You are here

Agriculture: Liberating farmers in India

 

Recent legislation summaries

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020

The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020

The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020

Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020

Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020

 
 

Playbook for reforming Indian Agriculture

Government and society in India have historically viewed farming merely as a means of achieving food security for the country. Farmers are considered annadatas, instead of legitimate entrepreneurs engaged in the business of agriculture. The liberalisation of 1991 did not touch the agriculture sector.

Despite decades of policy interventions, a majority of Indian farmers have not seen their incomes rise, nor have they been able to increase farm productivity. Farmers with small or marginal holdings, who make up around two-thirds of all farmers, find themselves prey to indebtedness, a lack of choice in inputs, and underdeveloped warehousing and processing facilities. In each agricultural cycle, we witness a host of farmer agitations, leading to further band-aid solutions.

The Union and states provide a host of subsidies for agricultural inputs and offer high prices for outputs by procuring food grains at minimum support prices for multiple crops. Simultaneously, policymakers walk the tightrope of protecting consumers from high prices through inexpensive grains to over two-thirds of the Indian population.

These policies ignore that the distress in the sector largely results from farmers having little or no control over anything in agriculture except perhaps tilling the soil. The government interferes with decisions at every step of the production and sale process. Pulled together, the policy framework has destroyed the signalling role played by prices, and no one is better off for it.

The Finance Minister, in her first budget speech in July 2019, expanded the scope of ease of doing business to include rural enterprises. She also opined that “ease of doing business and ease of living both should apply to farmers too.” Unfortunately, the political and social discourse in India still does not see the farmer as an entrepreneur who takes risks, analyses the market and engages in the production, marketing and selling of agricultural produce.

Against this background, the playbook:

  • imagines agriculture as an enterprise, and casts agriculturists as “farmpreneurs”;
  • distils key learnings from richer studies and reports; and
  • outlines the full-spectrum of reforms needed in the sector.

Much of the policy approach has been hostage to the myth of the “first transaction”, a notion as archaic as it is dangerous. The playbook’s approach has been to sidestep this notion and to treat the sector as any other. Farmers are not isolated actors, but entrepreneurs who engage in the market process, absorbing cues from prices and the actions of their competitors and buyers, making business decisions on what seeds to use and arbitrage potential in storing for later sale. This playbook lists eight distinct reforms needed in the agriculture sector so our farmpreneurs may be free to make and sell. These reforms cut across myopic land regulations, the regressive input subsidy and control regime, and the fetters on spot, futures and credit markets. The playbook largely focusses on bad policies that need repeal or revision, less so on things, the government needs to do more of.

READ THE FULL TEXT

 
 

Podcasts

कृषि संकट और समाधान

Azadi Podcast Ep. 02: कृषि संकट और समाधान

कृषि, किसान और डायरेक्ट कैश ट्रांस्फर

Azadi Podcast Ep. 08: कृषि, किसान और डायरेक्ट कैश ट्रांसफर

कृषि सुधार कानून 2020 - समस्या या समाधान | किसान नेता गुनवंत पाटिल के साथ

Azadi Podcast Ep 10: कृषि सुधार कानून 2020 - समस्या या समाधान | किसान नेता गुनवंत पाटिल के साथ

Spontaneous Dialogue Ep 1: From Annadata to Farmpreneur - Do farm laws benefit farmers?

Spontaneous Dialogue Ep 1: From Annadata to Farmpreneur - Do farm laws benefit farmers?

Spontaneous Dialogue Ep 2: Decoding India's Onion Crisis

Spontaneous Dialogue Ep 2: Decoding India's Onion Crisis

the-story-of-making-profit-from-agriculture-by-agripreneur-mr-sudhanshu-kumar

Azadi Podcast Ep 12: कृषि से मुनाफा कमाने की कहानी - किसान उद्दमी सुधांशु कुमार की जुबानी

 
 

Videos

Decoding India’s Onion Crisis

Struggle for GM Tech in India

Economic importance of GM crops for Indian agriculture

 

India's Opposition to GM Technology

PolicyTalk with Agriculture And Farmers Welfare Minister Jai Parkash Dalal

Regulatory loopholes in the governance of Genetically Modified seeds

 

Explained: All that is wrong with agricultural land laws in India

SO Basically - Episode 11 | Mandiyon Ki Manmaani

Problems with Essential Commodities Act

 

Regulatory Overreach and the Pesticide Ban

SO Basically Episode 15: Contract Farming के फायदे

SO Basically Episode 14: जा Farmer जा: Jee Le Apni Zindagi!

 

Spontaneous Order Dialogue on From Annadata to Farmpreneur: Do farm laws benefit the farmers?

Farm Laws under the spotlight: Discussion with Farmer leaders

Panel discussion: Farm bills under the spotlight

 

Essentially Uncertain: Why the Essential Commodities Amendment is incomplete

The Role of Agri-Businesses in Doubling Farmer Income