Millennium Post

Wheat and beyond

The hike in minimum support prices of Rabi crops is a sigh of relief for the farmers. The distress inflicted upon them due to low gross earnings, despite healthy harvest at times, is somewhat burdened by the government, given the approaching elections. Wheat-led hikes ensure the produce of vexed farmers who have to face grim repercussions over a bumper harvest, which technically should sound like a splendid outcome, alas, becomes troublesome. Farmers can now be better assured of their produce for the fiscal year 18-19. The hike affirms the Government's interest in the agriculture sector's well being. A brilliant solution to Tuesday's agitation by farmers over crop prices or a neatly-plotted-timely-implemented card to eclipse the gaps in the agricultural setup prior to elections is a matter of perception. For farmers, either way, the decision heralds a comfortable harvest. From their point of view, a good produce and a handsome income sum up their aspirations, leaving farming-specific issues as glaring obstacles. However, from the nutrition point of view, a question floats in the mind whether the high production of wheat compensates for the nutritional requirement that the society holds. For that matter, rice too. This rice-wheat duopoly has withstood the changing paradigm of agriculture while progressing into the year of Millets. Much has been realised regarding the crop consumption and its nutritional impact on the people through the research regarding the nutritive value of wheat and rice against other crops. Rice and wheat celebrate high production due to subsidies and substantial exports nevertheless being positioned lower to sorghum, maize, and millets in terms of nutrients such as zinc, iron, etc. Taking another view into account, this perpetually water-guzzling duo increases water demand tremendously, stressing the stretched farmlands and sparking concern over potential scarcity. Being water-intensive alongside nutritively low is a combination that ideally should've lost the war for prevalence against the family of other cereals. Instead of favouring a mass boycott for the water guzzlers, which anyway seems hypothetical based on stupendous reliability upon it by the masses over decades, an optimal solution striking a balance of crops grown, giving priority to landscapes can be a win-win scenario. India shouldn't discourage rice-wheat production based on critical analysis. Rather, the critical analysis paves way for integrating the cultivation of other cereals with rice and wheat to have a reinvigorated agricultural system. In adverse times, an agricultural inventory of five is going to decrease the susceptibility to unforeseen threats of two. With a mammoth population that India holds, being decisive with its consumption policies is a significant matter.

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