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Panic Not, India has Sufficient Food Supply

food shortage

Since the news of Janta Curfew and subsequent lockdown of major cities broke out, the people have thronged grocery stores as if there’s no tomorrow. While the threat of shortage may be true for Western nations, the Indian people shouldn’t be worrying. Here is why…

Sufficient Food Grains in India

As a nation consuming wheat and rice as staple food, PM Narendra Modi led government is ensuring there is no food shortage.

Here are some statistics which would dispel any fears of food shortage

  • The government has surplus food grains of 43.5 million tonne as of now, of which 27 2 million tonne is rice and 16.2 million tonne is wheat
  • Possible demand for April is barely 13.5 million tonne of rice and 7.4 million tonne of wheat, leaving a healthy buffer stock for further months
  • Rabi season is about to end. The wheat and rice harvest will also come in the market, adding to the existing supplies
  • According to the 2nd Advance Estimate of Foodgrains, an estimated 106 million tonnes of wheat and 15 million tonnes of rice will be harvested.

Moreover, the poor entitled for supply under PDS are allowed to lift food grains for six months. This will ensure the most vulnerable are guaranteed food supply.

Pulses Stocked Up

Dal stocks are enough to cover an entire month. The rabi harvest season will add further to the availability of Moong and Gram.

Currently, FCI and NAFED have about 3 million tonnes of pulses in buffer, enough to last for an entire month.

Milk Production at Record High

India is one of the largest milk producers in India. The White Revolution is something we should be proud of.

Till 2018-19, India’s milk production touched 190 million tonnes, which is three times more than 1991-92 and a healthy 40 million tonnes increase since 2014-15. The availability of milk in India is at an all time high. So what’s the point hoarding on milk?

Fruits and Vegetables

India’s horticulture production is touching new heights. The estimate for 2019-20 is 313 million tonnes, which is higher than last year’s 310 million tonnes.

The average Indian household cannot function without TOP- Tomato, Onion and Potato

  • Onion production is expected to be 24.45 million tonne, an increase of 7.17% from previous year.
  • Potato production is expected to increase by 3.49% and touch 51.94 million tonnes
  • Tomato production is expected to be 19.33 million tonne, an increase of 1.68%

Remember the onion price spike last year? The government announced creation of 1 lakh tonne buffer stock of onions, with the already stocked onion of 56,000 tonnes for the year 2019-20.

No, Supply Chains are Not Broken

India has 22,000 rural agricultural markets, more than 7,000 regulated markets and 585 APMCs to facilitate buying and selling of agricultural products.

All major FMCG companies like Reliance, ITC Ltd, Parle Products, Amul and Godrej are stocking up to 35-40 days rather than earlier 20-25 days. But the public statement of these companies reflects confidence in supplying products even during the period of lockdown.

Moreover, government has announced that all shops supplying essential commodities will continue, be it dairies, vegetable shops and medical stores.

When the supply is ample and supply chains are up and functioning, why are Indians lining up in stores to panic buy stuff?