Thursday, 8 April 2021
According to the United Nations' Committee on World Food Security, the term food security means all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life. If data are to be believed, despite being an agrarian country, India is yet to achieve food security for its people. India ranks 71st, along with Guatemala, in the Global Food Security Index 2020 while in the Global Hunger Index 2020, it ranks 94th out of 117 countries, lagging behind Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal.
One of the reasons for this is that Indian agriculture is heavily dependent on monsoon - over 50 per cent of agrarian land is rain-fed and is affected to a great extent by unpredictable weather and erratic monsoon. Besides, decline in soil fertility, insect and disease infestations, and small average farm sizes are some of the challenges that affect the productivity of Indian farmlands. Insecticides, fungicides and herbicides remain the most important ones as production of food crops is threatened by 30,000 species of weeds, 3,000 species of worms and 10,000 species of plant-eating insects. This makes the role of judicious use of agro chemicals pivotal. Education and awareness about them are the biggest challenge and government and well as the private players are working hard in this direction.