India’s Growth Outstrips Crops

JALANDHAR, India — With the right technology and policies, India could help feed the world. Instead, it can barely feed itself.

India’s supply of arable land is second only to that of the United States, its economy is one of the fastest growing in the world, and its industrial innovation is legendary. But when it comes to agriculture, its output lags far behind potential. For some staples, India must turn to already stretched international markets, exacerbating a global food crisis.

It was not supposed to be this way.

Forty years ago, a giant development effort known as the Green Revolution drove hunger from an India synonymous with famine and want. Now, after a decade of neglect, this country is growing faster than its ability to produce more rice and wheat.

The problem has grown so dire that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called for a Second Green Revolution “so that the specter of food shortages is banished from the horizon once again.”

And while Mr. Singh worries about feeding the poor, India’s growing affluent population demands not only more food but also a greater variety.

nytimes.com/2008/06/22/business/22indiafood.html

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