Current Affairs – 22 October 2021

Agricultural Productivity

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.

Way ahead:

  • 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:
    1. Invest in agricultural research and development
    2. Embrace science-and-information-based technologies
    3. Improve infrastructure for transportation, information and finance
    4. Cultivate partnerships for sustainable agriculture, economic growth and improved nutrition
    5. Expand and improve local, regional and global trade
    6. Reduce post-harvest loss and food waste.


Global Food Security Index

Indian Express

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.

Key Highlights:

  • 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

The Hindu

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.


Konkan Shakti

The Week

Prelims Fact


  • 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.




Prelims Fact


  • 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.
  • gel preparation has been developed for topical application over the affected udder surface.

Benefits : 

  • 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.