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

Articles By Farming

Public Agricultural Science and Yield Barriers in Foodgrains

A descriptive analysis of the building of a national agricultural research system and its role in increasing yield and production of foodgrains in India between the 1950s and the contemporary period is presented. The changing emphases of the scientific establishment in guiding plant breeding efforts given the refinement of technological tools and the larger policy and socio-economic context are traced. Assessing the long-term outcomes of India’s green revolution, selected contrary views on the subject are responded to. Even in the absence of a transformation of production relations and the recent policy shifts that have fostered a crisis of profitability for small and marginal farmers, the achievements of the NARS facilitated a growth of productive forces in India’s agrarian economy.

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.

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.

 

The Political Economy of Plant Biotechnology

Farmers in developing countries have little voice in infl uencing agricultural research. However, they are not without political infl uence. The tension between these understandings is examined by investigating the importance of farmers in the political economy of genetically modifi ed crop approvals in India. The evidence shows that while farmers may not be important in shaping policy, they have the clout to defeat it. 

The (Repealed) Union Contract Farming Act, 2020

The rationale and the implications of the now repealed Union Contract Farming Act of 2020 and its implications for farmers is the focus of this article. It highlights some major lacunae in it from a design and small farmer perspective informed by experience of contract farming in India. The article argues for better provisions to protect smallholder interests and the need to leverage contract farming for their development.