Date of Submission


Date of Award


Institute Name (Publisher)

Indian Statistical Institute

Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Subject Name

Quantitative Economics


Economic Research Unit (ERU-Kolkata)


Majumdar, K. C. (ERU-Kolkata; ISI)

Abstract (Summary of the Work)

This thesis deals with food supply in a less developed country.In a world where social awareness together with technical progress is offering advances in all spheres of life, the persisting presence of hunger and malnutrition in any corner of the earth casts a shadow on all human achievements. It is said that over 800 million human beings in this world are suffering from hunger and a great majority of them live in Asia. Food problem has many dimensions (Timmer et al, 1983), but the solution lies mostly in adequate supply of foodgrains and proper distribution of the same. Any shortfall in food supply in a low income country has profound impact on the economy and is borne mostly by the poorer people through drastic reduction in their intake of basic nutrients (Ahmed and Mellor, 1988). In a free economic regime, foodgrain supply can come from both domestic and global sources, and imports/exports take place according to comparative advantage. In most countries, however, foodgrain trade has been largely regulated until recently and the emphasis is on domestic food sufficiency. Imports are resorted to when felt absolutely essential and exports are viewed as possible threat to internal food security. Moreover, in large and essentially agricultural countries, agriculture is usually the leading source of employment and a policy which favours uncontrolled import of foodgrains is viewed as a possible threat to the people's entitlement to a livelihood. Above all, globalisation can mean subjecting food security to the unpredictabilities of the world grain market and the production conditions of a few major exporters, Buffer stocks (and not just foreign exchange) are usually held by developing countries to bridge years of abundance with those of shortage. Export orientation of agriculture is considered appropriate only when the subsistence agriculture transforms into a market oriented one at the farm level. In spite of apprehensions toward free trade in foodgrains, globalisation has started off since the WTO agreement (1995). There are divergences in view point, but for a country with reasonable potential for agricultural production, a developed and productive agriculture is essential anyway, for meeting domestic requirements as also exports when the global market is favourable.In the decades following 1960, the supply of foodgrains in the world as well as in the less developed countries grew under the impact of the green revolution. However, the rate of growth in the case of less developed countries as a whole was only marginally higher than the growth rate of population (Paulino, 1988). Many developing countries turned into grain importers while some others, through successful use of technology supported by land reforms and price policies, managed to maintain self sufficiency.[1] The concept of self sufficiency however has more to do with market conditions than food security of the people, Essentially, it implies equality of demand and supply at given income levels and at acceptabie price levels. Income levels and thereby the purchasing power in most of the LDCS are low and self sufficiency has not always meant food security in the sense of adequate nutrition for one and all.(2] Economic development which raises income levels can cause rapid increases in food demand. In the coming years the green revolution, now at the verge of a saturation, will possibly have little to offer even in countries that have achieved self sufficiency. Population in many of these LDCs continue to grow despite population policies. With this growth rate being only marginally less than that of food grain output, immense effort would be necessary to stay away from a Malthusian predicament or in any case, a helpless dependence on imports would be unavoidable towards the middle of the next century.


ProQuest Collection ID:

Control Number


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Included in

Mathematics Commons