Timeline of food and nutrition in India

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This is a timeline of food and nutrition in India, describing agricultural and industrial food production, organizations, government policies and infrastructure related to food, as well as the level of nutrition of the population.

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Time period Development summary
20th century "By early 20th century, 3 out of 4 Indians were employed in agriculture, famines were common, and food consumption per capita declined in every decade."[1] "The Green Revolution in Asia in the 1960s led to increased production of staple food crops like rice and wheat, which reduced hunger and boosted incomes and overall economic growth."[2] "A decade later in the 1970s, the ‘White Revolution’ by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) made milk and other dairy products more easily and widely accessible. The usage of ghee, butter, paneer, and cheese enhanced the diet especially of the urban Indians thus pushing up the averages for the national daily intake of dairy and animal product."[3]

Full timeline

Year Event type Details
9000 BC "Some claim Indian agriculture began by 9000 BC as a result of early cultivation of plants, and domestication of crops and animals."[4]
3000 BC "Indians might have domesticated buffalo (the river type) 5000 years ago"
3000 BC "By 3000 BCE, turmeric, cardamom, black pepper and mustard were harvested in India."[5][6]
500 BC "Over 2500 years ago, Indian farmers had discovered and begun farming many spices and sugarcane"
300 BC "But by around 300 BC, under the Mauryans, a lot of Hindus felt that animal sacrifices added to your karma. Eating meat kept you from getting free of the wheel of reincarnation. Animal sacrifices became less popular. Although people didn’t give up eating meat entirely, they ate much less of it."[7]
650 AD "In the Gupta period, around 650 AD, Hindus began to worship a Mother Goddess. Cows were sacred to her, so Hindus stopped eating beef pretty much completely."[7]
900 AD "By 900 AD, lemons and purple carrots reached India from Central Asia too."[7]
1100 AD "And then around 1100 AD, with the Islamic conquests in northern India, most people in India stopped eating pork as well, because the Quran says not to eat it. People could still eat lamb or goats or chicken, but most of the people in India became vegetarians, and only ate meat very rarely or not at all. Along the coasts and rivers, though, people did still eat plenty of fish."[7]
1788 Food company EID Parry is founded. It specializes in sugar and distillery.
1800 Some 800,000 hectares are irrigated in India.[8]
1820s The British East India Company begins large-scale production of tea in Assam, of a tea variety traditionally brewed by the Singpho people.[9]
1880s Indian Famine Codes
1891 Tamil Nadu famine (1891)
1892 Britannia Industries is founded. It specializes in food products.
1929 Food company Parle Products is founded. It specializes in food.
1936 "The National Planning Committee, notes Suryanarayana, then defined goals in 1936 to alleviate poverty by setting targets in terms of nutrition (2400 to 2800 calories per adult worker), clothing (30 yards per capita per annum) and housing (100 sq. ft per capita)."[10]
1940s "The Grow More Food Campaign (1940s)"
1943 Bengal famine of 1943 "India had faced one of the world’s worst recorded food disaster, the Bengal Famine in 1943. "[3]
1946 Food company Amul is founded. It specializes in dairy products.
1947 Partition of the country in 1947 left India with 82% of the total population of undivided India but only 75% of the cereal production. The surplus province of Punjab was partitioned and West Punjab, which had a well-established network of irrigation canals, went to Pakistan, Sind province, which too was a surplus province also went to Pakistan.[11]
1947 " the 1947 Foodgrains Policy Commission was followed by a number of Commissions which examined the food policy from time-to-time. "[11]
1947–1948 "The food policy of independent India was examined by a Foodgrains Policy Commission under the chairmanship of Sir Purshottam Das Thakur Das in 1947 which submitted its report in April 1948. It came to the conclusion that imports were necessary to enable maintenance of central reserves to guard against crop failures and such reserve could be of the tune of two million tons. It simultaneously recommended that the commitment to maintain the rationing system, introduced during the World War II, as also the need to import foodgrains, should be liquidated in phases. "[11]
1948–1975 " A hectare of Indian wheat farm that produced an average of 0.8 tonnes in 1948, produced 4.7 tonnes of wheat in 1975 from the same land."
1949 " The Foodgrains Investigation Commission of 1949 again stressed self sufficiency."[11]
1950s "Integrated Production Programme (1950s) "
1950 " Foodgrains Procurement Commission (1950) stressed on maintaining a reasonable level of foodgrains prices to ensure adequate supplies to consumers. "[11]
