Food inflation has been a major concern for policymakers and consumers alike last two years. Despite a series of fiscal, monetary and administrative policy measures, food prices have stayed stubbornly at elevated levels. The prospect of prices becoming truly consumer-friendly anytime soon appears remote.
Large public stocks of wheat and rice; duty-free imports of essential commodities such as wheat, sugar, pulses, edible oils; ban on export of sensitive farm produce; and tighter monetary policy have together failed to rein in inflation decisively. High food prices hurt the poor the hardest and erode their already fragile purchasing power.
As the government faces huge political challenge, its reactions in terms of adverse trade and tariff measures create policy risks for the trade and industry which then become business risk for stakeholders. This unsettles business plans, erodes competitiveness and hurts investments decisions. While supply-side issues remain intractable, demand side is robust because of generally rising purchasing power and demographic pressure. Importantly, our favourable macro-economic fundamentals drive demand growth.
As indigenous supply growth trails demand growth, India’s import dependence continues to rise. Edible oil and pulses are two prime examples, imports of which have zoomed to 8.0 million tons and 3.5 million tons respectively with prospect of rising further.
Meanwhile, food security issue has taken centre-stage with the government working on a Food Security Bill. Subsidy implications are a vexatious issue too. Indian agriculture also faces newer challenges is terms of shrinking natural resources, climate change and so on.
Be that as it may, now that the 2010 southwest monsoon performance has raised hopes of a rebound in kharif crop production, market participants constantly debate the future of government policies. Will exports continue to remain banned? Will zero-duty import regime continue? What are the global market cues and how would they affect the domestic market? Will food inflation come under control?
These and related questions will be debated in-depth in a two-day national seminar on ‘Food Inflation, Food Security and Food Price Outlook’ scheduled for - - - November 2010 in New Delhi.
The seminar is intended to take stock of the current situation, crystal-gaze into the immediate future and importantly, have experts discuss the price outlook for sensitive agricultural commodities such as wheat, pulses, sugar and edible oil. Domestic and international market dynamics will be covered. There will also be a critique of government policies and possibly, inputs for future policymaking.
Topics to be covered:
- Global agriculture market dynamics and Indian response
- India’s macro-economy and food market dynamics
- Challenges of Indian agriculture and the way forward
- How effective have been government inflation control measures
- How to support the poor in times of food inflation
- Role of technology in promoting food security (biotech and infotech)
- Domestic production, demand and supply outlook for
How to utilize pulses and edible oil to fight protein and calorie deficiency
- Coarse grains
- Edible oil
Planning Commission projections – how reliable are they?
Food grain management. Building of strategic reserve in some essential commodities to smoothen supply due to cyclicality of availability.
Global and domestic market price outlook (fundamental and technical analysis) for wheat, sugar, edible oil and pulses.
Target participants: agribusiness corporates, trading and export house executives, food processing companies (covering sugar mills, grain processors, edible oil mills etc), input suppliers (seeds, fertilizers, agro-chemicals), commodity exchanges, brokers and intermediaries, financial institutions including banks . . . . . .Visitors profile
Target participants: agribusiness corporates, trading and export house executives, food processing companies (covering sugar mills, grain processors, edible oil mills etc), input suppliers (seeds, fertilizers, agro-chemicals), commodity exchanges, brokers