November 24, 2015

24/11/2015: Game of Grains: Why India’s agri-food policies need a holistic review

by Raghavan Sampathkumar, SmartAgBiz, Singapore

First published in Milling and Grain, August 2015

Milling and Grain has invited Raghavan Sampathkumar, an agribusiness professional, based in Singapore, to provide an overview of changing food policies on the ‘food basket’ in developing countries such as India. Mr Sampathkumar analyses key trends in the global agri-food sector and writes commentaries and columns related to food prices, food crisis, sustainability, hunger and poverty.   

The term ‘food basket’ here in India actually means a real basket that an average Indian homemaker takes to shop for groceries and food. Some decades ago, her basket (nowadays, ‘his’ too), will contain plenty of vegetables, small millets and a rich variety of leafy greens in addition to staple grains, such as rice and wheat. However, many of the above items had been vanishing, albeit slowly from the food basket, and most of these are not even known to the millennials and Gen X.

Even the older generation, that is popularly called as the baby boomers, and who used to consume these diverse foodstuffs everyday had, to a large extent, forgotten them. The transformation of diet in India over the past few decades is mindblowing in the extreme and disturbing to boot.

In this article I would like to discus the key macro trends in the consumption of select food crops in India; possible causes of the transformation of diets; potential impacts on health and wellbeing and, finally, the importance of enabling policies that can augment not only food but the nutritional security of a country.

Although this analysis is primarily related to India, the recommendations and implications can be applied to any country that shares a similar agrarian, demographic and socio-economic profile. 

Read the full article in Milling and Grain HERE.  

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