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

Review of Rural AffairsSubscribe to Review of Rural Affairs


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.

Agrarian Changes in the Times of (Neo-liberal) 'Crises'

Over the last two decades or so the dominant mode of talking about Indian agriculture has been that of “crisis”. Commentators and scholars have tended to attribute this crisis of the agrarian economy to larger processes at work, particularly to globalisation and the new policies of economic reforms initiated by India during the early years of the 1990s. While there may be some truth in these explanations, the framing of the “agrarian”, “rural” question in this discourse presents the complex and diverse rural realities in simplistic and populist terms. Such a discourse also invokes a sectoral policy response, where agriculture as a sector is seen as needing state attention, and ignores the internal dynamics of changing caste and class relations on the ground. Based on a revisit to two villages of Haryana, this paper provides a brief account of the changing nature of class relations in a post-green revolution rural setting with a specific focus on the changing nature of attached and “unfree” labour.

Of Human Bondage in Baran, Rajasthan

In the shadow of India’s growing economy, labour bondage continues for many Sahariya labourers in Baran district, Rajasthan. Some of them, however, have rebelled against their masters and attempted to break their shackles. This article presents the findings of a recent investigation of their living conditions as well as of their struggle for freedom.

Distress-Driven Employment and Feminisation of Work in Kasargod District, Kerala

This paper examines the feminisation of labour in a rural agrarian district in Kerala beset by agrarian indebtedness and distress. Without disregarding that women in less developed and agrarian economies are mostly engaged in agriculture and related activities, the focus here is on the newfound "interest" of women in economic activities in the rural sector in a changed economic scenario. In terms of the theoretical framework of the joint labour supply model of households, it examines the qualitative and quantitative dimensions of female employment in Kasargod, one of the economically distressed districts in Kerala.

Livestock for Higher, Sustainable and Inclusive Agricultural Growth

Diversification of the agricultural production portfolio to include livestock is an effective way of accelerating agricultural growth and reducing rural poverty. This paper now assesses the situation in India where livestock now accounts for a larger share of the value of agricultural output than foodgrains. It also discusses the technological, institutional and policy options to harness the untapped potential of this sector at a time the demand for animal food products, driven by sustained economic and income growth and an expanding urban opulation, continues to rise both domestically and globally.

Effects of Price Increase and Wage Rise on Resource Diversification in Agriculture

A price increase and improvement in the terms of trade of agriculture after 2004-05 have revived agriculture in Uttar Pradesh. The performance, however, has varied across regions within the state and among crop groups. Price policies in favour of cereals discourage land diversification, but rising agricultural wages induce shifts in favour of high-value crops. The growth momentum has to be sustained by price reforms and by promoting a set of non-price factors that encourages resource diversification towards high-value crops.

Caste-Based Clustering of Land Parcels in Two Villages in Uttar Pradesh

This paper examines if the land parcels in Indian villages exhibit caste-based clustering. Using digitised cadastral maps of two villages in Uttar Pradesh and a unique data set collected by conducting a survey in these two villages, we determine the caste of the owner of each parcel. We then used spatial methods to calculate Moran's Index for caste-based clustering. In both villages, we observed a statistically significant level of clustering of land parcels based on caste groups. This finding has important implications for social learning in technology adoption, sharing of agricultural inputs, and development of fragmented markets for inputs like groundwater.

Feed, Seed and Wastage Rates

Grains are required for direct human consumption and for feed, seed, wastage and industrial uses. In the 1950s, the Ministry of Agriculture came up with a formula of 12.5% as the netting factor. Though this number has no relation to any of the four components, there has been no change in this magic figure over the last 60 years.

Temporal and Spatial Variations in Agricultural Growth and Its Determinants

The agriculture sector has gone through different phases of growth, embracing a wide variety of institutional interventions, and technology and policy regimes. From the late 1960s onwards, the green revolution helped the sector maintain steady growth for more than two decades. But the challenges that swept through the economy in the 1990s after the initiation of economic reforms arrested this growth. Conscious efforts have brought about a recovery of growth since the middle of the first decade of the 2000s. It is important to assess whether the recent turnaround is sustainable in the long run. This paper analyses the trends in agricultural productivity at the national and state levels and attempts to identify the major factors responsible for the varied performance of agriculture in different periods and in different states.

Agrarian Transition and Emerging Challenges in Asian Agriculture: A Critical Assessment

Green revolution technologies and a vigorous smallholder sector have seen Asian agriculture make giant strides in the last five decades. But agricultural transition has not been uniform across Asia and the future of smallholder agriculture faces several challenges arising from a range of socio-economic, demographic, structural and institutional factors that could adversely affect its sustainability. This paper critically reviews the divergent experiences of agricultural transformation in five Asian countries - Bangladesh, India, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam - from a comparative perspective and points to the need for evolving new perspectives and policies towards sustainable and non-disruptive transformation of smallholder agriculture in Asia.

Temporary and Seasonal Migration: Regional Pattern, Characteristics and Associated Factors

The regional pattern of temporary and seasonal labour migration in India assumes sharp focus when seen in the light of data from the 64th round of the National Sample Survey. The phenomenon is more prevalent in rural areas of the country's northern and eastern states. This paper also examines the association between temporary migration and its determining factors, particularly economic status, landholding and educational levels. It observes that there is a significant negative association between economic and educational attainment and temporary migration, both in rural and urban areas. In general, socio-economically deprived groups such as adivasis and those from the lower castes have a greater propensity to migrate seasonally, which also reflects its distress-driven nature.


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