Down to Earth
GS 3 : Agriculture
- According to 2021 Global Agricultural Productivity Report (GAP Report), global agricultural productivity is not growing as fast as the demand for food, amid the impact of climate change.
- Total factor productivity (TFP) is growing at an annual rate of 1.36% (2020-2019).
- This is below the Global Agricultural Productivity Index that has set an annual target of 1.73% growth to sustainably meet the needs of consumers for food and bioenergy in 2050.
- TFP tracks changes in how efficiently agricultural inputs such as land, labour, fertiliser, feed, machinery and livestock are transformed into outputs like crops, livestock and aquaculture products.
- TFP growth is influenced by climate change, weather events, changes in fiscal policy, market conditions, investments in infrastructure and agricultural research and development.
- Climate change has already reduced productivity growth globally by 21% since 1961, the report said. In the drier regions of Africa and Latin America, climate change has slowed productivity growth by as much as 34 per cent.
- The report noted that middle-income countries including India, China, Brazil and erstwhile Soviet republics continued to have strong TFP growth rates.
- India has seen strong TFP and output growth this century. The most recent data shows an average annual TFP growth rate of 2.81% and output growth of 3.17% (2010–2019).
- However, in low-income countries, nearly all agricultural output growth comes from land-use change and forest and grassland destruction for cultivation and grazing.
- As a result, TFP in low-income countries was contracting by an average of 0.31 per cent per year, the report found.
- Policy reforms in the 1980s and 1990s generated respectable TFP growth in sub-Saharan Africa. But the region had been unable to sustain or improve TFP growth due to minimal investments in agricultural research and development (R&D).
- High-income countries, including those in North America and Europe, showed modest TFP growth.
- In the USA, agricultural output had increased 36% since 1982 due to the widespread adoption of efficient irrigation and precision agriculture.
- The report urged accelerating investments in agricultural R&D to increase and preserve productivity gains, especially for small farmers.
- It identified six strategies and policies that would create sustainable agricultural growth at all scales of production:
- Invest in agricultural research and development
- Embrace science-and-information-based technologies
- Improve infrastructure for transportation, information and finance
- Cultivate partnerships for sustainable agriculture, economic growth and improved nutrition
- Expand and improve local, regional and global trade
- Reduce post-harvest loss and food waste.
Global Food Security Index
GS 2: Issues Relating to Development
Issues Relating to Poverty & Hunger
- Global Food Security (GFS) Index 2021 has been released by Economist Impact and Corteva Agriscience.
- India (57.2 points) is ranked at 71st position out of 113 countries, but the country lags behind its neighbours Pakistan and Sri Lanka (77th position) in terms food affordability.
- But the country was way behind China (34th position).
- Pakistan (with 52.6 points) scored better than India (50.2 points) in the category of food affordability. Sri Lanka was even better with 62.9 points in this category.
- In case of availability of food, quality and safety as well as protecting natural resources for food production, India scored better than Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
- However, over the past 10 years, India’s incremental gains in overall food security score were lagging behind that of Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.
- India’s score improved only by 2.7 points to 57.2 in 2021 from 54.5 in 2012 when compared with Pakistan by 9 points (to 54.7 in 2021 from 45.7 in 2012) while that of Nepal by 7 points (to 53.7 points in 2021 from 46.7 points in 2012) and Bangladesh by 4.7 points (to 49.1 in 2021 from 44.4 points in 2012).
- China’s score improved by 9.6 points to 71.3 in 2021 from 61.7 in 2012.
- Ireland, Australia, the UK, Finland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, Japan, France and the USA shared the top rank with the overall GFS score in the range of 77.8 and 80 points.
- The GFS Index was designed and constructed by London-based Economist Impact and is sponsored by Corteva Agriscience.
- The GFS Index measures the underlying drivers of food security in 113 countries, based on the factors of affordability, availability, quality and safety, and natural resources and resilience.
- It considers 58 unique food security indicators including income and economic inequality – calling attention to systemic gaps and actions needed to accelerate progress toward United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030.
- The GFSI looks beyond hunger to identify the underlying factors affecting food insecurity around the world.
- The findings of GFS Index 2021 also showed that global food security has decreased for the second year in a row after seven years of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal of achieving zero hunger by 2030.
- The index shows that, while countries have made significant strides toward addressing food insecurity in the past ten years, food systems remain vulnerable to economic, climatic, and geopolitical shocks.
- Action is imperative at all levels–local, national, and global–to end hunger and malnourishment and ensure food security for all.
- Index shows that to meet these present and emerging future challenges requires that investments in food security are sustained – from innovation in climate-resilient crop yields to investing in programs to assist the most vulnerable.
Bhaskarabda to be added to official Assam calendar
GS 1: Art and Culture
- Bhaskarabda, an era counted from the date of the ascension of a 7th-century local ruler, will be added to the Saka and Gregorian in the official calendar of the Assam government.
- Bhaskarabda began when Bhaskaravarman was crowned ruler of the Kamrupa kingdom.
- He was a contemporary and political ally of northern Indian ruler Harshavardhana.
- In addition to Saka and Gregorian, Bhaskarabda will be used in the official calendar by the Assam government.
- It is a lunisolar calendar.
- The themes of this calendar could be wildlife, plants, culture, cuisine and other aspects of Assam.
- Unlike the Gregorian, where a day starts at midnight, the Assamese calendar begins and ends at sunrise over 24 hours.
- While the Gregorian goes by the solar cycle, the Saka and Bhaskarabda use a lunisolar system based on both the phases of the moon and the solar year.
- The gap between Bhaskarabda and Gregorian is 593 years.
- The UK and India will launch their biggest joint military exercise, Konkan Shakti, with the re-entry of UK’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) into the western Indian Ocean waters.
- The CSG, with HMS Queen Elizabeth—its new aircraft carrier as the flagship—has been on deployment all summer in the Indo-Pacific waters.
- The UK military engaged with their counterparts in Singapore and Bangladesh, and also did a “non-provocative deployment” in the South China Sea.
- The CSG’s deployment is an important one for the UK—its biggest after the end of the Cold War.
- In the exercise, there will be the re-entry of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) into western Indian Ocean waters.
- A poly-herbal and cost-effective medicine has been developed to treat Mastitis.
- The medicine called Mastirak Gel was developed by National Innovation Foundation (NIF).
- It has been developed utilising indigenous knowledge systems shared by a farmer from Gujarat.
- It has been commercialized through the industry partner Rakesh Pharmaceuticals.
- A gel preparation has been developed for topical application over the affected udder surface.
- It was found that the medication could minimize Somatic Cell Count (SCC) and improve the udder health.
- The Somatic Cell Count is a parameter noted globally, and efforts are fine-tuned in reducing the SCC in milk at the standard limit.
- Polyherbal medicine reduces inflammation which is detrimental to the udder.
- Dairy owners in eight states of the country — Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh have benefited by adopting Mastorak-anti mastitis herbal medication. It has reduced the use of antibiotics and helped in the cost-effective management of the disease.