Sustaining growth in foodgrain production and improving food system

(Mains GS 3 : Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.)


  • India has made enormous progress in food production over the years, with an inspiring journey towards self-sufficiency in food production marked by the Green Revolution.
  • In this context, India’s presidency of the G20 offers a historical opportunity for the country to share its successful journey in moving from a food-deficit nation to a food-surplus nation, and address the growing challenges of food security for creating resilient and equitable food systems.

Growing concerns:

  • Global and regional food security have been deliberated upon as one of the priority agendas of the G20 for many years now. 
  • The situation has worsened with growing conflicts, and spiralling climate crises marked by droughts, floods, cyclones, and economic downturns in the past few years.
  • While the pandemic’s impact has yet to be fully mapped, a multi-agency report, ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’, estimates that around a tenth of the global population – up to 81.1 crore persons – were undernourished.

The Matera Declaration:

  • The “Matera Declaration”,  adopted in the G20 Foreign Affairs Ministers’ Meeting in 2021 in Matera, calls upon the international community to step up efforts to contain the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on lives and livelihoods, and build inclusive and resilient food chains and ensure adequate nutrition for all, in line with the “Zero Hunger” goal set for 2030.
  • In the Matera Declaration, the G20 ministers recognised that poverty alleviation, food security and sustainable food systems, are key to ending hunger, encouraging social cohesion and community development, reducing socio-economic inequalities, and promoting overall inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.
  • Further, “The Matera Declaration reflects the Indian concern for the welfare of small & medium farmers, promoting local food cultures and recognising agri-diversity,”

Encouraging journey:

  • India’s journey in the last 50 years provides learning on sustaining growth in foodgrain production and improving food systems. 
  • Since Independence, India initiated policy measures, land reforms, public investments, institutional infrastructure, new regulatory systems, public support, and intervention in agri-markets and prices and agri-research and extension. 
  • The 1991-2015 period saw the diversification of agriculture with greater focus being given to the horticulture, dairy, animal husbandry, and fisheries sectors. The continued learning encompassed elements of nutritional health, food safety, sustainability, etc.
  • One of India’s greatest contributions to equity in food is the National Food Security Act, 2013, which anchors the targeted public distribution system, the mid-day meal scheme, and the Integrated Child Development Services.

Fast-track the processes:

  • There is also an opportunity to fast-track the processes and commitments that were started through the pioneering UN Food Systems Summit, held by the G20 leadership, for global food systems transformation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. 
  • The summit created a mechanism focused on five identified action tracks: Ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all; shift to sustainable consumption patterns; boost nature-positive production; advance equitable livelihoods, and build resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks, and stress.

Ensuring food security:

  • Over the decades, the Government of India has institutionalised buying grains from farmers and food stocks as strategic reserves for national food security. 
  • The minimum support price has encouraged farmers to produce, and protects them from financial fluctuations. 
  • This process has protected people, especially the most vulnerable and poor, during difficult times. 
  • Such measures, which are context-driven, are needed for managing the uncertainties that have become the new normal for ensuring food security for high-population countries and many other countries across the globe. 


  • There needs to be greater investment in agriculture; food safety nets for the poor and vulnerable; new ways of farming; and diversified livelihoods. 
  • Thus expansion of south-south cooperation needed to share experiences on food and agriculture production and make expanded efforts to share India’s experiences for countries in Africa and Asia.
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