When it came to agriculture in India, major cities like Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata are far behind.
As a result, many farmers in these cities are forced to rely on local sources.
While farmers have long been forced to go out of their way to feed their families, it has been difficult to achieve a viable livelihood, as well as ensure adequate food security.
The rise in land prices has resulted in an exodus of rural families from the cities and, therefore, the rural population is being left behind.
The trend has been compounded by a rise in the number of food riots in these urban centres.
According to data from the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), there were 1,873 food riots, a jump of 8,711 over last year.
The number of such riots in Delhi and Ahmedabad jumped by over 60% and 32%, respectively, over last 12 months.
“In these two urban areas, the number rose by nearly 90% in terms of the number affected,” said NSSO Director General M N Rao.
The reasons behind the rise in such riots have varied from people living in crowded areas to poor food security and lack of availability of inputs.
“While the reasons for the rise are varied, we can point out that the increase in the rural areas is partly due to increased prices of fertilisers and other inputs,” said Dr V S Singh, the chief economist of the National Food Security Foundation.
“The trend is also in line with the trend in urban areas.”
But, farmers say they have not been able to afford to buy fertilisers.
“We can only grow enough crops at the rate of 50 kg of wheat per acre,” said a farmer in Kolkatta.
“So, we are getting Rs 10-15 per kg of fertiliser.”
Rising land prices and the scarcity of inputs have forced farmers to migrate to the cities.
“There are about 2 lakh people living around the Kolkatas,” said the farmer.
“They have been able go to Kolkataka and they have been moving to the capital.
It has been a good move for the farmers.”
The city’s demand for wheat and pulses has been rising.
According the latest data from India’s Food Processing Association, there were 8,500 more hectares of wheat and 8,000 more hectares in pulses in 2016-17.
The demand for pulses is driven by the high demand in rural areas and by demand for fodder.
“People have been migrating from rural areas to urban areas because of rising prices of pulses and wheat,” said Mr Singh.
“But, the urban areas are facing a different issue.”
In fact, the food riots are a manifestation of the fact that India has a very complex agricultural system, which is heavily dependent on inputs, said Dr M Ramesh, a farmer and researcher at the Food Research Institute of India (FRDI).
“So if we look at inputs, we would have to look at the entire sector.
There is an imbalance,” said Prof Rames.
“Food prices and land prices are a big problem in the urban and rural areas.
In addition, people are facing high unemployment.”
Prof Rames, who is also a former chairman of the World Bank, said that a large number of farmers in the country are not aware of the problems they face.
“Many farmers have not taken up agricultural skills.
They are not using fertilisers,” he said.