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

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Maximum Sustainable Yield

Some scientific concepts are accepted and sustained by policymakers not because they can accurately explain or predict the state of natural resources, but because they can be used to legitimise certain forms of resource control. Taking the concept of maximum sustainable yield as an example, how it was originally developed in the context of scientific forestry, but entered marine fisheries management and became a part of the “accepted wisdom,” has been analysed. The consequences this has had, for marine fisheries globally and also in India, and the critiques it has spurred have been explained. The msy’s persistence is unpacked to suggest that debates on resource management need to be attentive to context, in order to understand how science may get enmeshed in efforts to enclose and appropriate resources.

Indian Agriculture

Sustainability of agriculture depends on soil management systems that ensure food security, healthy soils and ecosystem services, and prevent resource degradation. Globally, conservation agriculture has provided a common thread for the application of five sustainability principles—efficient use of water, reduced use of agrochemicals , improved soil health, adapt to climate change, and doubling farmer income—in order to tie the mix of interventions with local needs and priorities of the farmers. For food and ecological sustainability of Indian agriculture, the state’s interventions must be on the basis of the conservation agriculture approach.

Bovine Politics and Climate Justice

Caught between deepening ecological, climate, and economic crises, marginal and small farmers in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have been systematically pushed out of dairy and other livestock livelihoods. The growing political environment in India, openly supportive of cow-related hate crimes in the name of upholding anti-slaughter laws, is further destroying farmer livelihoods. Smallholder farmers are organising in creative ways, radically opposed to the dominant policy recommendation, in order to counter this situation and build climate and economic resilience that is socially just.

Agroecological Farming in Water-deficient Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is confronted with a water crisis that is adversely affecting agriculture, industry, services, and households. The principal crop in Tamil Nadu is rice, which is water intensive. Millets, in general, are less water intensive and more capable of withstanding drought conditions. An agroecological system of farming millets ought to take into account not only water use, but also the whole gamut of political and ecological issues that are connected to farming such as public procurement, land reform, minimum support price, subsidised credit, agricultural extension services, and so on. The publicly procured millet output may be distributed through the public distribution system, government schools, and through the network of Amma canteens in the state.

State, Community and the Agrarian Transition in Arunachal Pradesh

Following the rapid and uneven integration with the capitalist economy, the local economies and institutional mechanisms of the indigenous communities of Arunachal Pradesh have been transformed in multiple and complex ways. With the commercialisation of agriculture and the gradual emergence of private property rights, the community-based institutions for natural resource management and conflict resolutions are undergoing a multilevel transformation. This is mediated through the interactions among community, market and state institutions. With the expansion of the non-agricultural economy, a powerful class of local elites has attempted to extract rent through a variety of means, often using their membership of local communities and access to state institutions to safeguard their interests, against the backdrop of the ethnic competition between different ethnic groups.

Urbanisation and New Agroecologies

Rural–urban interfaces worldwide are increasingly witnessing massive transformations in the structure, functions, and services of complex ecosystems of these zones. An attempt has been made to understand the transitions triggered by urbanisation in the peri-urban agricultural systems of Bengaluru. Using a combination of land-use change analysis and group interactions, the temporal and spatial patterns in the impacts of urban expansion on agroecology in Bengaluru’s peripheries have been traced. The varying nature of agroecological and sociocultural impacts corresponding to differences in the pattern of urban expansion along different directions from the city have also been unravelled. Further, agroecological repercussions of existing and proposed urban planning strategies for Bengaluru have been discussed.

Global Status of Agroecology

Over the last decade, agroecology has rapidly moved from the margins and taken centre stage in global discussions on environment and development. Institutions like the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization increasingly argue that agroecology can significantly help alleviate hunger and poverty as well as contribute to meeting other sustainable development goals. In this context, the history and practices of agroecology are outlined, and some of the ecological, social, economic, and political challenges for transformation to agroecology and food sovereignty have been identified.

Agrarian Transformation and New Sociality in Western Uttar Pradesh

Over the last three decades, rural western Uttar Pradesh has undergone rapid change. The ongoing changes in agriculture, the decline of Jat political dominance, and the rise of the marginalised caste–communities have changed socio-economic and political relations, and have produced a new sociality shaped by new technologies and changing land–labour relations. The new sociality, which is a result of altering agrarian landscape, rural–urban dynamics and technologies of communication, mobility, and entertainment has provided fresh grounds for communalisation and communal violence.

Are Gold Loans Glittering for Agriculture?

Credit is essential for small and marginal farmers in India, whose low incomes limit savings, making them more vulnerable to several risks. Priority sector lending norms have channelled more formal credit to this sector. The interest subvention scheme for short-term crop loans makes formal credit more economical for farmers. However, there are issues of accessibility, most notably arising out of difficulties in presenting documentation, giving rise to a prevalence in the use of gold/jewellery as collateral. Loan data from three districts in Karnataka has highlighted some important lessons. The use of gold tends to exclude poorer farmers from availing all the benefits of the scheme, and poses issues of accessibility to formal credit. Digitisation of land records and farmer information, coupled with reduced recognition of gold loans in priority sector lending can be valuable to the Indian agriculture sector.

Widows of Farmer Suicide Victims in Vidarbha

Farmer suicides due to agricultural distress are a tenacious and recurring tragedy that plunge the lives of the unprepared widows into chaos. First, the widows must struggle to survive in the same circumstances that claimed the lives of their husbands, but with much less experience and guidance. Second, the widows must emerge from entrenched invisibility imposed upon them by the state, the community, and even the family. However, the study of five widows of the farmer suicides across a decade in Vidarbha reveals differential dependence and autonomy. The widow-headed households of earlier cases appear to succeed with time as compared to the later cases, and mostly through their own individual agency. The study, originally conducted through the years 2014–17 in 18 villages of six tehsils of two districts of Vidarbha, also points to normalisation of distress of widows that leads to their continuous exclusion from the state understanding of farmer suicides.

Contemporary Farmers’ Protests and the ‘New Rural–Agrarian’ in India

What are the reasons behind farmers’ protests? Using narratives collected from various parts of India, the underlying processes of socio-economic transformations, which have created a dual-identity crisis among farmers, are explained to argue that anxieties have manifested in large-scale protests, producing a new politics around rural–agrarian questions.

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