India earns nearly Rs. 65,000 crores by exporting Rice, synonym to water export as it requires 4000-5000 litre to produce 1 kg. At the same time govt spend Rs. 1,34,280 crore by importing Oilseeds and Pulses, most eco-friendly crops known to improve soil fertility and contribute to human health.
Oilseeds and Pulses, the major sources of vegetable oil and protein are most suited for Indian soils and range of agro-climates. Oilseeds crop, on an average, requires 900 litres of water for 1 kg worth produce. Whereas Pulses, the far more water use efficient crop just requires 50 litres of water to realize 1 kg produce. So, India as a policy must put emphasis on low water demanding high value energy crops with rational allocation of irrigated areas to overcome chronic shortages and mop up sizable revenues from exports.
Ministry of External Affairs has designated one officer each in 10 selected missions as Agriculture Counsellor. While welcoming such an aggressive strategy for developing international agricultural trade to achieve a growth target that is quantifiable, I would urge upon the government to take a top-down approach to bring about sweeping reforms (even at the risk of inviting criticisms and protests for heavy handedness).