India Turns to Imports to Refill Depleted Food Stocks

India Drought Affects ImportsIndia is taking major steps to alleviate the effects of its devastating drought. Pranab Mukherjee, India’s finance minister, said that the government will import food to offset the shortages that are affecting about 700 million people and destabilizing food prices in the country, the BBC reported Friday.

To avoid any possible price speculations, Mukherjee did not reveal details about what will be imported and when. According to several reports, however, lentils, edible oils and other staples heavily dependent on rain are likely to be brought in.

The failed monsoon season in India this year has brought about 30 percent less rainfall than normal, affecting almost half of India’s districts and causing food prices to go up by 10 percent.

Sharad Pawar, India’s farm minister, described the current situation in the country as “grim”: “Not just for the crop sowing and the crop health, but also for sustaining animal health, providing drinking water, livelihood, and food, particularly for the small and marginal farmers and landless laborers.”

Water shortages are a top environmental concern for Indians, according to a comprehensive global public opinion survey conducted by Circle of Blue and Toronto- and London-based surveying company GlobeScan. Compared to other environmental issues, Indians consider water pollution and fresh-water shortages to be the most serious, together with failed food crops because of weather.

Read a summary of the survey results and more information about India in Circle of Blue’s WaterViews multimedia report. Also, check out our photo gallery of India’s water challenges.

Download the complete GlobeScan/Circle of Blue Report [pdf].

Source: the BBC

Himalayas photos

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