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

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The Proposed Deregulation of India’s Sugar Sector

The deregulation of agricultural markets and its scope for benefits to farmers are examined using the system generalised method of moments to estimate India’s supply equations of sugar and sugarcane. An alternative theoretical framework is used to generate the supply equations—different from Nerlove’s Adaptive Expectations-based supply response function or the assumption of profit-maximising firms operating in a freely competitive market—which fits into the sugar sector’s regulatory system in India. The findings suggest that the proposed deregulations will not reduce the sugar sector’s cyclicality nor will it create a win-win situation for farmers and mills. Instead, the mills will benefit at the cost of farmers.

Does Public Procurement Benefit Paddy Farmers?

This paper investigates the impact of public procurement on paddy farmers in Bihar. Whether farmers’ access to public procurement agencies led to higher price realisation by them is examined here. The paper used a comprehensive telephonic survey of 1,976 farm households in eastern India (Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal) and employed an endogenous switching regression model to estimate the impact of public procurement on farm harvest price of paddy. The findings reveal that farmers gain by selling to public agencies. However, they are unable to receive the minimum support price.

Capitalising Nature

While producing “cheap” nature, capitalism produces climate change that challenges the entire process of capitalising nature. The system responds by creating “solutions” such as climate-smart agriculture, allowing for enhanced capitalist enclosure of smallholder farmers by big agricultural...

Agrarian Crisis and Farm Incomes in India

Farm Income in India: Myths and Realities by A Narayanamoorthy, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2021; pp 384, ` 1,695.

Argumentation by Misrepresentation

In this response to Chris J Perry and M Dinesh Kumar’s critique of the authors’ co-authored paper, “Water and Agricultural Transformation in India: A Symbiotic Relationship —I” by Mihir Shah, P S Vijayshankar and Francesca Harris (EPW, 17 July 2021), the authors seek to respond to a distortion of their views as well as what they claim is a ridiculing of powerful solutions to India’s water and agrarian crises.

Supply-side Problems in Food Loss and Waste

The food systems approach proposes reducing food loss and waste as a potential solution to achieve food and nutritional security. This is formalised in the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Despite the issue receiving such ubiquitous recognition, systematic efforts to measure and address FLW are absent in India. Our calculations show that one-sixth of agricultural production, accounting for one-tenth of the gross value added in agriculture, is lost. An efficient cold chain can reduce these losses substantially. However, the concept of an integrated cold chain is still in its infancy in the country, with greater emphasis being placed on single commodity cold storage. Promotional policies like the negotiable warehousing receipt system and the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund have not made an impact. Cold chain development will remain exclusive to export-oriented farmers and traders unless policies are introduced to enable small farmers, farmer producer organisations, and self-help groups to harness its benefits. Relevant start-up innovations can be scaled up through public support. A new institutional mechanism is needed to address the issue of FLW and achieve India’s SDGs.

Markets for Farmers

Based on the insights drawn from the fieldwork, we suggest a strategy to help the farmers earn remunerative prices. The central argument is that mandis can be strengthened to generate favourable outcomes for farmers, if farmer-oriented entities play dominant roles in them.

Changing Livelihood Dependence on Forest in North East India

In North East India, forestland in general and shifting cultivation in particular remain the primary resources and means of livelihood for many Scheduled Tribe people. However, the practice of shifting cultivation is not so prominent and is declining owing to the steady shift, transformation,and withdrawal from the labour-intensive shifting cultivation to non-agricultural livelihoods, resulting in an improvement of forest conservation and cover.

Farmers’ Suicides in India

Indebtedness, loss of livelihood, and ultimately, suicides by the farmers indicate the multidimensional nature of agrarian distress in India. The debt waiver is only a transitory measure. The centre and the state governments should adopt well-thought-out coordinated measures and strategies to find out a permanent solution for the agrarian crisis in the country.

Social Entrepreneurship Journeys in Agriculture

Farming Futures: Emerging Social Enterprises in India edited by Ajit Kanitkar and C Shambu Prasad, 2019; pp 532, ` 795 (paperback).

Income and Livelihood Promotion through Individual Assets under MGNREGA

The potentialities of individual assets, created under category B of Schedule I of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, for enhancing income of rural households and increasing productivity of land and agriculture are examined. The beneficiaries of individual assets gained, through the creation of new sources of livelihoods, additional utility of their existing assets and a rise in their income levels. The community also gained by an increase in food security through the enhanced productivity of land and agriculture, mainly through increase in crop acreage, yields per acre, and crop diversification. However, a proactive selection of landless households and diversification of individual assets is required to make the benefits of assets creation inclusive.

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