The writer is chair professor for agriculture at ICRIER. Views are personal
Retail distribution lines need to be seamlessly linked to wholesale supply lines.
Montek Singh Ahluwalia’s book helps frame the problem: Tilt in favour of consumer in food policy reduces incentives for farmers, makes it difficult to unlock resources for growth.
Global experience shows that with the right public policies focusing on agriculture, improved sanitation, and women’s education, one can have much better health and well-being for its citizens, especially children.
If there is one thing that bewilders a reader of the Union budget for 2020-21 in the agri-food space, it is the massive reduction in food subsidy.
The FM’s other ideas for agriculture, especially on Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF), which she repeated this year, need to be tested before it becomes a national policy.
All such investments will go a long way to augment farmers’ incomes in a sustainable manner. Else, I am afraid, much of the talk in the Union budget for agri-reforms will remain mere rhetoric.
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.
It is time to wake up from the onion nightmare and work towards more sustainable solutions, rather than knee-jerk measures.
Maharashtra’s farmers need a new deal. A task force must be set up under the NCP chief
Streamlining the agri-credit system to facilitate higher crop loans to farmer-producer organisations against commodity stocks can be a win-win model to spur agriculture growth.
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.
The government's concern over spike in onion prices is justified. But the policy instruments it is using won't solve the problem.
Government could give fertiliser subsidy directly to farmers and let them decide if they want to practise zero budget natural farming or use chemical-fertilisers.
Arun Jaitley hoped to transform agri-markets, subsidy structures. Implementing these ideas would be a fitting tribute to him.
Transforming agriculture in the medium to long run requires fundamental reforms in land institutions as well. This is what is missing in the new committee’s terms of reference.
Helping farmers produce solar energy can help realise the government’s target of doubling farmers’ incomes.
Replacing subsidies with direct cash transfers to farmers’ accounts will empower them as well as consumers.
Farmers can be given monetary rewards for saving electricity and water. Water-guzzling crops need to shift to geographically sustainable areas.