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How Punjab and Haryana Remain Key to National Food Security

India’s food security is intricately linked to the agricultural prowess of Punjab and Haryana. These two states have historically been the backbone of the country’s wheat and rice production, contributing significantly to the Central foodgrain pool.

 

This blog explores their indispensable role, the challenges faced due to climate shocks, and the implications for future agricultural policies.

Punjab and Haryana are often referred to as the breadbasket states of India due to their substantial contributions to wheat and rice production.

In the current marketing season of 2023-24, government agencies have procured approximately 25.5 million tonnes (mt) of wheat, with 12.2 mt coming from Punjab and over 7 mt from Haryana. This combined share of 75.5% is the highest since 2015-16.

Table 1: Wheat Procurement for Central Pool (lakh tonnes)

YearPunjabHaryanaMPUPRajasthanTOTAL
2019-20127.1474.00129.4235.7722.25389.93
2020-21132.2284.93128.1656.4123.40433.44
2021-2296.4541.8646.043.360.10187.92
2022-23121.1763.1770.972.204.38262.02
2023-24122.3170.3245.668.478.35255.24

Source: Department of Food and Public Distribution

The past three years have seen production setbacks due to climate shocks. An unseasonal temperature surge in March 2022 and heavy rain in March 2023 significantly affected wheat yields. In 2023-24, an unusually warm November-December, attributed to El Niño, impacted wheat yields, especially in central India.

Despite these challenges, Punjab and Haryana have managed to weather the climate shocks better than other states. Their longer winters and optimal sowing times have helped maintain high production levels. For instance, while wheat procurement from MP has plunged from 12.8-12.9 mt in 2019-20 and 2020-21 to 4.6 mt in 2023-24, Punjab and Haryana’s procurement has remained robust.

Rice procurement has also seen diversification, with new states like Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and UP becoming major contributors. However, Punjab and Haryana remain crucial players.

Table 2: Rice Procurement for Central Pool (lakh tonnes)

YearPunjabHaryanaTelanganaAPChhattisgarhOdishaUPMPBiharTNW BengalTOTAL
2019-20108.7643.0774.5455.3350.5347.9837.9017.4013.4122.0418.38518.26
2020-21135.8937.8994.5356.6647.6252.5844.7824.9723.8430.5318.90601.71
2021-22125.4837.0673.9444.6161.6548.3143.9130.7030.0918.7624.01575.88
2022-23122.0139.7788.3527.5558.6553.8343.8931.0228.1723.0121.82568.66
2023-24124.1439.4243.8718.8297.1039.4536.0528.2320.7818.3012.64497.24

Source: Department of Food and Public Distribution

Policy Implications

Under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 813.5 million people are entitled to receive 5 kg of wheat or rice per month at highly subsidized prices. The current government has been providing this grain free of cost since January 2023. This scheme requires 60-65 mt of grain to be procured annually by state agencies.

The Future of Food Security

In most years, the grain procurement requirement is comfortably met. However, in years of climate shocks, the resilience of Punjab and Haryana is crucial. Their high per hectare yields of wheat (4.8 tonnes) and paddy (6.5 tonnes) ensure that they remain vital to national food security.

  • Punjab and Haryana are pivotal to India’s food security, contributing significantly to wheat and rice production.
  • Government agencies have procured 25.5 mt of wheat in 2023-24, with Punjab and Haryana contributing 75.5%.
  • Climate shocks have impacted wheat yields, but Punjab and Haryana have weathered these better than other states.
  • Rice procurement has diversified, but Punjab and Haryana remain key players, contributing significantly to the Central pool.
  • The NFSA requires 60-65 mt of grain to be procured annually to meet the needs of 813.5 million beneficiaries.
  • Punjab and Haryana’s high per hectare yields ensure their continued importance in ensuring food security.

FAQs

Q1: Why are Punjab and Haryana crucial for India’s food security? A1: Punjab and Haryana are crucial due to their high production and procurement of wheat and rice, contributing significantly to the Central foodgrain pool.

Q2: How have climate shocks affected wheat production in India? A2: Climate shocks like unseasonal temperature surges and heavy rain have impacted wheat yields, particularly in central India. However, Punjab and Haryana have managed to maintain high production levels.

Q3: What role does the NFSA play in India’s food security? A3: The NFSA entitles 813.5 million people to receive subsidized food grains, requiring 60-65 mt of grain to be procured annually, ensuring food security for a significant portion of the population.

Q4: How has rice procurement diversified in recent years? A4: Rice procurement has diversified with new states like Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and UP becoming major contributors, reducing the reliance on Punjab and Haryana.

Q5: What are the future policy implications for maintaining food security in India? A5: Future policies need to ensure adequate procurement even in years of climate shocks, with Punjab and Haryana playing a crucial role due to their high yields and resilient production systems.

By understanding the pivotal role of Punjab and Haryana in India’s agricultural landscape, policymakers and stakeholders can better navigate the challenges and ensure sustained food security for the nation.

Reference link: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-economics/punjab-haryana-national-food-security-wheat-rice-9332839/

June 2024
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