Food Security

  • IASbaba
  • June 4, 2022
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  • Mains – GS 3 (Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development)

Context: For India, a lesson in food security from Sri Lanka

Case study:

Sri Lanka

  • 60% of Milk demand in Sri lanka is met with the imports – despite Sri Lanka has all the natural resources to become a dairy superpower

Saudi Arabia

  • Has the world’s largest vertically integrated dairy company. Almarai Company has six dairy farms in the desert kingdom that together house some 107,000 Holstein Friesian cows producing more than 3.5 MLPD of milk.
  • Thus meeting its milk demand by domestic production
  • This, despite not having the land, water or climate required for green fodder cultivation

The contrast between the two models tells us about the importance of food security

Lessons India can learn

  • India is hugely import-dependent in edible oils, just as Sri Lanka has been in dairy.
  • India annually imports5-14.5 million tonnes of vegetable oils, again roughly 60 per cent of its total consumption.
  • In the last couple of years, with retail prices of most oils doubling or more the value of India’s vegetable oil imports surged to a record $19 billion in 2021-22.
  • It has brought to light the perils of over-dependence on imports of essential food commodities.
  • As a country with a population many times that of Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia, India needs to have a strategy of self-reliance in basic foods.

India’s dependence on imports for edible oils

  • Demand and supply gap: The gap between demand and supply of edible oils is around 56% and is met through imports
  • MSP for oilseeds: Minimum support price (MSP) operations for oilseeds have been marginal over the years.
  • Cropping patterns of the country: incentives for Indian farmers to grow oilseeds are still weak

Way Forward

  • Changing cropping patterns: Encouraging and incentivising farmers to take up oil seed cultivation
  • Initiatives by government: initiatives like National Edible Oil Mission-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) increasing the MSP of oilseed crops, creation of buffer stock for oilseeds are being implemented by government to boost the domestic production.
  • Stable tariff structure: A stable and equitable trade policy with clear direction would provide clear price signals for different market stakeholders and boost the domestic production of oilseed crops.
  • Moving part of the supply chain locally: the government can import soya beans and crush them domestically rather than simply purchasing Soyabean oil – It would potentially boost oil supplies at home and meet the rising demand for feed from the poultry industry.

Source: Indian Express

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