Use of fertilizers in India and quantum of yield


In India, there is a lot of writing against use of fertilizers in agriculture because if their harmful effects on human body. But the fact is that fertilizers usage in India is low at less than 200kg per hectare per year, while in countries like Vietnam, South Korea and China it is about 300kg or more/ha/year. In a few countries, the usage is as much as 500kg/ha/year. In Africa the usage is very low, but larger usage is being encouraged. While fertilizers are being used in Europe and USA for several years, in India, large scale usage of fertilizers is only of recent phenomenon. Because of low consumption of fertilizers in India,the yield of various crops is low compared to developed countries.While China produces more than 500 million MT of cereals on less than 100 million ha, India produces less than 300 million MT in more than 100 million ha.

In this context, it is relevant to note that the human body is made up of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. All these are necessary to life.Inorganic fertilizers also contain usually more or less same chemicals like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NKP) calcium, sulphur, magnesium etc.

So it is necessary to have more research on whetheruse of chemical fertilizers are really harmful to human body and if so how much or whether human body can get used to taking food grains etc. grown with the use of fertilizers. On the basis of the results of the research,
the use of fertilizers can be increased or decreased.

Irrigated land in India and the world


Excerpt from “Simple Alternate Development Strategy”


In 1990, out of 1350 million ha of arable land in the world, irrigation was provided to 237 million ha i.e. 17.56% of the arable land was irrigated. China had provided irrigation to 48 million ha which formed 51.61% of the total arable land, while India had provided irrigation to only 43 million ha which accounts for only 26.06% of the total arable land. Former USSR, USA, Brazil, Australia and Canada had provided irrigation to 21 million ha (9.33%) , 19 million ha ( 10.10 % ), 2.7 million ha (4.5%) 1.9 million ha (3.87%) and 0.9 million ha( 1.96%) of land respectively. While India appears to have done well in providing irrigation compared to countries like former USSR, USA, Canada etc. these are the countries with large areas and comparatively low population and except Brazil, those which receive lesser rainfall than India. On the contrary , many countries like Pakistan, Japan, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, South Korea, North Korea and Vietnam had provided irrigation to a larger proportion of their arable land. The area under irrigation in these countries is: Pakistan 16.5 million ha of 20.3 million ha (81.28%), Japan 2.8 million ha out of 4.6 million ha (60.86%) , Indonesia 7.6 million ha out of 16.0 million ha (47.5%), Iran 5.8 million ha out of 14.1 million ha (41.13%), Iraq 2.6 million ha out of 5.3 million ha (49.05%), South Korea 1.4 million ha out of 2.0 million ha (70.0%), North Korea 1.4 million ha out of 1.7 million ha (83.52%) and Vietnam 1.8 million ha out of 5.7 million ha (31.5%). These figures show that land irrigated in India is far below the potential. This is reflected in the lower yield and production, as will be clear from the succeeding paragraphs.

Onion- price should be around Rs.30/kg


Onion is cultivated on an area of 43 million hectares in the world. The production is about 86 million tonnes with an yield of about 20 tonnes/ha. India has the largest area of 1.1 million ha or over 25% of world acreage under onion. However, India’s contribution to world’s production is only about 16 million MT or about 18%. The yield in India is only about 15MT/ha against about 25MT/ha in China. Countries like Australia, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain and USA have yields of over 50 MT/ha.

The production in India is low as the farmers do not get remunerative price. The consumer price of RS.50 or Rs.60/kg is not at all high. But unfortunately there is hue and cry from political parties, trade unions and the consumers against this price. People should be allowed to be used to this price.

India exports onions at about US$400 per MT or Rs.24 per kg. If the farmers get price of Rs.30 per Kg, there will be incentive for farmers to grow more and supply to the local and foreign markets. There is a demand for onions in USA, Brazil etc.

Declining position of India in Cashew production and exports.


Till late 1990s, India was the largest producer of raw cashew nuts(cashew nuts with shell) and largest exporter of processed cashew nuts in the world. Roasted Cashew nuts also used to be an important item of export from India.However India is now not so prominent in the world as an exporter.While India’s production of raw cashew went up only by about 50% from 420,000 MT in 1996 to 675,000 MT in 2011,Vietnam’s production increased by about 500% from 237000 MT to 12,72,000 MT during this period making Vietnam the largest producer in the world. Nigeria’s production went up by about 700% from 110,000 MT to 813000 MT, making Nigeria, the second largest producer behind Vietnam and ahead of India.India thus is only the third largest producer in the world.

