The National Food Security Mission (NFSM) was launched in October 2007 with the objective of raising the production of wheat by 8 million tonnes, rice by 10 million tonnes and pulses by 2 million tonnes by 2011-12 (end of the 11th Five Year Plan).
With a rapidly growing population, the then National Development Council (NDC) felt the need to step up food production on mission mode. Although the NDC and Five Year Plans have both been abandoned by the present government, the NFSM continues to be promoted by the government and it continues to deliver results.
According to the Indian Council for Agricultural Research, South Asia will need to step up food production by 2020 (over 1994-95 averages) as per the following:
- Foodgrains: 55%
- Fruits: 142%
- Meat: 57%
- Fish: 24%
- Milk: 28%
India, with its vast population and erratic rainfall patterns has been forced to launch NFSM, which aims to use technology with new developed hybrid and high-yielding seeds, to increase food production and in turn, enhance food security.
As per the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) 2016-17 Report, they have developed 310 new high-yielding/ hybrid varieties of field crops, 51 horticultural crops and 12,500 tonnes of breeder seeds, all to be transferred to farmers on mission mode.
Increase food security by stepping up the overall food production and food stocks held by the government; ensure the nation remains self-sufficient and prices remain under check.
Under NFSM, the government is focused on increasing food production by organising:
- Cluster Demonstrations – test beds for demonstrations are being set up on improved package and cropping systems.
- Seed Distribution – Distribution of high-yielding varieties and hybrid seeds at subsidised costs.
- Farm Machineries – Distribution of farm equipment and tools like cono weeder, manual sprayer, drum seeder, seed drill, zero till multi-crop planter, power weeder, paddy thresher, laser land leveller; all at subsidized costs.
- Plant Protection – Subsidised distribution of plant protection chemicals and bio-pesticides; weedicides.
- Micro-Nutrients and Soil Ameliorants – Distribution of subsidised micro-nutrients, lime/ liming materials, etc.
- Local Initiatives – Five percent of total state allocation will be allocated for funding on project basis, and
- Setting up of project management teams at State and District levels.
The Priority Crops and Center-State Funding Budget for 2017-18 is as Follows:
- Rice: The Center and State funding ratio for rice is 60:40. The total fund allocation for rice this year is: Rs 39,277.78 lakh. Of this, Center’s share: Rs 26,000 lakh; States’ share: Rs 13,277.78 lakh.
- Wheat: Funding ratio 60:40. The total fund allocation for wheat this year is: Rs 18,333.33 lakh. Of this, Center’s share: Rs 11,500 lakh; States’ share: Rs 6,833.33 lakh.
- Pulses: 60:40 for regular states; 90:10 for hilly states – Himachal Pradesh, J&K and Uttarakhand; 90:10 for North-East states. The total fund allocation for pulses in current year: Rs 1,37,111.11 lakh. Center’s share: Rs 85,000 lakh; States’ share: Rs 52,111.11 lakh.
- Coarse Cereals – Funding ratio 60:40. The total fund allocation for cereals this year is: Rs 21,555.56 lakh. Of this, Center’s share: Rs 14,500 lakh; States’ share: Rs 7,055.56 lakh.
- Commercial Crops – Sugarcane, Cotton, Jute. The funding ratio is 60:40. The total fund allocation for commercial crops this year is: Rs 3.845.11 lakh. Of this, Center’s share: Rs 2,500 lakh; States’ share: Rs 1,345.11 lakh.
Under NFSM, Number of Districts Covered Under Each State is as Follows:
- Andhra Pradesh: 13
- Arunachal Pradesh: 17
- Assam: 27
- Bihar: 38
- Chhattisgarh: 27
- Goa: 2
- Gujarat: 26
- Haryana: 21
- Himachal Pradesh: 12
- J&K: 22
- Jharkhand: 24
- Karnataka: 30
- Kerala: 14
- M.P: 51
- Maharashtra: 35
- Manipur: 9
- Meghalaya: 11
- Mizoram: 8
- Nagaland: 11
- Odisha: 30
- Punjab: 22
- Rajasthan: 33
- Sikkim: 4
- Tamil Nadu: 32
- Telangana: 10
- Tripura: 8
- U.P: 75
- Uttarakhand: 13
- West Bengal: 19
Challenges Before the Government
The biggest threat to the success of NFSM is the high dependence of farmers on monsoon rains. This has increased the risk and financial stress for farmers and the only ways to overcome this and step up food production are:
- To increase agricultural land under irrigation
- Develop water catchment areas
- Improve water management and conservation through innovative use of technology
- Encourage farmers to adopt ‘More Crop Per Drop’ techniques
- Step up developing and subsidised distribution of high-yielding/ hybrid seeds
- Develop more productive and low-cost farming equipment and tools
- Make more electricity available to farmers and at subsidised rates
- Encourage higher adoption of crop insurance by farmers
- Step up bank financing at subsidised rates
- Increase farmer education and training by leveraging IT and telecom
With all the above measures, there is no reason why the National Food Security Mission won’t be able to meet its goals and even surpass it; after all, India has an excellent record on agriculture and related production – the Green and White revolutions being the best case in point.
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