Demand Versus Supply Of Foodgrains In India: Implications To Food Security
The present paper addresses the issues namely (i) the present food supply and the trend for future, (ii) shift in food consumption pattern over years and (iii) food demand projection for the next three decades in the context of food security. The analysis reveals that increase in cereal production (mainly rice and wheat) but decline in the percentage share of coarse grains and pulses in total foodgrains production is witnessed since 1960s. India’s total foodgrain production has increased at an annual growth rate of 2.68 per cent since 1960-61. The increase in foodgrain production is mainly due to increase in yield (growth rate being 2.44 per cent as against growth rate of area being 0.17 per cent per annum during 1960-61 to 1998-99). To project the future foodgrains supply, past growth trend has been extrapolated. Based on this assumption, the foodgrain supply is expected to be about 245, 291 and 342 million tonnes by 2010, 2020 and 2030 AD, respectively. Shift in consumption pattern and future demand for food is analyzed for both rural and urban India. Per capita cereal consumption exhibited a declining trend over years in both rural and urban India. This decline is larger in rural India (12.19 %) than in urban India (5.43%) during the period under study. Increase in per capita income and urbanization has led to changes in the composition of the food basket, with consumers moving from coarse cereals to superior cereals (rice and wheat). The allocation of monthly per capita expenditure on food items showed structural shift in dietary pattern in favour of non-cereal food items such as fruits, vegetables, milk, meat, eggs and fish in both the areas. Future food demand is also projected which is based on factors such as growth in population, growth in per capita income, urbanization and consumption behaviour. For projecting population, it is assumed that the growth in population will decline by 0.05 per cent per year in future and urbanization will increase by 0.3 per cent per annum. However, production at the assumed growth rate may not increase in future because the past production growth factors in future may not work well in future also. Hence, in the absence of favorable past growth factors, the food supply to match the demand in future may be a matter of great concern for food security. To meet the demand, the increased production will have to be brought about mainly through increases in productivity as the possibility of area expansion is very minimal.