India as the ‛Food Basket of the World’
In 2019, India broke into the top 10 producers of food in the world. India grows surplus food for itself and is a leading food exporter to the world. India exports agricultural and processed foods to over 100 nations worldwide across all continents.
India is slated to export 22 million tonnes of rice this year. It accounts for 45% of global rice exports for 2021. India is on the verge of achieving this feat with the expansion of its port-handling capacity. One of the main contributors to this growth is non-basmati varieties of rice, which are projected to see a double increase in exports from last year.
Indian Food Exports
Moreover, India’s overall agricultural and processed food exports have increased 21.8% to reach $7.9 billion for the period of April-August 2021. Several Indian food products, viz., cereals, meat, dairy, poultry, cashews, etc., are seeing robust growth. India is the world’s largest milk producer and the second-largest producer of wheat.
Food crisis-hit China has been India’s adversary for centuries and has always tried to hinder India’s progress through various means whenever India has excelled in a particular field. With the Coronavirus pandemic, the world is experiencing this China strategy. Many experts and analysts have recently raised alerts over the next pandemic, which could affect our food. And a piece of news related to China is concerning.
Sri Lanka bans Chinese organic fertilisers
Sri Lanka has banned importing organic fertilisers from China after detecting harmful bacteria identified as ‘Erwinia’. Last month, Sri Lanka cancelled the import of 99,000 metric tonnes of organic fertiliser worth $63 million from China. Sri Lanka was initially reluctant to impose the ban. However, after scientists, activists and political parties strongly objected to Chinese fertilisers and even the second batch of fertiliser tested positive for the bacterium, the Sri Lanka government had to bite the bullet.
Sri Lanka has now decided to purchase organic fertilisers from India. However, considering the vicinity and connectivity between India and Sri Lanka, the Chinese ploy appears mala fide.
India launches 35 crop varieties with special traits
Meanwhile, India has launched 35 crop varieties with special characteristics. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has developed them. These include drought-tolerant chickpea, disease and sterility-resistant pigeon pea and rice, bio-fortified varieties of wheat, millet, maize, etc.
With surplus production and burgeoning exports, India is increasingly being looked upon as the “Food Basket of the World”. All steps that India takes to maintain this momentum and safeguard, in various ways, its agriculture and supply chains are welcome.