Impact of Commercial Farms on Improving Food Security in India

INTRODUCTION

Food security is a key component of any economy across the world. Food security is defined as the situation in which all people in a country or region have access to sufficient food which is adequate and safe to meet the nutritional and dietary needs of the people. When address issues to do with food insecurity, therefore, the focus is on the availability of the food as well as the quality of the food in terms of safety and nutritional value. There are a number of indicators of national food insecurity which include famines, hunger, as well as malnutrition. Food insecurity is caused by a number of factors which include imbalanced food distribution, poor government policies, and environmental factors like droughts.

Enhancing food security in a country is a collective responsibility which is contributed by a number of stakeholders. These stakeholders include various government departments, farmers, and agricultural researchers. A number of governments have an agriculture department which is tasked with creating policies that can ensure food security. The department of commerce also plays a significant role in enhancing food security by budgeting for food production and providing reserve budgets for emergency cases of food shortage.

Food insecurity has negative implications on the country’s economy. The people suffering from food insecurity are less productive which means they cannot contribute significantly to the economy. Most households that experience food insecurity are not able to work sufficiently. Food insecurity is also of great risk to the health of the victims.This research will focus on the food insecurity situation in India. There is need for more research on this topic so as to identify the key causes of food insecurity and identify the possible remedies that could be help to enhance food security in the country. This proposal explores the problem of food security in India and proposes a mixed study methodology that will help in researching more on the topic.

PROBLEM STATEMENT

Despite India being among the leading countries in commercial farming, it has been noted that it is also facing a challenge in terms of food security (Narayanan, 2015). The amount of food being produced from within the country is not sufficient to sustain the densely populated country (Lal, 2017). This has therefore forced the country to import most of its food from the United States, United Kingdom, Burma and Australia (Swain, 2012). This has not only affected the country’s economy but has also rendered most people dead as they could not afford a meal. Some have ventured into commercial farming, but little is known about its impact on improving food security within the nation.

Food insecurity has major negative implications on the health of the Indian citizens. Most significant of these is malnourishment and undernourishment. India’s Statistics on undernourishment are quite alarming. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, around 15.2 percent of the Indian population was regarded to be undernourished. These are recent statistics carried out between the years 2014 and 2016 (FAO & WFP, 2015).Most past studies that were conducted on this topic have been more general and have often focused on the role of climate change on food insecurity. Little research has been done on the role of commercial farms in handling food insecurity. The research, therefore, attempts to bridge this gap by studying on the role that commercial farms can play in improving food security in India.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES/QUESTIONS.

The main objective of this research is to investigate the impact of commercial farms on improving food security in India. This research specifically seeks to meet the following objectives.

  1. To investigate the impact of commercial farming on food security in India
  2. To investigate the impact of middle class farms in India
  • To provide policy recommendations for improving food security.

JUSTIFICATION

Studying the impact of commercial farms on food security is important for various reasons. First, food insecurity is still very rampant in India hence there is need for new techniques to be adopted in combating the issue and its effects on the general population. The research is mainly guided by the need to solve food insecurity with aim of improving the livelihood of all Indians as well as improving the country’s economy through a productive population. The findings from this project, therefore, can be adopted to influence government policies on enhancement of food security across the country. Secondly, this study would help to explore an alternative approach to sustainable food production which would lead to food security. There has been too much focus on role of technological procedures like use of GMOs at the expense of the traditional methods that in the past assured food security. This proposal will, therefore, broaden the understanding of food insecurity and the role that commercial farms can play in achieving sustainable food security.

EXPECTED OUTCOME

This research proposal is expected to have a number of outcomes at the end of the study. These outcomes are outlined below;

  1. It provides a clear understanding of the impact of commercial farming on food security in India.
  2. The impact of middle class farms in India will have been investigated based on the analysis theoretical frameworks and existing literature.
  • A number of policies will have been identified and recommended to improve food security.

At the end of the research, the main expected outcomes should be in line with the research objectives. The primary expected result, therefore, is that a number of policies will have been identified to help in addressing the issue of food insecurity in India.


SECTION II

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

Food insecurity in India is attributed to a number of factors. Dand and Chakravarty (2005) provide an analysis of some of the causes and dimensions of food insecurity. Their analysis is classified into specific demographic dimensions which include urban food security, rural food security, as well as poverty among tribal populations.

Urban food insecurity

According to the 2011 census, 31.16% of the India population lives in urban areas. This is an indicator of fast urbanization in the country, given the fact that only 11.4% of the population lived in urban centers at the start of the 20th century. Most of the urban populations do not contribute directly to food production since farming is practiced in rural parts of the country. Food insecurity in urban centers has been on the increase due to rise in the population of low-income families that dwell in the urban centers. Urban unemployment has contributed to soaring levels of poverty, which has influenced the access of a majority of the populations to quality food. Since the year 2000, the Swaminathan Research Foundation which deals with research on sustainable agriculture collaborated with the World Food Program (WFP) to carry out research on food security in urban and rural areas. The “Report on the State of Food Insecurity in Urban India” is one of their reports that was published in 2010 (M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation). The report outlined a number of issues that contribute to urban food insecurity that include urban poverty which is evident in form of the large income gap among urban populations. The dominance of the informal sector in major cities across India has also contributed to high levels of poverty. The two factors which determine the access of individuals and households to food are the disposable incomes as well as the market prices of food at any given time (M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, 2010). The situation of food security in urban areas is hence dynamic due to the fact that most of the dwellers do not participate directly in the production of the food.

