Prospects for India’s Cereal Supply and Demand to 2020

IFPRI’s “2020 Vision Initiative for Food Agriculture, and the Environment” is intended to develop a shared vision on how to meet future world food needs while reducing poverty and protecting the environment. It brings together divergent schools of thought on these issues, working on the principle that divergent views can generate a constructive dialogue that will ultimately lead to a consensus for action. The current paper on projected supply and demand for cereals in India, and the possibility of an emerging cereal gap of serious proportions by the year 2020, is a useful illustration of the kind of constructive dialogue IFPRI hopes to encourage. It responds to several quite recent developments, notably the rapid expansion of India’s industrial and service sectors since the 1991 structural reforms, the improved prospects for continued growth over the next few decades, and the likelihood of rising per capita incomes that could generate substantially increased demand for livestock products. As demand for livestock products grows, livestock production could increasingly depend on cereals for feed—perhaps as much as 50 million tons by 2020, according to G.S. Bhalla, Peter Hazell, and John Kerr, authors of this 2020 discussion paper on Prospects for Balancing Cereal Needs in India to 2020. These conclusions differ some what from other IFPRI studies, which have generally found that growth in demand for livestock products will be lower than the current study. This divergence of views is a useful signal to policymakers to pay careful attention to trends in demand for livestock products in India in the coming years. Not withstanding these differences in modeling assumptions and projections, this study and the rest of IFPRI’s 2020 research have consistently pointed to the vital link between agricultural policies and prospects for production growth in the next two decades. If a cereal gap does develop by 2020, improved agricultural policies will give India’s farmers an opportunity to respond to growing demand and fill the gap through greater domestic production. Increased domestic cereal and livestock production is also a way to generate greater employment and income in rural India, which still contains about three fourths of India’s population; to restore the stalled momentum to alleviate poverty in rural areas; to improve food security at the national and household level; and to use growing rural prosperity to stimulate demand for India’s industrial and service sectors. Such policies can help alleviate the most crucial gap of all—the growing gap in incomes, wealth, and opportunity between India’s rural and urban areas.

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Working or Discussion Paper
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0- 89629- 633-4 (Other)
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Food, Agriculture, and the Environment Discussion Paper

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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