1950–1951 A reported 50 million tons of food grain are produced in the country.[12]
1951 India's irrigation potential reaches 22.6 million hectares.[13]
1951 "The First Five Year Plan, launched in 1951, gave highest priority to Agriculture" "When India embarked on the path of planned economic development in 1951-52, the total foodgrain production was just 51 million tonnes" [11]
1957 " However, there was a decline of more than 5.5 million tons in 1957-58, forcing the Government to set up the Foodgrains Enquiry Committee (1957) under the eminent economist Ashok Mehta."[11]
1958 Price Increase and Famine Resistance Committee
1960s Green Revolution in India
1961 Nutrition "In 1961 the average Indian had a daily calorie intake of 2,010. Their daily diet consisted of 43% grains (378g), 23% produce (199g), 12% dairy & eggs (108g), 12% sugar and fat (108g), 2% meat (17g) and 8% as other (68g)."[3]
1965 The National Dairy Development Board is established under the auspices of Operation Flood at Anand, in Gujarat, to promote, plan, and organize dairy development through cooperatives; to provide consultations; and to set up dairy plants, which were then turned over to the cooperatives.
1965 "The next and a very important landmark was setting up of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and the Agriculture Prices Commission in 1965. The former was to provide price support to farmers by purchasing quantities that could not fetch minimum support prices in the market, store the grains scientifically, move grains from surplus to deficit areas and make available gains to states to feed the public distribution system."[11]
1965 "It will be seen from the table that it is only during one year i.e. 1991 that the availability of foodgrains crossed the recommended nutritional norm of 182.5 Kg. per capita per annum. (cereals plus pulses intake for male sedentary worker). However, the very next year it slipped down to 173.9 kg; a level that was achieved way back in 1965."[11]
1965–1980 Wheat production in India nearly triples in this period while rice production increases 60 percent with the new strains and new methods.[14]
1970 Operation Flood
1985 Food company Bonn Group of Industries is founded. It specializes in baked goods.
1990–2000 "The number of people undernourished has fluctuated, dropping from 210 million to 177 million between 1990 and 2000"[3]
1990–2010 "Between 1990 and 2010, the Indian fish capture harvest doubled, while aquaculture harvest tripled."
1990–2015 "The average daily protein consumption has risen from 55g per day to 59g per day in the past 25 years (from 1990-2015) with the protein from animal consumption increasing from 9g per day to 12g. The share of dietary energy supplied from cereals and roots has decreased from an average of 66g per day to 59g."[3]
1990 " Milk production in FY 1990 was estimated to have reached 53.5 million tons, and egg production had reached a level of 23.3 billion eggs."
1990s "Agricultural exports continued to grow at well over 10.1% annually through the 1990s."[15]
1992 "In FY 1992, India had approximately 25 percent of the world's cattle, with a collective herd of 193 million head. India also had 110 million goats, 75 million water buffaloes, 44 million sheep, and 10 million pigs."
1993–1994 "When India embarked on the path of planned economic development in 1951-52, the total foodgrain production was just 51 million tonnes. Within four decades or so, it is estimated to have reached 180 million tonnes in 1993-94. "[11]
1995 "The Indian government started midday meal scheme on 15 August 1995. It serves millions of children with fresh cooked meals in almost all the government run schools or schools aided by the government fund."
1995 India’s irrigation potential reaches about 90 million hectares at the end of the year.[13]
1997 Food company Organic India is founded. It specializes in organic foods.
1998 " It transformed India from a milk-deficient nation into the world's largest milk producer, surpassing the USA in 1998,"[16]
2000 "By 2000, Indian farms were adopting wheat varieties capable of yielding 6 tonnes of wheat per hectare."[17][18]
2003 Food company Suminter India Organics is founded. It specializes in organic products.
2004–2006 "The number of people undernourished has fluctuated, dropping from 210 million to 177 million between 1990 and 2000 before dramatically increasing between the years 2004-2006 where the recorded number of undernourished people shot up from 177 million to almost 240 million in the space of just 5 years."[3]
2005 "For example, in 2005, 40% of women in rural areas, and 36% of women in urban areas were found to have mild anaemia."[19]
2005 "According to a 2005 report, 60% of India's children below the age of three were malnourished, which was greater than the statistics of sub-Saharan African of 28%."[20]
2006 "The number of people undernourished has fluctuated, dropping from 210 million to 177 million between 1990 and 2000 before dramatically increasing between the years 2004-2006 where the recorded number of undernourished people shot up from 177 million to almost 240 million in the space of just 5 years. That figure has steadily been declining since 2006 and has remained consistent since 2009 to present at around 194 million."[3]
