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Transforming Food Systems for a Rising India

By: Prabhu Pingali, Anaka Aiyar, Mathew Abraham and Andaleeb Rahman

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book cover image "Transforming Food Systems for a Rising India"

About the Book

The Indian growth story is a paradoxical one. Despite economic progress over the past two decades, regional inequality, food insecurity and malnutrition problems persist. Simultaneously, recent trends in obesity along with micro-nutrient deficiency portend to a future public health crisis.

This book explores various challenges and opportunities to achieve a nutrition-secure future through diversified production systems, improved health and hygiene environment and greater individual capability to access a balanced diet contributing to an increase in overall productivity.

The authors bring together the latest data and scientific evidence from the country to map out the current state of food systems and nutrition outcomes. They place India within the context of other developing country experiences and highlight India’s status as an outlier in terms of the persistence of high levels of stunting while following global trends in obesity. This book discusses the policy and institutional interventions needed for promoting a nutrition-sensitive food system and the multi-sectoral strategies needed for simultaneously addressing the triple burden of malnutrition in India.

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Agricultural Economics and Food Policy book series (Series Editor: Chris Barrett)


‘This book… brings together high quality research, real world pragmatism and an understanding of the politics of Indian food systems.’

— Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director, GAIN and 2018 World Food Prize Laureate

‘[The authors] have done a masterful job of [demonstrating] paradoxes of India’s rapid economic growth concurrently with… persistent poverty, food insecurity and… a triple burden of malnutrition.’

— Uma Lele, President-Elect International Association of Agricultural Economics (IAAE)

‘Using a broad food systems approach, this book presents an outstanding and comprehensive analysis of the Indian food and agricultural system and its interaction with climate change, nutrition and health.’

— Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University and 2001 World Food Prize Laureate

Stories & Media Coverage

Dyson BusinessFeed: Tata-Cornell Institute’s co-authors launch new book on food systems in India

IFPRI Blog: Book launch: Transforming food systems for a rising India

Book Summary

Download the 4-page summary


Chapter 1. Indian Food Systems towards 2050: Challenges and Opportunities

Chapter 2. Economic Growth, Agriculture and Food Systems: Explaining Regional Diversity

Chapter 3. Rural Livelihood Challenges: Moving out of Agriculture

Chapter 4. Diet Diversity and the Declining Importance of Staple Grains

Chapter 5. The Nutrition Transformation: From Undernutrition to Obesity

Chapter 6. Reimagining Safety Net Programs

Chapter 7. Enabling Smallholder Prosperity through Commercialization and Diversification

Chapter 8. Linking Farms to Markets: Reducing Transaction Costs and Enhancing Bargaining Power

Chapter 9. Agricultural Technology for Increasing Competitiveness of Small Holders

Chapter 10. Managing Climate Change Risks in Food Systems

Chapter 11. The Way Forward: Food Systems for Enabling Rural Prosperity and Nutrition Security


About the Authors

Prabhu Pingali is Professor of Applied Economics and Founding Director of the Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition (TCI) at Cornell University. Pingali is a member in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and an AAEA Fellow. He was president of the International Association of Agricultural Economists and has over three decades of experience working with some of the leading international agricultural development organizations.


Anaka Aiyar is Post-Doctoral Associate with the Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition (TCI), Cornell University. Anaka obtained her PhD in Economics at the University of California, Riverside. Her research spans the area of health economics with a focus on developing countries. Prior to her PhD, she worked in India on field based action research projects, impact evaluations and has conducted market research for social entrepreneurs.


Mathew Abraham is Assistant Director of the Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition (TCI), Cornell University. He has a PhD from the Department of International Economics and Management, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. He has over 15 years of research experience in agricultural development, agricultural markets and food security in developing countries.


Andaleeb Rahman is Post-Doctoral Associate at the Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition (TCI), Cornell University. His research spans food policy, rural transformation and the political economy of development with a geographical focus on India. He wrote his doctoral dissertation at the Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research (IGIDR), Mumbai.