Nutritional Dilemma: Why Don’t We Produce As Much Sorghum As We Desire to Consume? What Can We Do About That?

Shalander, K and Das, A and Vaishnav, C (2021) Nutritional Dilemma: Why Don’t We Produce As Much Sorghum As We Desire to Consume? What Can We Do About That? In: System Dynamics Conference, July 25-30, 2021.

Full text not available from this repository.


The importance of dietary diversity for ensuring adequate and balanced nutrition is well established. India, the focus of this research, contains 23.4% of the world’s malnourished people including a high proportion of its children (38%) that are malnourished. One of the factors contributing to this problem is the steady decline of the production and consumption of those crops that have been traditionally important to the food and feed security, such as Sorghum and Millets. The resulting impact of such a decline of nutritious grains is grave. The rapid changes in diets and lifestyles in India, similar to many other countries in transition, have led to chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including obesity, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension and stroke, and some types of cancer — all causes of disability and premature death. Such a decline in the production and consumption of nutritious crops is puzzling, and the policy interventions to arrest it are fragmented. On the supply side, in semi-arid tropics (SAT) of India where annual precipitation is lower than evapotranspiration, Sorghum has traditionally provided both subsistence to farmers and insurance against climatic variability. Why is it being replaced by commercial crops like cotton and maize despite their higher cost of production and comparatively lower resilience to drought? On the demand side, despite the growing awareness about the importance of these Nutri-cereals among the health-conscious urban residents, why is their aspirational demand for these grains not manifesting into real demand? Added to this are the disparate policy incentives both on the demand and the supply side for Sorghum and the alternative crops that compete with it. In light of this complexity, this research investigates: What factors explain the persisting disconnect between the aspirational demand for sorghum and its production/supply? In this first phase of research that ultimately aims to achieve better income, resilience, nutrition, and employment via the development of Sorghum and Dairy integrated value chains, we utilize the expert knowledge, past data collection, and focus discussions with stakeholder during 2019 to build a system dynamics model that illuminates the factors causing the above supply-demand disconnect. The model has seven sectors: Production, Distribution, Inventory Management, Demand Generation, Price Discovery, Cost Calculation, and Farmer Income. By exploring the base case model behavior under four different scenarios — 50% yield increase, 100% yield increase, 50% demand increase, and 50% increase in both yield and demand — we demonstrate how and why the disconnected interventions on either the supply or the demand side, despite their short term gains, destabilize the sorghum economy in the longer term. We show that incentives on both sides are not only required but must also be in the proportionate measure to close the gap between the aspirational and the real demand. The next phase of this research will build on the work thus far by conducting extensive farm- and industry-level field research and also integrate the behavioral drivers on the demand side, once the travel restrictions are lifted in the post-Covid world.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: Global Research Program - Enabling Systems Transformation
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sorghum, Nutrition
Subjects: Mandate crops > Sorghum
Others > Food and Nutrition
Depositing User: Mr Arun S
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2021 11:05
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2021 08:07
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
    View Statistics

    Actions (login required)

    View Item View Item