Agriculture diversification and food security

India may be fastest growing large economy of the world, but it is also facing accelerating food price inflation. An implication of continuing high food price inflation is that a section of population could be facing hardship in consuming food of adequate nutritional value.

According to the “state of the food security nutrition in world” of the FAO estimates that in India an estimated 74% of the population cannot afford a healthy diet.

Role of agriculture diversification:

It is the practice of growing variety of crops. This can help to reduce food insecurity in several ways.

  1. increased food availability: By growing a variety of crops farmers are less likely to be wiped out by a single crop failure due to pests, disease, or weather events.
  2. Informed nutrition: A diverse diet is essential for good health. By growing a variety of crops farmers can provide their families and communities with a wider range of nutrients.
  3. Increased income: Farmers who diversify their crops can often sell their produce for higher price than if they only grow a single crop. This can help to improve their food security.
  4. Reduced risk of poverty: Diversifying into non-farm activities such as livestock rearing, or agroforestry can help farmers to reduce risk of poverty because these activities can provide additional income and food security during time of crop failure.

Implications of food insecurity:

  1. a study by Food and Agriculture organization of the UN found that food insecurity is associated with an increased risk of death from all causes.
  2. Reduction in purchasing power resulted in rise of anemia induced by the nutrient deficiency. According to national planning health survey over 50 % of adult women were estimated to be anemic.
  3. according to FAO findings over half of the India can not afford a healthy diet.

Way forward:

1.India’s network of public agricultural research institute needs to be energized to resume the sterling role they have played in the 1960s.

  1. Provide farmers with training and technical assistance. This can help them to choose the right crops.
  2. Promote policies that support agriculture diversification. This includes providing tax breaks and other incentives.
  3. Providing new technologies.
  4. Central government should take states along in a spirit of cooperating federalism.


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