China (197 million tonnes), India (131 Mt), and Indonesia (64 Mt) are the three largest Rice producers in the world. China had the highest productivity for rice farming and can produce 6.59 tonnes per hectare.
Rice is the mainstay for India’s agriculture. But despite the “Green Revolution” and so many “schemes” by the Government Indian farmers have a productivity that is FAR below that of China and even Indonesia. India’s rice productivity is 40% of China and 60% of Indonesia! If India could adopt the techniques that farmers in these countries adopt, India could possibly be producing 100 mn tones of rice more every year. That can feed 400 mn people every year and USD 50 bn every year as income for the farmers. Incidentally, India has the maximum area under rice agriculture in Asia – 44 mn hectares.
As if lower productivity wasn’t bad enough, India, like the other developing countries, also see lots of post-harvest losses. As per one sources, these losses could be over 40%.
In addition to the gap in farming system technology and knowledge, many rice grain producing countries have significant losses post-harvest at the farm and because of poor roads, inadequate storage technologies, inefficient supply chains and farmer’s inability to bring the produce into retail markets dominated by small shopkeepers. A World Bank – FAO study claims 8% to 26% of rice is lost in developing nations, on average, every year, because of post-harvest problems and poor infrastructure. Some sources claim the post-harvest losses to exceed 40%.
India severely lacks storage infrastructure as it has to store 20% more grain than can be in the current severely restricted infrastructure.
“For the last 25 years the storage capacity has not been upgraded at all,” Tandon said. “Part of the grain is officially stored outside store houses, where the chance of rotting is high. There are often not enough sacks and tarpaulins, and sometimes it is dumped by a graveyard or cremation centre.”
Grain stocks officially deemed as stored in government warehouses now stand at a record 82.4 m illion tonnes. However, that is about 20 million tonnes more than actual capacity, which means grain lying in the open is being passed off as “stored”.
So its basically a double whammy against the poor and hungry. The question obviously is what is the Government doing?? How tough is it to properly introduce the techniques through outreach efforts and have proper infrastructure for storage and distribution?
Poverty and hunger in India is a man-made issue.