ABSTRACT

In the backdrop of larger developmental policies of the state and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in India, the tribal communities living around forests are confronted with a transition in the food production system leading to changing consumption patterns as well. The State-run Public Distribution System has recently come under criticism for providing cheap wheat and rice which has resulted in wiping out of traditional food grains like millets. At the same time, the revival of millets has gained policy attention as several experts propose it to make the current agriculture system more sustainable and sensitive to the problem of malnutrition. This chapter discusses the changes in agriculture production, consumption preferences and ideas of health in tribal communities in Jharkhand. It argues that these changes in the food system – both production and consumption – at the material and discursive level further reproduce the existing asymmetries of power and hegemonic knowledge systems. With a focus on the inherent politics of food production and consumption changes, this chapter suggests that there is an urgent need to rethink the existing policy mechanisms that aim to develop a more inclusive and sustainable nutrition sensitive food system.