Readings

Impacts on India's Farmers and Processors of Reducing Soybean Import Barriers

(October 2019). This study examines the potential impacts on Indian farmers and processors relating to reducing barriers to soybean imports. Model-based simulations find that with imported soybeans, processors could more fully utilize their existing crush capacity, reduce their unit costs, and sharply expand their sales volumes and revenues—leading to substantial economic benefits.

 “Changes in Herd Composition a Key to Indian Dairy Production” (June 2017). India is the world’s largest producer and consumer of milk. Growth in milk supply and demand has been robust, but projections indicate that production targets will be difficult to reach without stronger gains in productivity.

India's Dairy Sector: Structure, Performance, and Prospects

(March 2017). India is the world’s largest producer and consumer of milk. Growth in milk supply and demand has been robust, but projections indicate that production targets will be difficult to reach without stronger gains in productivity. India is now a small net exporter of dairy products, but trade policies have facilitated imports when shortages lead to high domestic prices.

Food Insecurity Measures: Experience-Based Versus Nutrition-Based Evidence From India, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia

(December 2016). Using survey questions, this report analyzes how well two common measures of food insecurity identify food-insecure households: An objective nutrition measure based on reported calorie consumption and a measure based on the household's perceived level of food security. With a growing preference for the experiential measure, it is important to evaluate its comparative effectiveness.

India Emerges as a Major Beef Exporter” (July 2016). Since the late 2000s, India has rapidly increased its beef exports—specifically water buffalo meat—narrowly overtaking Brazil as the world’s largest beef exporter in 2014. Recent ERS research shows that India’s beef exports grew from an average of 0.31 million tons during 1999-2001 to an estimated 2.1 million tons during 2013-15, or about 12 percent annually.

From Where the Buffalo Roam: India's Beef Exports

(June 2016). Since the late 2000s, India's exports of beef—specifically water buffalo meat—have expanded rapidly, with India emerging as the world's largest beef exporter in 2014. So far, Indian water buffalo meat exports have not been competitive with U.S. beef exports, primarily because they do not meet the quality preferences and animal health regulations required in the major U.S. markets.

"India's Agricultural Growth Propellers" (April 2016). ERS research on India's agricultural performance since 1980 suggests that increases in productivity have spread from the northern grain belt, led by accelerated growth in production of horticulture and animal products.

Propellers of Agricultural Productivity in India

(December 2015). Propelling the greatest effect on India’s agricultural productivity growth since 1980 were investments in public and private agricultural research and in irrigation infrastructure.

"Food Policy and Productivity Key to India Outlook" (July 2015). India is likely to remain an important player in global agriculture markets as an importer of vegetable oils and pulses—and an exporter of rice, cotton, and beef.

How Do Households Respond to Rising Food Prices in Developing Countries?” (March 2015). ERS analyzed Indian household consumption data to estimate the effects of rising food prices on food consumption and household welfare. Researchers found that because rice prices rose faster than wheat prices, households whose diets were dominated by rice suffered more economically than households who ate more wheat.

Coping Strategies in Response to Rising Food Prices: Evidence From India

(November 2014). In regions of India affected the most by a dramatic surge in global food prices several years ago, households coped by sacrificing diet diversity, as well as expenditures on medical expenses and durable goods.

The Impacts of Reforms to the Public Distribution System in India's Chhattisgarh on Food Security

(March 2014). ERS research shows that food security improved in Chhattisgarh, India, in response to food aid distribution reforms.

"What Can State-Level Reforms Tell Us about India's National Food Security Act?" (March 2014). India passed the National Food Security Act in 2013 to implement reforms in the distribution of subsidized food. The Act is modeled after reforms made earlier in the State of Chhattisgarh. Because of the Act, there have been significant gains in food security in Chhattisgarh, but impacts at the national level are uncertain.

"India Continues To Grapple With Food Insecurity" (February 2014). Despite progress and large outlays on food subsidies, India still accounts for the largest share of the world’s food insecure population. India's new National Food Security Act increases the number of households eligible for subsidized food grains, but questions remain on the impact of the legislation.

Why Do Indian Mangoes Cost So Much? “(May 2013). Many attribute the high prices of Indian mangoes exported to the U.S. to the costs of meeting health and food safety requirements for U.S imports. ERS analysis, however, finds that shipping and wholesale markups are, in fact, the biggest factors behind the high prices.

Specialty Crop Access to U.S. Markets: A Case Study of Indian Mangoes

(November 2012). Using the example of Indian mangoes, ERS finds that irradiation and other regulatory costs appear low relative to other logistical and marketing costs for fresh produce entering the U.S. market and sold in niche outlets.

Estimating the Range of Food-Insecure Households in India

(May 2012). Focusing on India, which has the world’s largest food-insecure population, ERS analyzes a large household data set used by India’s government to track household food security.

Counting India’s Food Insecure is Complicated” (December 2011). According to the most recent USDA global food-security assessment (based on estimates of national food availability), India accounted for the single largest share of the world's food-insecure population in 2010—about 28 percent.

Indian Sugar Market More Volatile”(June 2010). Sugar production in India, the world’s second largest producer, will likely drop sharply in 2009/10. India will shift from a net exporter of sugar to a large net importer. Swings in India’s sugar trade are increasingly significant for world markets.

