Focus on food security amid the pandemic

The Government is taking steps to support India’s agriculture sector and its export capabilities, as well as provide nutritional security by supplying essential food grains, pulses to more than 800 million people

May 8, 2020

The Government has distributed 7.4 million tonnes of rice and wheat since the lockdown began in the third week of March 2020

The Government will be providing 1 kg of pulses each to 195 million households across the country over the next three months

India is a leading Agri and processed food producer in the world with US$38.5 billion of exports in reported during 2018-19

Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution has stressed on the need to support the country’s agriculture sector

The Central Government is actively taking steps to boost the country’s agriculture sector and its export capabilities while providing nutritional security by supplying essential food grains and pulses to over 800 million people around the country. This has proven to be of great assistance amid the COVID-19 crisis. 

The Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, in a statement on May 8 detailed the Food Corporation of India’s (FCI) efforts to distribute almost 7.4 million tonnes of rice and wheat over the course of the nationwide lockdown. Shri Paswan added that the Government is also providing 1 kg of pulses each to 195 million households over the next three months, marking the Ministry’s largest operation of pulse distribution. This operation has been facilitated by the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme in 17 States and Union Territories (UTs), and through the traditional system in the other states and UTs

Meanwhile, the Government has strongly recommended a staggered approach to procurement operations, to maintain social distancing and necessary hygiene practices between the farmers visiting these centres. Besides, the Department of Food & Public Distribution has revisited the packing practices and restrictions to improve the efficiency of transporting food grains.

The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation, and Farmers’ Welfare has sought to address the problems facing Agri exporters, prioritising assistance amid the COVID-19 crisis. This is critical as India is a leading producer of several agricultural products across fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals, dairy, among others. In 2018-19, exports of agricultural and processed food products totaled US$38.5 billion, with the sector serving as a major job and revenue generator for the economy. 

Indian agricultural, horticultural, and processed foods are exported to more than 100 countries and regions, chief among them are the Middle East, Southeast Asia, SAARC countries, the EU and the US. India’s agri export markets have steadily grown over the years and continues to serve as a vital part of nutritional safety in these challenging times.