2007 The National Development Council adopts a resolution to launch a Food Security Mission comprising rice, wheat and pulses to increase the annual production of rice by 10 million tons, wheat by 8 million tons and pulses by 2 million tons by the end of the harvest season 2011-12. Accordingly, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, 'National Food Security Mission' (NFSM), is launched during the year.[21]
2008 India stands as the world's sixth largest producer of marine and freshwater capture fisheries and the second largest aquaculture farmed fish producer.
2008 Report claims that India's population is growing faster than its ability to produce rice and wheat.[22]
2009 India stands as the world's third largest producer of eggs, oranges, coconuts, tomatoes, peas and beans.[23]
2009–2010 India stands first in milk production, with 112.5 million tons of milk produced in 2009-2010.[24]
2010 "In India national obesity rates in 2010 were 14% for women and 18% for men with some urban areas having rates as high as 40%."[25]
2010 "Another Times of India report in 2010 has stated that 50% of childhood deaths in India are attributable to malnutrition"
2011 "In 2011, the agricultural sector workforce in the Indian subcontinent was 75% women."[26]
2011 "In 2011 the average Indian had a daily calories intake of 2,458. Their daily diet consisted of 34% produce (450g), 32% grains (416g), 18% eggs and dairy (235g), 10% sugar and fat (129g), 2% meat (29g) and 4% as other (58g)."[3]
2012 The national production from horticulture exceeded grain output for the first time.
2012 "With 21% of its population undernourished, nearly 44% of under-5 children underweight and 7% of them dying before they reach five years, India is firmly established among the world's most hunger-ridden countries. The situation is better than only Congo, Chad, Ethiopia or Burundi, but it is worse than Sudan, North Korea, Pakistan or Nepal."[27]
2013 "The total horticulture produce reached 277.4 million metric tonnes in 2013, making India the second largest producer of horticultural products after China."[28] "During the 2013 fiscal year, India exported horticulture products worth Template:INRconvert, nearly double the value of its 2010 exports.[28]
2013 "In order to provide the Right to food to every citizen of the country, the Parliament of India, enacted a legislation in 2013 known as the National Food Security Act, 2013. Also called as the Right to Food Act, this Act seeks to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two thirds of India's 1.33 billion population.[29] It was signed into law on 12 September 2013, retroactive to 5 July 2013.[30][31]
2013 India stands as the world's largest dairy herd (composed of cows and buffaloes), at over 304 million strong.[24]
2013–2017 "Agrifood start-ups in India received funding of US$ 1.66 billion between 2013-17 in 558 deals"[32]
2014 "As per the 2014 FAO world agriculture statistics India is the world's largest producer of many fresh fruits like banana, mango, guava, papaya, lemon and vegetables like chickpea, okra and milk, major spices like chili pepper, ginger, fibrous crops such as jute, staples such as millets and castor oil seed. India is the second largest producer of wheat and rice, the world's major food staples."[33]
2014–2015 A reported 250 million tons of food grain are produced in the country, this time becoming a net food exporter.[12]
2014–2017 "Agriculture storage capacity in India increased at 4 per cent CAGR between 2014-17 to reach 131.8 million metric tonnes."[32]
2016 "Recently (May 2016) the government of India has set up the Farmers Commission to completely evaluate the agriculture programme."[34]
2016 Agriculture accounted for 23% of GDP, and employed 59% of the country's total workforce in 2016.[35]
2016 The Indian Government launches a number of programs to double farmers’ incomes by 2022.[12]
2017 "The 2017 Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report by IFPRI ranked India 100th out of 118 countries with a serious hunger situation. Amongst South Asian nations, it ranks third behind only Afghanistan and Pakistan with a GHI score of 29.0 ("serious situation")."[36]
2018 "The 2018 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report ranked India 103rd out of 119 countries with a serious issue of child wasting. At least one in five children under the age of five years in India are wasted."[37]
2018 Indian Tea Giant Goodricke Group parent Camellia Plc becomes the world's largest private tea producer producing 103 million kgs.[38]
2018 "The Agriculture Export Policy, 2018 was approved by Government of India in December 2018. The new policy aims to increase India’s agricultural exports to US$ 60 billion by 2022 and US$ 100 billion in the next few years with a stable trade policy regime."[32]
2018 "The first mega food park in Rajasthan was inaugurated in March 2018."[32]