Indian Sugar Sector Cycles Down, Poised To Rebound

(April 2010). A cyclical decline in sugar production is shifting India, the world's second largest producer, from net exporter to net importer during 2009/10 and contributing to the recent runup in global sugar prices. But sugar production is poised to rebound in 2010/11. The recent swings in Indian sugar production are primarily due to a policy-induced cycle that has become increasingly pronounced.

Growth and Equity Effects of Agricultural Marketing Efficiency Gains in India

(December 2009). Agriculture is the largest source of employment in India, and food accounts for about half of consumer expenditures. More efficient agricultural marketing could generate economywide gains in output and wages, raise agricultural producer prices, reduce consumer food prices, and increase private consumption—particularly by low-income households.

The Environment for Agricultural and Agribusiness Investment in India

(July 2008). Despite strong overall economic growth and strengthening food demand, investment in Indian agriculture and agribusiness has remained sluggish, and growth in farm output has slowed, since the early 1990s. The policy environment has grown more investor friendly since the late 1990s and private investment appears to be responding, but significant barriers remain and the pace of future reforms remains uncertain.

Indian Wheat and Rice Sector Policies and the Implications of Reform

(May 2007). The economic environment for India's food grain sector has changed significantly since the Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. Future developments will be shaped by changes in productivity and consumer demand, but primarily by how policies adapt to the new environment. Some of these changes—such as reducing price supports and the scope of government food grain operations—would likely curtail government costs, benefit consumers, allow for a larger private sector role in the domestic market, and increase reliance on international trade.

The Role of Policy and Industry Structure in India's Oilseed Markets

(April 2006). Rising incomes in India are likely to lead to continued strong growth in that country's demand for oils and oil meals. Extensive policy intervention affects Indian oilseed production, trade, and processing. Current high tariffs on oilseeds and oil are of little benefit to Indian producers, while imposing high costs on consumers. Policy reform, particularly liberalization of oilseed imports, could improve producer and consumer welfare and have a significant impact on trade.

India’s High Internal Marketing Costs Reduce Apple Demand”(February 2006).
India's imports of apples are hindered not only by high tariffs, but also by high internal marketing costs, which raise the price of the final product.

Prospects for India's Emerging Apple Market

(January 2006). Strong economic growth is projected to lead to continued expansion of Indian apple demand, but the high cost of domestic and imported apples compared with other Indian fruit is likely to limit consumption to higher income consumers. High internal marketing margins—or returns to traders over and above measured costs—are a major contributor to high retail apple prices.

Indian Cotton Yield Gains Could Limit Imports”(November 2005). Bt Cotton hybrids were first approved for India in 2002, and in 2005 Bt cotton varieties accounted for 17 percent of India’s cotton area. Cotton yields have grown by 45-87 percent as a result of the new technology and could result in a decline in import demand.

Growth Prospects for India's Cotton and Textile Industries

(June 2005). Indian cotton use is expanding due to rising demand in India, and increased textile and apparel exports, following the removal of Multifiber Arrangement quotas. Reforms to policies that discriminate against large scale manufacturing and use of manmade fibers should boost export competitiveness and demand growth. Raw cotton imports have increased recently, with future growth dependent on how much progress is made in improving domestic cotton yields and quality.

India's Poultry Sector: Development and Prospects

(February 2004). Poultry meat is the fastest growing component of global meat demand. India, the world's second largest developing country, is experiencing rapid growth in its poultry sector. In India, poultry sector growth is being driven by rising incomes and a rapidly expanding middle class, together with competitively priced domestic feed supplies and the emergence of vertically integrated poultry producers.

"The Elephant Is Jogging: New Pressures for Agricultural Reform in India" (February 2004). India's economy and agricultural sector have made remarkable progress in the 57 years since the country’s independence in 1947. Now, however, the agricultural sector has outgrown the policies that contributed to past success—as strengthening consumer demand, rising subsidies, and low agribusiness investment create pressure for policy reform.

India's Edible Oil Sector: Imports Fill Rising Demand

(November 2003). India is the world's leading importer of edible oils and is likely to remain an important source of global import demand for the foreseeable future. Income and population growth, trade policy reforms—and domestic agricultural policies affecting the productivity of India's oilseed farmers and processing sector—have contributed to an increased consumption and import demand.

India's Pulse Sector: Results of Field Research

(May 2003). India has the world's largest pulse sector, but despite liberal import policies, imports have remained a small share of supplies and per capita consumption has declined. This report describes the market for crops (such as chickpeas and lentils) in India and assesses the United States' competitive position as a supplier.

India's Consumer and Producer Price Policies: Implications for Food Security (February 2003). Rising retail grain prices (due to higher farm support prices) are the principal constraint to improving access to food by the poor, who spend roughly 80 percent of their income on food. Improving marketing efficiency and farm yields would allow retail food prices to fall without adversely affecting farmers.

India Relaxes Restraints on Agricultural Imports (November 2000). Following an agreement negotiated under the World Trade Organization, India will replace its quantitative import restrictions with a system of tariffs and tariff-rate quotas by early 2001. This agreement will provide trade access to all of India’s commodity markets, including agricultural markets.

Trade Liberalization and the South Asian Economies: Adjusting to the Challenges of Globalization (December 1999). South Asian countries have made significant strides in the past two decades in reforming economic policy, removing trade restrictions, and implementing Uruguay Round Agreement commitments. But further reform is needed to attain food security and improve economic growth in the region.