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Self-reliance in Food (India)

In this article we will discuss Self-reliance in Food (India)

In this article, we will discuss Self-reliance in Food (India). So, let’s get started.

India Becoming Self-Reliant in Food (Meaning)

  • Self-reliance in food does not mean that we have to produce everything ourselves at home, irrespective of the cost. Its true meaning lies in specialising in commodities in which we have a comparative advantage, exporting them, and importing those in which we don’t have a significant comparative advantage.
  • This is not an either/or situation — it is about the degree of self-reliance a country wants to have following the principles of comparative advantage. If some protection is needed for new areas to develop (infant industry argument), that may be okay. But one should not aspire to be self-sufficient behind high tariff walls. That would only breed inefficient and high-cost structures that cannot compete globally.
  • In the area of agriculture and food, researches reveal that it is the efforts and resources that a country puts in agri-research and development (agri-R&D), its extension from lab to land, investing in irrigation to boost yields, efficiency in marketing and processing the produce, and taking it from farmers’ fields to consumers’ table or export destinations.

Challenges to Self-Reliance in Food

  • High Dependence on Edible Oil Import: India has achieved self-reliance in agriculture by producing a reasonably large amount of food, and also being a net exporter of agri-produce. The high dependence on imports for edible oils — hovering around 55 to 60% of consumption — however, remains a concern. India’s potential to emerge as a significant exporter of agri-produce remains untapped.
  • Low-Value Exports: Further, most processing in India can be classified as primary processing, which has lower value-addition compared to secondary processing.
  • Due to this, despite India being one of the largest producers of agricultural commodities in the world, agricultural exports as a share of GDP are fairly low in India relative to the rest of the world.
  • The same proportion is around 4% for Brazil, 7% for Argentina, 9% for Thailand, while for India it is just 2%.
  • Lack of Effective Decentralised: The real promise of a decentralised system — of experimentation, of learning from each other, and the adoption of best-practices and policies — has largely failed to materialise.
  • Instead, Indian agriculture since Independence has remained highly fragmented.
  • Low-Value Exports: Further, most processing in India can be classified as primary processing, which has lower value-addition compared to secondary processing.
  • Due to this, despite India being one of the largest producers of agricultural commodities in the world, agricultural exports as a share of GDP are fairly low in India relative to the rest of the world.
  • The same proportion is around 4% for Brazil, 7% for Argentina, 9% for Thailand, while for India it is just 2%.

By competitiveworld27

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