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See also

External links


  1. Maddison, A. (1970), The historical origins of Indian poverty, PSL Quarterly Review, 23(92), pp. 31-81.
  2. "The evolution of nutrition policies: Evidence from India". foodsecurityportal.org. Retrieved 10 July 2019. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 "50 Years of Food in India: Changing Eating Habits of a Rapidly Changing Nation (of Foodies)!". thebetterindia.com. Retrieved 10 July 2019. 
  4. Gupta, page 57
  5. Curry, Spice & All Things Nice: Dawn of History
  6. The Mystery of Curry
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 "Indian food history – spices and sugar in ancient India". quatr.us. Retrieved 10 July 2019. 
  8. India - History of Irrigation FAO - United Nations (2014)
  9. Nitin Aant, Gokhale (1998). The hot brew: the Assam tea industry's most turbulent decade, 1987–1997. Spectrum Publications. p. 4. ISBN 978-81-85319-82-7. 
  10. M.H. Suryanarayana. "Nutritional Norms for Poverty: Issues and Implications" (PDF). Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research. Retrieved 1 July 2019. 
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  14. "Food Production, History Of". encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 10 July 2019. 
  15. Gulati, 15
  16. "India largest milk producing nation in 2010-11: NDDB". Hindustan Times. 2011-12-20. Archived from the original on 2012-10-06. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  17. "Rapid growth of select Asian economies". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2009. 
  18. "Brief history of wheat improvement in India". Directorate of Wheat Research, ICAR India. 2011. 
  19. "NFHS-3 Nutritional Status of Adults". Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  20. Rieff, David (11 October 2009). "India's Malnutrition Dilemma". Source: The New York Times 2009. Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  21. "nfsm". nfsm.gov. Retrieved 10 July 2019. 
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  29. "National Food Security Act" (PDF). PRS Legislative Research. 
  30. "Press Information Bureau". Retrieved 5 January 2018. 
  31. "Food Security Act To Be Implemented From July 5". BTVI.in. Retrieved 1 July 2019. 
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  33. "FAOSTAT, 2014 data". Faostat.fao.org. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  34. "Farmers Commission". Archived from the original on 11 May 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2009. 
  35. "BENCHMARK REPORT 2017 – INDI" (PDF). World Travel and Tourism Council. Retrieved 11 April 2018. 
  36. "2015 Global Hunger Index Report" (PDF). International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). 
  37. "India ranks 103 on global hunger index". economictimes.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 1 July 2019. 
  38. Rakshit, Ishita Ayan Dutt & Avishek (18 April 2019). "Goodricke parent Camellia becomes the world's largest private tea producer" – via Business Standard.