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

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Viability of Small Farmers in India

How Do Small Farmers Fare? Evidence from Village Studies in India edited by Madhura Swaminathan and Sandipan Baksi, New Delhi: Tulika Books, 2017; pp xii + 354, `995.

The basic characteristic of Indian agriculture is the development of capitalism in agriculture without a corresponding radical transformation in agrarian relations. The transformation of the traditional landlords into capitalist farmers over a period of time has strengthened the control of these classes in rural economy (Ramachandran 2011). On the contrary, the remaining rural population, particularly small peasantry, remained at an unfair disadvantage. The introduction of neo-liberal policies in India during the 1990s and retreat of the state from agrarian affairs in various forms such as decline in public investment, input subsidy to agriculture, removal of quantitative restrictions on trade and hence the import surge, have further accelerated the capitalist intervention and control on India agriculture. It has led to unprecedented agrarian distress in large parts of the country in which small farming households are gravely affected.

After more than two decades of neoliberal reforms, it is important to study the socio-economic condition of small peasantry because majority of the holdings in India are of small size. According to Agriculture Census 201112, there were a total of 138.35 million operational holdings in India. The average size of operational holdings was 1.15 hectares. Holdings of 2 hectares or less accounted for around 85% of all holdings and 45% of total area operated. The book under review is an outcome of the Project on Agrarian Relations in India (PARI) began in 2006. The findings of the book are based on the survey conducted by the Foundation for Agrarian Studies of 17 villages from different agroecological regions of India. It is an effort to intervene in the debate on the efficiency and sustainability of small farming with an objective to study the income and livelihood of small farmers in India. The work presents the meticulous empirical material on the characteristics and the crisis of small farming in India. It covers a wide range of issues related to the small farms such as cropping pattern, input use, income, cost, and livelihood standard of small farmers in India. It is an attempt to examine the socio-economic characteristics and viability of small farmers in India, locating farms and farmers in the broader context of capitalist development in Indian agriculture (p 340).

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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