Facts about India

Four decades after the Green Revolution seemed to be solving India’s food problems, nearly half of Indian children age 5 or younger are malnourished.


There is no agribusiness of the type known in the United States, with highly mechanized farms growing thousands of acres of food crops, because Indian laws and customs bar corporations from farming land directly for food crops. The laws also make it difficult to assemble large land holdings.

Yet even as India’s farming still depends on manual labor and the age-old vicissitudes of nature, demand for food has continued to rise – because of a growing population and rising incomes, especially in the middle and upper classes. As a result, India is importing ever greater amounts of some staples like beans and lentils (up 157 percent from 2004 to 2009) and cooking oil (up 68 percent in the same period).

The story is here.


One on hand, the absence of modern agriculture practices is bad for India no matter how you interpret it. On the other hand, this is great for the US, a major producer (and exporter) of exactly those products that India is politically incapable of producing on its own. A growing demand for lentil exports internationally is only a good thing for regions of the US like the Pacific Northwest that produce lentils.

Tyler, your headline FACTS about xxx poses the question of how you define fact. Sometimes I have the impression that for you any idea reported by NYT & WP journalists is a fact. At least you should acknowledge that journalists do not provide a source for their information --for example, what is the source to say that is a fact that nearly half of Indian children age 5 or younger are malnourished? In addition, although I like to read good anecdotes (say Mr. Talele's misfortune in the NYT story), I reject any extrapolation from just one observation (even assuming that this one observation is 100% true). Frankly, I have the impression that your epistemic standards have been declining --a case of being too close to NYT and WP journalists? I will not claim that it's a fact that your standards are as low as a journalist's but please provide us with a neat definition of fact, that is, when you consider that an idea has become a fact.

the idea that large scale agribusiness would benefit them doesnt hold water:


top ten crops (8 grains & 2 beans) take up about 5/8 of arable land

corn @ 150 bu/acre = 4 tons / acre

cabbage or potato yields could be 20 tons/acre, tomatoes only slightly less...

it's clear from this that substantially more people could be fed with intensive gardening, rather than growing grain...

Large-scale agribusiness is a tremendously stupid idea in a country like India. Land is your only asset. And you want more unemployment in the rural areas?

Larger problem is overuse of subsidized fertilizer.

Oh, and internal trade restrictions which bar food imports from one state over.

All these persuasive arguments about why modern farming is so stupid make me think it should be outlawed in the US too. It's only logical.

It's amazing what a colossal level of stupidity exists in the world, and sad how many people are affected by it.

Free markets are absent in India. That is the problem. When there is no free market for food, people starve. Actually, give them corn subsidies. That will fix it all. Look at the U.S. It's an easy choice.

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