Thus, sustainable food security will have to be defined as "physical, economic, social and ecological access to balanced diets and safe drinking water, so as to enable every individual to lead a productive and healthy life in perpetuity". A life cycle approach will have to be followed in the case of nutrition, ranging from in utero to old age. Achieving such a form of food security will require synergy between technology and public policy.
There are, on the other hand, both internal and external threats to our agricultural progress. The most important among the internal threats in the damage to the ecological foundations essential for sustained agricultural advance, like land, water, forests and biodiversity. The other major internal weakness is the mismatch between production and post-harvest technologies, and the consequent need for the Government of India to undertake "trade relief" operations, on lines similar to those of cyclone, flood and drought relief.
The external threats include the unequal trade bargain inherent in the WTO agreement of 1994, the rapid expansion of proprietary science and potential adverse changes in temperature, precipitation, sea level and ultra violet ß radiation.
The global threats to the agricultural destiny of developing countries can be overcome only if industrialized countries, particularly the United States of America are willing to take the following steps.
Sustainable Advances in Agricultural Productivity
The smaller the farm, the greater is the need for marketable surplus to ensure cash income. Fortunately the gap between potential and actual yields is high in most farming systems. Even in the case of rice and wheat, the present average yield is just 40 percent of what can be achieved even with technologies currently on the shelf. Therefore a massive effort should be made to launch a productivity revolution in farming. An integrated approach is necessary to remove the technological, infrastructure and social and policy constraints responsible for the productivity gap and in some cases, productivity decline. Reducing the cost of production through eco-technologies and improving income through efficient production and post-harvest technologies will help to enhance opportunities for both skilled employment and farm income. Precision farming methods which can help to enhance income and yield per drop of water and per units of land and time need to be standardized, demonstrated and popularized speedily, if a reduction in the cost of production is to be achieved without reduction in yield.
As an immediate measure for strengthening food security at the level of individuals and households, there is no better option than initiating a systematic effort in each agro-climatic zone to identify and remove the constraints responsible for the prevailing yield gaps. This is true not only of crop plants but also of livestock and fisheries. The local panchayati raj institutions or other forms of local bodies should be fully involved both in identifying constraints that limit production and in removing them. The following are some of the other steps needed.