Country overview

India is home to about 17% of the world’s population, holds 15% of its livestock and 8% of its biodiversity on only 2.4% of the global land area with only 4% of its water resources. While India is self-sufficient in food production, close to 40% of its population is under-nourished and the country ranks 102 out of 119 countries in the 2019 Global Hunger Index. Small and fragmented landholdings, poor access to credit and modern inputs, scarce water resources and high dependence on rainfall, and inadequate processing infrastructure are key constraints in the sector. Capital investments in agriculture have a bias towards irrigated areas, with rural employment programmes being seen as the main solution to the crisis facing rainfed and dryland areas.

Agriculture is a major sector in India with 70% of rural households in India depending on agriculture for their livelihoods, with more than 80% of farmers being small and marginal. Forestry, another key sector in India, is the lifeline of at least 250 million Indians who depend on forest ecosystems for food, fuel, fodder and non-timber forest products. At the same time, land degradation affects one third of the country’s lands, at a cost of about 2.5% of the country’s GDP.

Nonetheless, climate change impacts including changes in rainfall patterns, heat waves, and reduced availability of water are all risk factors to food security, water supply, human health, livelihoods and could further lower farm incomes by up to 25%. It is high time for India, a country with immense potential, to develop more resilient and long-term food and land use systems.

To learn more about India: Read our global report or the India country pages.

Read the summary report of the Sustainable Food and Land Use Systems in India National Roundtable here

Read about the India launch of the Growing Better report here

FOLU in India

The FOLU India country platform is one of our latest additions and is being spearheaded by a core group of four organisations: The Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA), Revitalising Rainfed Agriculture Network (RRAN) and WRI India. The FABLE Consortium leads several key components of the FOLU work, including the development of decision-support tools and long term pathways for sustainable food and land-use systems. These tools can inform policy decisions in rigorous ways, beginning with a test case of the impacts of biofuels on India’s food and land use systems. FABLE India members include CEEW, IIMA, TERI and WRI India.

FABLE in India

Participating institutions: Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW); Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA); The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)

Team members: Manish Anand (TERI), Vaibhav Chaturvedi (CEEW), Chandan Jha (IIMA), Ranjan Ghosh (IIMA)

Publications: 2019 Report of the FABLE Consortium. Pathway for India.

Related news & resources

This report by the FABLE Consortium presents preliminary long-term pathways towards sustainable land use and food systems, focusing on efficient and resilient agriculture, conservation and restoration of biodiversity and food security and healthy diets.