International Affairs | VOL. 28
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Food Production Problems in India

Publication Date Jan 1, 1952

Abstract

T !HE food problems of the Union of India Bharat-can be stated very simply. The population in March I95I was 357.4 millions: 1 for the last ten years it has increased at an average rate of 4 millions per annum. The area of land sown is 234 million acres but of this some 44 million acres carry two or more crops a year so that the actual area of crop is 278 million acres-rather less than o-8 acres per head of population. This is only about one-sixth of what would be required to produce our present British dietary at Indian levels of yield. And yet, small as it is, this tiny area has been producing until quite recently about 95 per cent of India's food supply, as well as the cash crops (cotton, jute, tobacco, tea, and coffee) which occupy some I5 million acres and which the cultivator tends to favour as they may bring him four or five times as much money per acre as do the food crops. In addition an enormous population of livestock is supported: about I38 million cattle (the largest cattle population in the world), 42 million buffalo, some 83 million sheep and goats, as well as a large but unknown population of monkeys, wild pig, deer, birds and, in some places, elephants. This is not the end of the story, for the meagre area of cultivable land is perpetually being diminished by erosion, and, in irrigated districts, by water logging and salting. How in face of all this is India's growing population to be fed? I shall begin by setting out the quantities of food India is now producing, then discuss how far these are adequate, and...

Concepts

Largest Cattle Population Cent Of India Tiny Area Wild Pig Water Logging India's Food Cash Crops Area Of Land Food Crops Food Supply

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