The low increase in production in India is due to low yield. During the 15 year period from 1996 to 2011, in India the yield increased only marginally from 0.66MT per hectare, while in Nigeria it went up by about 400% from 0.63MT to 2.46 MT.The yield in Vietnam increased from 2.23MT to 3.84MT.

In India as much as 0.95 million hectare of land is under cashew while Vietnam and Nigeria each have only about 0.33 million ha under cashew.

In 2001, India was the largest exporter of roasted cashew nuts with exporters of about 90,000 MT when Vietnam’s exports were only 44000 MT. But in 2011, India’s exports were almost at the same level at 93,000 MT while Vietnam’s exports went up by 4 times to 195,000 MT.

Cashew tree starts yielding from about 3rd year and its life is about 35-40 years.
India should consider measures to increase yield by encouraging farmers to grow high yielding dwarf varieties, consider giving grants and subsidies and/or procuring raw cashew nuts at a much higher price which would offset effect of increased wages of workers as also services like transport etc.

India should also coordinate with other large producing/exporting countries like Vietnam and Nigeria to promote consumption of cashew nuts in the world particularly in developed importing countries, to evolve high-yielding varieties,exchange of information, exchange of agricultural and industrial experts etc.

Food security requires higher foodgrain prices


There was a time when India had acute shortage of sugar. Then the government increased the procurement price of sugarcane and continues to increase the procurement price periodically. This has led to India becoming not only self sufficiet but also surplus in sugar.Not only this, sugarcane is one of the only 2 or 3 crops in which India’s yield is higher than world and Asian average yield.

If countries which are deficit in cereals increase procurement prices substantially,the farmers will find ways to increase the yield and production. These countries should also impose import duties on cereals to such an extent that the local produce becomes cheaper. The deficit in food grains can easily be wiped out in most of the deficit countries.

The question will arise as to how poor people who are malnourished for want of money to buy food gains shall buy at higher prices. The people do not have buying power because they do not have enough work. The govenments there should undertake massive works like digging lakes, canals, wells,laying roads, railway lines, power transmitters and lines solar power stations, hydro-electric power stations etc. Most of the west and east African countries receive over 1000 mm rainfall every year and hence increasing food grain production may not be a big problem at all.



Extract from “Simple alternative development strategy” published in 1997

“India is the largest producer of sugarcane,amounting to 240 million MT which is about 22% of the world total. Under sugarcane, India had 3.720 million ha or 21% of the total area of 17.972 million ha in the world. The average yield in India was 65 MT/ha against Asian average of 62 MT and world average of 61 MT.India’s yield is higher than the Asian and world average because the entire sugarcane fields are irrigated.Though higher than the Asian and world averages, India’s yield was still lower than that of Egypt’s 95 MT),Ethiopia (106 MT), Kenya (118 MT), Malawi (108 MT), Senegal (10 MT),Swaziland (98 MT),Tanzania(109 MT),Guatemla (80 MT),USA (78 MT), Peru 9113mt),China (69 M), Indonesia (87 MT),Philippies (82 MT) etc.”

The figures relate ofthe year 1991

Wiping out world food deficit


World food situation is not as alarming as is reported by FAO, media etc.

1.If D.R.Congo and Angola which together have as much land as India (over3 million and which receive as much rainfall as India could bring under cultivation as large land as India, get yield of 2.5MT/ha as in India ( which is very low compared to world average or countries like China,US,) and produce about230 million MT, Africa will become self sufficient in food grains.The world will become surplus in grains for many years to come.

2.If India increases yield from 2.5MT/ha on its cereal acreage of 92 million ha to about 4 MT/ha (against china’s yield of 5.5MT/ha and US’ yield of 6.9 MT/ha) the additional food production of about 138 million MT will wipe out deficit in Africa. The world would be faced with huge surplus leading to fall in prices.

3.If US and other developed countries bring down the consumption of meat by 50%, consumption still being many times that of India, the grains saved from feeding animals will more than offset the African grain deficit and the world will have surplus for many years.

4.If Russia can increase average yield on its 32 million ha from 1.8 MT/ha to3.8 MT/ha half of the deficit in Africa will be wiped out.

5.If African countries selling/leasing out land to foreigners insist on the investors cultivating food grains crops, Africa will become surplus in food grains.

6.If peace is brought in countries which have internal strife, food grains production in those countries will increase to the extent of removing food shortage in Africa.

From the above it is clear that it is not difficult to remove hunger from the world