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

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Farmer Suicides

Unravelling Farmer Suicides in India: Egoism and Masculinity in Peasant Life by Nilotpal Kumar, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2017; pp xv + 309, ₹ 995.

Pesticide Usage by Cotton Farmers in India

With India emerging as a leading cotton producer in the world, and considering the large-scale adoption of Bt cotton cultivation, there is a need to understand the patterns of pesticide use by cotton farmers, especially as environmental, ecological, and health concerns surrounding pesticide use continue to be debated.

Impediments to the Spread of Crop Insurance in India

The Government of India aims to double the crop insurance coverage to 50% through the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana by 2018. By analysing the agricultural household data, this article comments on the feasibility of attaining this target by looking at the past performance of similar schemes. Few critical areas where efforts need to be concentrated in order to increase coverage are discussed.

Indebtedness among Farmers and Agricultural Labourers in Rural Punjab

The paper examines various hitherto unexplored aspects of indebtedness among farmers and agricultural labour households in rural Punjab. It analyses the extent and distribution of indebtedness among farmers and agricultural labourers, their sources of debt and the per household debt incurred for various purposes. The paper also compares and contrasts variations in the rate of interest paid by different categories of farmers and agricultural labourers.

Migration, Bachelorhood and Discontent among the Patidars

Juxtaposing data collected in the 1950s with data from 2013, this paper describes some of the consequences of a crisis of agriculture in India as a crisis of values and aspirations. Among a relatively prosperous Patidar community in western India, agriculture continues to be economically remunerative while farmers are considered poor. Instead, the ability to secure a job away from land, to move out of the village and possibly overseas have come to constitute new markers of status in a traditionally competitive society. The paper departs from common representations of the caste as an upwardly mobile and successful group, and focuses instead on the discontent and on those who try to achieve the new values of the caste, but fail. As a consequence of failure it shows how Patidars recur to what, from an outsider's point of view, may seem paradoxical: in order to "move up" and participate in the culture and economy of the caste, they have to "move down." In this respect, the paper also contributes to understanding the unevenness of India's growth and the contrary trends that work both to strengthen and weaken caste identity.

Doubling Farmers' Incomes by 2022

How realistic is the objective of the Government of India to double the income of farmers by 2022? Is there a precedent? From estimates of change in income of agricultural households over the period 2003-13, this article suggests what needs to be done to achieve a doubling of real incomes. A focus on income from cultivation alone will be inadequate. Policy aimed at increasing net income from animal farming will be key.

Can Hybrid Rice Technology Help Productivity Growth in Asian Tropics?

The 1990s witnessed a significant deceleration in growth of rice productivity. The productivity potential of the existing modern rice varieties is getting exhausted especially under irrigated environments. This raises a serious concern about Asia's ability to sustain its food security in the 21st century. To find solutions to reverse this trend in irrigated systems, and raise yield levels in rain-fed areas, many public sector R and D institutions across Asia have invested huge public resources to explore new frontiers of rice science. However, many farmers, who grew hybrid rice initially, have started dropping out from hybrid rice cultivation. Can the currently available hybrid rice technology sustain productivity growth in the Asian tropics? Why has it not been possible to replicate in the Asian tropics China's success with hybrid rice? The paper provides a synthesis of major findings of a multi-country evaluation of farmers' experiences with the adoption of hybrid rice varieties.

Hybrid Rice in Bangladesh

The government of Bangladesh permitted four private seed companies to import seeds of rice hybrids for the 1998-99 boro season to make up the shortage of rice seeds after the floods in the 1998 aman (monsoon season rice) season, since there were no locally bred rice hybrids This paper primarily evaluates the farm-level performance of imported rice hybrids, based on representative sample farmers who grew hybrids during the 1999 boro season. The study findings support the view that hybrids were introduced in Bangladesh without a clear deployment strategy and without scientific evaluation of new rice hybrids under farmers' conditions before importing seeds.

India's Policy on IPRs and Agriculture

Though the farmer's rights concept is still weak as it is currently stated in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture adopted by 116 countries, including India, under the FAO last month, India and other developing countries could use the negotiations to establish an international concept of farmer's rights. India could strengthen its own legislation in this regard by coordinating its efforts with those of other countries.
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