The massive accumulation of grain stocks is the result of a very inefficient strategy for food management wherein the procurement for wheat and rice (paddy) remains open-ended, but the disbursal of those stocks remains largely restricted to PDS.
Paddy stubble burning in states neighbouring Delhi, especially Punjab, is being seen as one of the reasons for the smog in the national capital. Change to a less water-guzzling crop will help address stubble burning.
India can learn three lessons from China — investing more in agri-R&D and innovations, improving incentives for farmers by carrying out agri-marketing reforms, and collapsing input subsidies into direct income support on per hectare basis.
Tomatoes-onions-potatoes (TOP) are the three basic vegetables that face extreme price volatility and the government often finds itself on the edge in fulfilling its dual objectives of ensuring remunerative prices for farmers and affordable prices for consumers.
One notable thing was the absence of emphasis on doubling farmers’ real incomes by 2022. Perhaps the reality that this is an uphill task has dawned on the government — it may not achieve even half the target.
Agri-marketing reforms should be the top priority in the government’s agriculture agenda. Three years have passed and one does not see any acceleration in farmers’ incomes compared to the trend line of 3.7 per cent during 2002-03 to 2015-16.