India is a giant when it comes to the agriculture sector. It is the second largest population in the world, third largest economy and fourth largest agricultural sector. Food security and agricultural scenario have changed significantly in India. The problems caused in India in this sector have also kept changing accordingly. India has become a global player now in the area of agriculture and food and the county affects the world now.
The biggest issues in India are the reduced quality and amount of nutrition in food, extreme expenses behind farming, increased population, urbanization, pollution and its ill effects on agriculture.
There is an issue of food security and there is also an issue of food waste. This essay aims to provide a solution for the both by suggesting a sustainable method of waste management and agriculture production.
FACTORS OF FOOD INSECURITY
India is the world's largest producer of many fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, major spices, selected fresh meats, selected fibrous crops such as jute, several staples such as millets and castor oil seed. India is the second largest producer of wheat and rice, the world's major food staples. India is also the world's second or third largest producer of several dry fruits, agriculture-based textile raw materials, roots and tuber crops, pulses, farmed fish, eggs, coconut, sugarcane and numerous vegetables.
In the years since its independence, India has made immense progress towards food security. The Indian population has tripled, but food-grain production more than quadrupled. There has thus been a substantial increase in available food-grain per capita.
One of the issues is India’s agricultural sector is exposed, along with all of the world’s agricultural sectors, to the vagaries of weather, yet is highly sensitive to these variations given that most agricultural production depends on the monsoon. Precipitation falls from June to September, and its level of intensity determines the production levels for the year, particularly for wheat, which is a staple food in India. Bad monsoons, which bring insufficient or excessive levels of precipitation, can cause significant drops in yields, thereby submitting production in India to a high degree of variability.
Insufficient investment, particularly in infrastructure, is visible and has a direct effect on India’s agricultural productivity. Facilities for the storage and keeping of crops (cold chain) are lacking and lead to tremendous losses, which for produce can represent up to 40 percent of the harvest.
Additionally, only 30 percent of usable farmland is equipped with irrigation systems. A drop in public investment since the 1970s and a lack of upkeep have caused wear and tear of irrigation pipes, leading in turn to the loss of over one-third of water transported. Given the increase in non-farm related water needs due to population growth, conflicts over water usage rights are on the rise.
The situation in India is therefore paradoxical: a giant in global agriculture, the country is incapable of feeding its own population and meeting the challenges and issues that the 21st century holds.
Another burning issue is the impact of environmental degradation on agriculture sector. The natural environment, with all its ecosystem services, comprises the entire basis for life on the planet. Its value is therefore impossible to quantify or even model. The state of the environment at any given stage has effects on food production through its role in water, nutrients, soils, climate and weather as well as on insects that are important for pollination and regulating infestations. The state of ecosystems also influences the abundance of pathogens, weeds and pests, all factors with a direct bearing on the quality of available cropland, yields and harvests.
Environmental degradation due to unsustainable human practices and activities now seriously endangers the entire production platform of the planet.
Land degradation and conversion of cropland for non-food production, including biofuels, cotton and others are major threats that could reduce the available cropland by 8–20% by 2050. Species infestations of pathogens, weeds and insects, combined with water scarcity from overuse and the melting of the Himalayan glaciers, soil erosion and depletion as well as climate change may reduce current yields by at least an additional 5–25% by 2050, in the absence of policy intervention. These factors entail only a portion of the environment covering direct effects. The indirect effects, including socioeconomic responses, may be considerably larger.
THE GLOBAL/WIDESPREAD CONNECTION
The world’s population is predicted to hit 9Billion by 2050, up from today’s total of nearly 6.8Billion, and with it food demand is predicted to increase substantially. The food price spike of 2008 was a warning of what is to come. Staple food prices rocketed – wheat up 130%; sorghum rose by 87% and rice 74% – and caused riots in 36 countries. More people die each year from hunger and malnutrition than from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined and the World Bank estimates that cereal production needs to increase by 50% and meat production by 85% between 2000 and 2030 to meet demand.
There are many factors that affect food production. The post-war ‘second agricultural revolution’ in developed countries, and the ‘green revolution’ in India in the mid-1960s transformed agricultural practices and raised crop yield dramatically, but the effect is leveling off and will not meet projected demand.
At the same time, many other factors are having severe impacts on food production: water stress and desertification is reducing the amount of arable land; many pests are becoming resistant to insecticides, but many of the most effective chemical agents are now banned under environmental regulations; underdeveloped infrastructure means that losses increase further during transport and storage; consumption patterns are changing and developing nations such as India and China have an increased appetite for meat, and climate change is bringing new microbial diseases to the food-growing regions along with more extreme and unpredictable weather patterns.
The climate is changing, the environment is getting degraded. Increase in population has lead to increase in waste generation. This waste becomes toxic and causes many issues in for the environment as well as agriculture. The amount of solid and liquid waste produced by humans is increasing drastically each and every day and issue occurs with its disposal. To dispose and treat lacks of tons of waste in a manner that it should not harm the environment and agricultural sector is one of the biggest challenges today.
There are a number of solutions to deal with the global burning issue of food security. This essay focuses on a very specific method of sustainable farming by designing a waste management system in which the solid and liquid waste can be used to grow plants.
There isn’t any concept of waste in our universe. The output from the one process is used as an input ingredient for another process and the cycle goes on. All the systems in the universe are connected and together it becomes self sustainable. The food waste which is disposed by the households and the canteens should be treated for composting. When the organic waste is composted it transforms into the best quality of fertilizer. That can be applied to the plants and it gives the tremendous good results in a plant’s growth. The focus is to develop the quality of the fertilizer generated by the waste to increase its capacity to fertilize plants.
The next step to utilize waste is to have irrigation from the wastewater. There are many potential benefits offered by the use of municipal wastewater for irrigation purposes, including the safe and low-cost treatment and disposal of wastewater; the conservation of water and recharge of grou