December 19, 2011 admin

Lecture on Agriculture Growth, Food Inflation and Food Security: Insights and Perspective organized at Guru Nanak Dev University

Amritsar, December 19  –  Dr. Ramesh Chand, Director, National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NCAP) , New Delhi delivered Amardeep Singh Shergill Memorial Lecture on ‘Agriculture Growth, Food Inflation and Food Security: Insights and Perspective’ here today at Guru Nanak Dev University.
This memorial lecture was organized by Punjab School of Economics of the University in the Conference Hall of the University.
Dr.  Ramesh Chand by highlighting the slow growth of agriculture than target rate of growth (i.e. 4%), concerns were raised in terms of food and nutrition security, farmers income, growth in overall economy, disparity in rural and urban income and development of disadvantaged rainfed and dryland areas. The challenges and problems related to sustainability, efficiency, farmers’ distress, strain on land resources and risk in production and marketing of farm produce were also highlighted by him.
He further referred that evidence is emerging that maintaing interest in farming and inducing output growth require reasonable income from farming activities. Indian agriculture is now showing price led growth and there are strong undercurrents that agricultural prices are likely to rule high at least in near future. While this is helping in pulling up growth, keeping food prices at higher level results in accumulation of stock and reduces food intake causing adverse effect on consumption and household food security. Thus, this creates a serious conflict between food security, growth in output and farm income (which is led by price and inflation).
On food security, he talked that selected indicators of food security viz. level of nutrition and incidence of undernutrition did not show any association with the changes in food prices in real terms. Thus, food prices did not alter pattern of food energy intake and incidence of under nutrition.
He further suggested that era of cheap and declining real prices witnessed for a very long period is over and mankind has to prepare itself to pay high prices for food. As any move to suppress agricultural prices will suppress agriculural growth and cause adverse effect on food production.
Thus, Dr. Ramesh Chand recommended the reduction in food prices than general prices by increasing efficiency which will reduce cost of production. Technological breakthrough in terms of input saving technology by agricultural R & D is crucial for this. Competitive markets will also play role in reducing prices and social safety nets are effective for food security, he added.

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