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Agriculture And Food Security : Background & Perspective

By Devinder Sharma

 Pre-Independence India suffered repeated famines, drought and food shortages. But following the Green Revolution in the '60s, yields and foodstocks rose manifold. Now, 30 years later, Indian farmers have realised the follies of their tryst with intensive agriculture. Despite 70 per cent of the population being engaged in agriculture and allied activities, declining foodgrain production and access to food remain the two biggest problems confronting the country. Liberalisation has made things worse: commercial crops are eating into the fertile land tracts meant for essential foodgrains. And six years after the World Trade Organisation came into existence, the anticipated gains for India from the trade liberalisation process in agriculture are practically zero.