Rural food insecurity

Around two thirds of the Indian population lives in the rural areas. Most farming is actually practiced in the rural areas of the country hence there is always the assumption that rural dwellers enjoy more food security (Chakravarty & Dand, 2005). Food security patterns have been developed by government agencies and international agencies like WFP which provide a map of food security across the various states in the country. Food insecurity in rural areas is mainly attributed to climatic conditions. Places with unfavorable rainfall are often affected by severe droughts which contribute to famine. The lack of adequate adoption of farming technologies is also another factor that has contributed significantly to low production of quality food products. Such technologies include greenhouse farming as well as large scale irrigation in arid places of the country.

Farming techniques

There are various faring techniques in India. These include irrigation farming, shifting cultivation, ley farming, and commercial agriculture. Most literature have often focused on irrigation farming as the major remedy to food insecurity in India. The general preposition has been to increase the volumes of food produced by making the non-arable lands more productive. Dinesh Kumar (2003) focused on the issue of water management for food security in India. he explores a number of techniques that should be adopted with regard to water availability and its use for irrigation these include groundwater exploration as well as technologies that increase crop per drop.

Commercial farming

This project seeks to address commercial farming which has not been explored in most literature as a remedy to food insecurity. Commercial agriculture is defined as large scale farming that is done primarily for commercial purposes. Commercial family is labor and capital intensive and is practiced in some parts of India which are sparsely populated. Some of the areas where commercial farming is practiced include Punjab, Haryana, and Gujarat (Deaton & Drèze, 2009). The products which are produced commercially include wheat and corn products. Livestock is also commonly reared in large scale farms in different parts of the country.

METHODOLOGY

Overview

This research will adopt the mixed methodology as it will be necessary to understand how the commercial farming initially practiced impacted the food security as well as acquiring the data as far as commercial farming is concerned. (Moffitt, 2017) The qualitative analysis will help in giving the general view on the state of India’s food security (Bricki & Green, 2002).  Through this analysis, it will be possible to understand the current state in relation to the food availability in the country. The quantitative analysis on the other hand will aid in the collection of data especially in cases where the commercial farming had been practiced (Todd , Waldman, Baker, & Blain, 2004).

Data collection techniques

Both descriptive and explanatory study methods will be used in this project (Dudovskiy, 2016). It will also incorporate such data collection methods including questionnaires, surveys and the case study (Kadam, Shaikh, & Parab, 2014). Closed and Open ended questionnaires will be administered to determine the reasons behind people not practicing commercial farming and identifying their needs as far as large scale farming is concerned  (Pandey & Pandey, 2015). The surveys and the case studies will give a tip on the fertility of the Indian land.

Literature review

Literature review involves the analysis of secondary sources. The sources which will be explored include journals, books, and articles. The journals that will be used will be from credible organizations such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and research institutes like M.S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF).

Population

The target population for this study consists of both small-scale and large scale famers from four districts in the state of Gujarat. The districts chosen for this research are Amreli, Bharuch, Dang, and Dahod. These districts were chosen since they are traditionally farming districts. Both random and stratified sampling techniques will be used to identify the respondents of the questionnaires. Random sampling is used for farmers of same farming category while stratified sampling shall be applied in cases where questionnaires are to be handed over to agricultural officials of different ranks within the four chosen districts.

Sample/participants

A total of 80 famers will be sampled from the four districts. 20 farmers will be sampled from each district. 5 agricultural officers shall also be sampled from the four districts for participation in the study.

Data analysis.

Both qualitative and quantitative data analysis techniques will be used to analyze the data collected from the sources listed above. The following techniques will be used for the two sets of data;

  1. Quantitative data: quantitative data refers to the numerical data which will be extracted from the questionnaires. Descriptive analysis will be necessary in the case of open ended questionnaires so as to come up with categories of opinions and views of the farmers regarding the role of commercial farming in addressing the issue of food insecurity in India. The closed ended questionnaires will be analyzed using the SPSS data analysis software.
  2. Qualitative data: qualitative data refers to the data that cannot be quantified numerically. It is represents the set of data collected from the surveys, open-ended questionnaires, and from the literature review. The qualitative data represents opinions and views of the farmers which cannot be represented in numerical form.

Data collected will be subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) to determine the F value; SAS will be used to determine the variation in the variable. Chart and graphs will be used to interpret the findings. (McDonald, 2015).

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