ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Sukhpal SinghSubscribe to Sukhpal Singh

Punjab's Small Peasantry

The small peasantry in agriculturally advanced Punjab faces a severe economic crisis. Though the total workforce has increased over time, the proportion engaged in agriculture has been falling and the number of marginal and small holdings has been declining. The farm surpluses of indebted farmers are very low, and 14% of marginal and 9% of small farmers are effectively bankrupt. Low profitability has prompted many small farmers to leave agriculture and 28% of them have entered the labour market. More pressingly, a significant number have preferred to take their own lives.

Surjit Singh: A Committed Development Economist

Rooted in development theory and grass-roots realities, Surjit Singh's understanding of development economics was holistic. It also aid reat attention to the plight of the marginalised. A warm and genuine person, he lived a humble life, and his agenda always had the deprived at the top.

Policy for Punjab's Agriculture

Punjab's new agriculture policy based on a report prepared by the Committee for Formulation of Agriculture Policy for Punjab focuses on yield enhancement and market orientation instead of demand-driven agriculture. While the report talks about the need for diversification, it does not bother to analyse the failure of earlier policies. The report is on the whole short on analysis and long on recommendations.

New Markets for Smallholders in India

The gradual withdrawal of the state from agricultural markets and the emphasis on the role of the private sector has meant the entry of corporate and multinational agencies through the opening up of procurement, wholesale trade and retailing. This paper examines the new corporate interface with primary producers in a small farmer-dominated economy. It contextualises the issue from the perspective of smallholders. It examines contract farming arrangements to show the exclusion of small producers from the retail chain; the performance of modern (supermarket) food retail chains in India and their spread and penetration into, or interface with, farmers; policy and regulatory issues; and some of the mechanisms and institutional innovations for more inclusive agricultural marketing systems.

Institutional and Policy Aspects of Punjab Agriculture: A Smallholder Perspective

Punjab's agricultural sector and allied activities are now in a crisis. This paper examines the role of policy and institutions in perpetuating or tackling it. It looks at the major initiatives taken by various organs of the state in the absence of any other major institutional alternatives and analyses their class and social biases from a smallholder perspective. It also discusses new mechanisms such as contract farming, corporate farming and policies granting agricultural incentives and subsidies before putting forward suggestions to benefit smallholders and ensure the sustainability of the farm sector.

FDI in Retail: Misplaced Expectations and Half-truths

The central government claims that allowing foreign direct investment into India's retail sector will benefit small farmers, expand employment and lower food inflation. What has been the experience in India with organised retail so far and what has been the global experience with FDI?

Farmers' Suicides in Punjab: A Census Survey of the Two Most Affected Districts

This is a report on the first-ever census survey conducted on suicides by farmers in the two most affected districts of Punjab, Sangrur and Bhatinda. It tries to arrive at the number of farmer suicides, the reasons (whether they were caused by economic distress alone or they were due to the interplay of the forces of economic distress, social conflict, cultural backwardness and lack of community/state support) and also the present economic status of the families of the victims.

Controlling Food Inflation: Do Supermarkets Have a Role?

Foreign investment in multi-brand retail is being pushed as an important tool for controlling food prices. But what is the global experience in developing/middle income countries where such retail is in place? A survey of the literature shows that FDI in retail often has the opposite effect. The impact on low-income consumers in low-income areas has been particularly adverse.

Implications of FDI in Food Supermarkets

This survey of the global and Indian experience with retail supermarkets, against the backdrop of a recent official paper on foreign investment in retail, highlights malpractices due to buying power, employment loss in the value chain, and an unwillingness to share the risk of the growers. In this context, it would be prudent to slow down supermarket expansion by using mechanisms such as zoning, business licences and trading restrictions. Measures to ensure smooth functioning of the contract farming system should include strengthening competition laws to limit buying power, providing legal protection to contract growers and encouraging farmer cooperatives and producer groups.

Survival of Agricultural Labour in Punjab: A Burning Question

The recent crackdown on the prolonged struggle being waged by dalit agricultural labourers in Mansa, Sangrur and Bhatinda districts of Punjab under the leadership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Liberation) for homestead land and jobs under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act calls for an investigation of the plight of this most oppressed and exploited section in rural Punjab.

Indebtedness among Farmers in Punjab

The main objective of this study is to assess the overall debt position of the farmers in Punjab and identify the factors affecting their indebtedness. The important policy recommendations that emerge are the need to improve the institutional agricultural credit system, to regularise and continuously monitor the functioning of non-institutional sources of finance, to reduce farmers' fixed costs in heavy machinery and equipment for which loans should also be based strictly on economic feasibility, to strengthen the dairy sector and create off-farm employment opportunities and to launch a mass campaign against intoxicants and extravagant expenditure on social festivities.

Producer Companies as New Generation Cooperatives

Traditional cooperatives have been unsuccessful in linking small farmers to the global market. Can the development of producer companies as new generation cooperatives turn out to be different?

Pages

Back to Top