010, and it continues to ban exports of all pulses except chickpeas.

ü The average per capita income in India in 2001 was 450 dollars, but the average farming families make less than 300 dollars every year, while other families make no money and live off of their land.

ü Eighty percent of the population is earning less than two dollars a day. The average poor farmer produces from only about one acre, meaning on such a small place they produce crops for themselves and crops to sell.

ü The economy is an important part in increasing growth from poverty and malnutrition. India's economy is slowly increasing due to many factors. India has become a part of the global economy; they contribute engineers, scientists, and computer specialists that help to improve the well-being of the world.

ü The growing population is a social, economic and environmental problem. The government borrowing has kept interest rates high and tariffs are still very high too, with non-agriculture items, which averages 20 percent. Most of the people who are migrating to the urban, industrial areas of India have no skills to work in urban areas and have only one skill which has to do with agriculture. The main reason rural farmers move to urban areas is because their crops have failed too often to make their farms profitable.

ü Higher food prices have radically different effects across countries and population groups. At the country level, countries that are net food exporters will benefit from improved terms of trade, although some of them are missing out on this opportunity by banning exports to protect consumers. Net food importers, however, will struggle to meet domestic food demand. Given that almost all countries in Africa are net importers of cereals, they will be hard hit by rising prices.

ü At the household level, surging and volatile food prices hit those who can afford it the least—the poor and food insecure. The few poor households that are net sellers of food will benefit from higher prices, but households that are net buyers of food—which represent the large majority of the world's poor—will be harmed. Adjustments in the rural economy, which can create new income opportunities, will take time to reach the poor.

ü The nutrition of the poor is also at risk when they are not shielded from the price rises. Higher food prices lead poor people to limit their food consumption and shift to even less-balanced diets, with harmful effects on health in the short and long run. At the household level, the poor spend about 50 to 60 percent of their overall budget on food. For a five-person household living on US$1 per person per day, a 50 percent increase in food prices removes up to US$1.50 from their US$5 budget, and growing energy costs also add to their adjustment burden.

From the above reasons, it is clear that India should not import foods or food materials to other countries. I think India should uses their own resources:-

· Although India has improved its economy over the years since it became a free nation, there are still many improvements that can be made by domestic policies. Education and illiteracy are obvious problems and improving the amount of children who attend school is a low priority for most lower class Indian citizens.. India inevitably has many problems all over the country. Cultural discrimination and religious tensions are problems that are most likely not going to be solved through domestic policies, but some policies instated have helped.

As Mahatma Gandhi said "We must be the change we wish to see." In other words, we have to know what needs to be changed before changes need to be made. Not only should there be new domestic policies, there should also be a simple way to reinforce them. For example, if one of the new policies required all children to have at least four years of education, an administrative group would be important to make sure all children are getting their education with the proper facilities. Domestic policies have helped more than they have hurt over the fifty-five years India has been a country. Food and nutritional security can be improved through developments in domestic policies. Although improving and adding domestic policies into the Indian constitution will not directly give the people of India food, it will provide them in the future with means necessary to help themselves and their families become nutritionally stable. The democracy of India is slowly maturing into a prosperous country. The matter of domestic policies is very critical in improving the number of Indians who are food insecure and live in poverty.

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