The Community Grain Banks can be sustained with locally procured grains, wherever feasible. They should be linked to the rural godowns scheme. The Banks could function under the overall umbrella of the Gram Sabha, and can be operated by local self-help groups of women and men. This will ensure their relevance to local conditions in addition to involving low transaction costs. The Community Grain Banks could be used for initiating at the local level food for work, food for nutrition (i.e. distribution of food among pregnant and nursing mothers, infants and old and infirm persons), waste land and watershed development, ecological restoration of common property resources and for establishing community water banks (see M S Swaminathan, Sunday Hindu, 15 October 2000). They can also be the vehicles for operating the targeted public distribution, Antyodaya Anna Yojana and other Central and State Government schemes. Thus, the Community Grain Banks can become instruments of eco-restoration, water harvesting and hunger-elimination.
We should link conservation, cultivation and consumption in a mutually reinforcing manner. For this it will be useful to foster the establishment of community gene, seed, water and grain banks in every village.
Increasing production and productivity
Future agricultural production programs will have to be based on a three- pronged strategy designed to foster an evergreen revolution, which leads to increased production without associated ecological and social harm. The following are the four major elements of this strategy for producing more in an environment-friendly manner: a. Defending the gains already made: This will call for conservation and enhancement of soil and water resources as well as forests and biodiversity through an integrated package of government regulation, education and social mobilization (through Panchayats and local bodies). The traditional "green revolution" areas are in urgent need of such an integrated natural resources management strategy so that the pattern of present production does not erode future prospects. The Punjab which is India’s granary today will become food insecure in 15 to 20 years from now, if the current unsustainable land and water use practices continue. Defending the gains already achieved will also need stepping up maintenance research for ensuring that new strains of pests and pathogens do not cause crop losses. Special steps are needed to prevent the introduction of invasive alien species, which are coming into the country along with imported food and agricultural commodities. These invasive alien species, like new and aggressive weeds, nematodes etc. can cause incalculable harm to the future of Indian agriculture.