Agriculture- Bangladesh performs better than India


According to FAO, India has arable land of 157 million hectares(ha). It has a population of about 1250 million people. The density of population per ha of arable land is about 8 persons.

Bangladesh has arable land of 7.7.million ha and a population of about 155 million. The density of population per ha of arable land is about 20 persons i.e. about 2.5times that of India.

Bangladesh annually produces about 51 million MT of food grains, mostly paddy(not rice).i.e. about 330kg per head per year while India annually produces about 280 million MT(paddy taken into account- not rice)i.e. only about 225kg per head per year. It is strange that even with low per capita production India occasionally exports food grains while Bangladesh imports food grains.

Bangladesh receives rainfall of about 265 cm annually while India receives only about 110 cm of rainfall. But low production of grains in India is not due to shortage of water,It is due to under utilization of water as can be seen from the very large quantity of river water joining the sea in various parts of India.There shold be more lakes and dams in India and river and rain water should be drained in these lakes and dams .

Bangladesh takes two/three crops in a years on larger proportion of land than India. Average paddy yield in Bangladesh is also high at around 4.3 MT/ha while in India it is about 3.5 MT/ha. Thus while on an ha of arable land Bangladesh produces about 6.5 MT of food grains, India produces only about 1.8 MT(India produces coarse grains on rain fed areas where the yield is very low and this brings down annual production on an ha of land.

India needs to spend more time and energy on finding ways for better utilization of rain/river water -by linking rivers with rivers, rivers with lakes, recharging ground water etc.


Subsidies to Farmers in Developed Countries


Food and Agriculture Organisagion (FAO) says that about one billion people, i.e. about 15% of the world’s population, are suffering from hunger. The people in this group are unable to feed themselves as food prices are high, which restricts access.

Most of the world’s grains are exported by developed countries and imported mainly by developing countries with a few exceptions. India is among the countries which import food grains, occasionally, if not regularly. In the years to come, India’s imports of food grains will increase. In such a situation, India should argue for ways and means of making food grains cheaper in the international market.

However, at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations of Doha Round, India, along with a few developing countries, is opposing the subsidies given by USA and Europe to their farmers. This approach seems to be wrong. Farm subsidies in developed countries make food grains cheaper in the domestic and international markets.  Food-importing developing countries, including India, should be happy that the food-exporting developed countries make their produce cheap in the international market by subsidizing their farmers.