Introduction: Man cannot live without food. The problem of food is inseparably connected with human existence. Man’s endeavor has always been directed to the solution of this problem. The problem of food, therefore, deserves the topmost priority.
Present position: Our domestic production of food has increased by about 25% over what was in 1948-49. But it has failed to increase in proportion to the needs of a growing population. Apart from food grains, another constituent of food which supplies essential proteins and vitamins are even more deficient is supply. Our consumption of non-cereal food is among the lowest in the world. We need several times more production of fruits and vegetables, meat and eggs, milk and fat to get a satisfactory level of a balanced diet.
Causes of the deficit: Modern scientific method of cultivation is not yet so much popular with our peasantry. They use the traditional methods of farming winch are outdated. Endless sub-divisions and I fragmentations of land make large scale production and introduction of machines impossible. Most of the peasants are too poor to buy scientific implements and chemical fertilizers to increase the productivity of the land. Efficient agriculture depends on the quality of the man behind the plow. But our peasants are illiterate unenterprising and unambitious. Our agriculture is a gamble with the monsoons which are insufficient and ill-distributed. Facilities for irrigation and drainage are insufficient and marketing organization is also defective. Food shortage is also due to natural calamities, floods, cyclones, pests, etc.
Measures to make good the deficit: The Third Five Year Plan put major reliance on the initiative of individual farmers and, at the same time, the incentive was given to co-operation. Price incentive was provided for directing investment and use of improved inputs. Increased provisions were also made for all inputs-water, fertilizer, improved seed, plant protection, and farm implements with the highest priority to water and fertilizer. The present plan envisages more comprehensive and more co-ordinated measures to make good the lag in food production and aims at a considerable rise in agricultural produces and self-sufficiency in food.
Two aspects of the problem: There are two aspects of the food problem one is to increase agricultural production and the other is to maintain balance in the growth of population.
Measures to increase production: Cultivators may be persuaded to adopt new methods. We should also change our food habits. If necessary, we should take substitutes of our main food, rice, and wheat. Vegetables, potato, jawar, bajra and other similar things should become part of our daily food.
Check in the growth of population: The other aspect of the food problem is the alarming growth of population. If self-sufficiency in food is to be attained, the growth of the population should be drastically checked. It is encouraging that the government is taking positive steps to popularise planned parenthood through family planning organizations. We should try to understand the real objective of this campaign and end our all-out support in making it a success.
Conclusion: To increase national production of food, it is necessary that the results of researches carried out in various fields in our country should be passed on to those who are in a position to put them to practical use. Our cultivators should be made aware of the results of modern research and knowledge. There is a need for coordinating research in various fields at some stages so that every experience of our life may be scientifically utilized to tackle the great problem of growing more food.