The uproar over the Planning Commission’s new estimates of the poverty line has brought the food security debate into the news once again. This discourse in India has looked at poverty estimates, the access to food and food price inflation. However, in Africa, another problem unfolds – the sale of agricultural land to foreign companies (including those from India, China and the U.S.) mainly for agribusinesses. Is there an outward-looking shift in the policies that determine countries’ food security? India, too, has large tracts of agricultural land used to produce, now unprofitable, cash crops such as “BT cotton”. With more farmers falling into the poverty bracket and moving away from agriculture, does the food security debate need to be revisited from a new angle?
Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations hosted Palagummi Sainath, Rural Affairs Editor of The Hindu and author of the acclaimed “Everybody loves a good drought,” to discuss the issues of food security and the implications of the food security bill on India. The event was moderated by Gateway House’s Manjeet Kripalani. Sainath received the A.H. Boerma Award in 2001 for focusing attention on food security and the fight against hunger. In July 2004, he was awarded the Prem Bhatia Award for excellence in political reporting and analysis for 2003-04 in recognition of his “outstanding, indeed exceptional, work on the problems of the poorest of the poor, especially in Andhra Pradesh.” He is also the winner of the 2007 Ramon Magsaysay award for Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts.