Crop diversification, nutritional challenges | Ind Exp
UN population projections (2019) - by 2027 India is likely to be the most populous country
By 2030 - almost 600 million people living in urban areas
This urban population would need safe food from the hinterlands
Indian agriculture has an average holding size of 1.08 hectare (2015-16 data)
42% of the country’s workforce is engaged with this sector
Cultivable land and water for agriculture are limited and already under severe pressure.
Produce enough food - global competitiveness
Protect the environment - soil, water, air, and biodiversity
Fresh, safe and nutritious food at affordable prices
Seamless movement of food from farm to fork, keeping marketing costs low, save on food losses in supply chains
Farmer’s income needs to go up
She should have access to best technologies
She should have access to best markets in the country, and abroad
Production front - best policy is to invest in R&D for agriculture
From laboratories to farms and irrigation facilities
Developing countries should invest at least one per cent of their agri-GDP in agri-R&D and extension.
India invests about half.
Free electricity - pumping groundwater
Highly subsidised fertilisers – urea
Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh region is crying for crop diversification
Sugar and wheat are being produced at prices higher than global prices, and these crops can’t be exported unless they are heavily subsidised.
Excessive stocks of wheat and rice with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) are putting pressure on the agency’s finances.
Rice remains globally competitive, but it should be remembered that in exporting rice we are also exporting massive amounts of precious water
Poultry, fishery, dairy, and even horticulture, for which there is no MSP, are growing much faster — three to five times — than cereals or sugarcane.
In 2018-19, the value of livestock and fishery was almost 40% of the gross value of agricultural output.
Horticulture accounted for another 21%
Basic hunger has been more or less conquered
Biggest challenge – malnutrition
From women’s education, to immunisation and sanitation, to nutritious food, all have to be addressed on a war footing.
Beneficiaries of subsidised rice and wheat need to be given a choice to opt for cash equivalent to MSP plus 25 per cent.
The FCI adds about 40 per cent cost over the MSP while procuring, storing and distributing food.
India began largest vaccination drive in its history
First day: over 2 lakh people vaccinated across the country in 3,350 sessions
12 States - Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin
Rest of the State had Covishield
Target - 11 million doses of Covishield and 5.5 million of Covaxin that will be administered to health-care workers, sanitation workers and municipal workers
Remember: this is a marathon
Target - 3 crore frontline health workers, and later 27 crore of those most vulnerable to the disease by July
The country has the executive ability to scale up vaccination
Medical staff’s experience will percolate and influence adoption of the vaccines among the larger population.
The WhatsApp policy update has clearly spooked many users, who, concerned about their privacy getting compromised, have shifted to alternative platforms such as Signal and Telegram.
It has put out numerous messages and taken out advertisements to convey that the changes are “related to optional business features on WhatsApp, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data”.
WhatsApp has pushed the update to May 15
Facebook bought WhatsApp for a whopping $19 billion
Europe’s stringent General Data Protection Regulation, more popularly called GDPR, prevents such sharing between apps.
Users there are in control of their data much more than anywhere else in the world.
Privacy of a billion citizens is too important a thing to be left just to the practices of a commercial enterprise.
It will be reassuring if it is guaranteed by a strong law.
Rise of shadow entrepreneurship
The global rise of shadow entrepreneurship
Regulation is needed to monitor quality of services.
Shadow entrepreneurs, offering the allure of technology-mediated services
Small firms will get acquired by large firms.
First movers in the space with deep pockets could generate irrationally high valuations.
This may also show up with cross-border and national security implications as recently reported about shady loans being provided by Chinese instant loan providers online.
The big question though is, caught in the stress and fatigue of trying to manage the virus, will governments worldwide pay attention?
If not, we may be in for the non-COVID-19 adverse welfare consequences of COVID-19, given the rise in shadow entrepreneurship around the world.