ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago:Minister for Food Versus Minister for Agriculture.

Weekly Note from Volume XI, No 39, September 26, 1959.

Shri S K Patil, Union Minister for Food and Agriculture, when speaking as Food Minister in Bombay and Madras, is positive that the current food problem is temporary and man-made. But when he gets down to letter-writ-ing as Minister for Agriculture, he loses his self-confidence. He opens his heart to the State Ministers and shudders with fright at the awful food shortage that looms ahead. Both in Bombay and Madras, Shri Patil as-sured everybody that there was nothing wrong with the supply of food except the manner in which it was being distributed...The Minister’s point was not only that last year’s crop was excel-lent, but that in recent years the food supply was increasing much faster than the population... But when Shri Patil writes to the State Ministers, he is frightened at the prospect of a shortfall of 28 million tons in 1966 if we do not go all out to reach a production target of 110 million tons by that date. To emphasise his point, he argues that though we have had for the current year a record production of 73.5 million tons, we have not seen any reduc-tion in food prices. There would obviously be more demand for food as the population in-creased, and unless we pushed up our rate of increase in food output to 8 per cent per year, we would be faced with an appalling situa-tion. Therefore, suggests Shri Patil, the Minis-ter for Agriculture, that we go all out to pro-duce more food; and if we fail to do so, we shall apparently be finished and done with. Whom are we to believe – the Minister for Food or the Minister for Agriculture? Surely, if food supply is increasing at 5 per cent and pop-ulation at only 2 per cent, why should we expect to be so terribly short seven years hence?

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