India’s agro-food sector made strong progress
MANGALURU: India has made tremendous economic progress since the mid-1990s, raising GDP per capita by more than 5% per year, cutting the incidence of poverty in half, significantly decreasing undernourishment and transforming itself into a major agriculture exporter.
For these past successes to continue into the future, India will need to accelerate existing reform efforts and launch bold new policy initiatives, according to a new publication by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER).
Agriculture Policies in India proposes a comprehensive set of policy measures that, taken together, would raise incomes and well-being of farm households, improve nutrition outcomes for the most vulnerable members of Indian society, enable the farm and food sector to grow sustainably and strengthen India's competitiveness in global food markets.
Launched jointly by OECD, ICRIER and India's department of commerce, the report highlights both the notable progress made by the country's agriculture sector over the past two decades and the important challenges now confronting the sector: declining but still persistent food insecurity and nutrition deficiencies, large numbers of small and resources poor farms, increasing water scarcity, low productivity growth and the uncertain impacts of climate change.
It highlights the opportunity for policymakers to rebalance their efforts away from complex, volatile and often competing market interventions in favor of measures that target the nutrition needs of the poor and productive possibilities of farmers and rural residents.
"Many of the policy recommendations in the report are well known to the Indian government, and action on some are already underway," said Ken Ash, OECD Director for Trade and Agriculture. "But more can and should be done, and we took forward to continuing to work with India, and to supports its efforts to improve outcomes for consumers and farmers alike."