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Transformation of Indian Agriculture? Growth, Inclusiveness and Sustainability

S. Mahendra Dev.

IGIDR WP-2018-026.

There are three goals of agricultural development in India. These are: (a) achieving high growth by raising productivity; (b) inclusiveness by focusing on lagging regions, small farmers and women; and (c) sustainability of agriculture. In this paper, we will address two questions: (a) How far India progressed in the three goals of agriculture in recent decades? (b) What are the policies and reforms needed to transform Indian agriculture in the next decade?

This paper provides 10 conclusions on the policies needed to achieve three goals of agricultural development in India. These are : (1) There is a need for change in the narrative in the new context; (2) Global trends and macro policies are equally important for Indian agriculture; (3) We have to walk on two legs both agriculture and non-agriculture. There is a need to shift from cereal based agriculture to non-cereal based crops and allied activities; (4) Doubling farm income also has to focus non-farm sector, look at different size classes and environmental considerations; (5) Remunerative prices and market reforms can enhances farmers’ incomes; (6) The country has to go beyond harvest and give freedom for farmers on markets and exports; (7) Do not foreget basics like water and technology; (8) Inclusiveness is needed for board based growth and equity. Focus on small and maginal farmers, women, youth, rainfed areas, Eastern and other lagging regions, social groups like SC and ST farmers; (9) Measures have to be taken to take care of impacs of climate change and improving resilience in agriculture and sustainability; (10) Strengthening institutions and governance is crucial for achieving growth, equality and sustainability of agriculture.

URL: http://www.igidr.ac.in/pdf/publication/WP-2018-026.pd

Courtesy: IGIDR


Seasonal variation in the proximal determinants of undernutrition during the first 1000 days of life in rural South Asia: A comprehensive review

Emily M. Madan, Jere D. Haas, Purnima Menon, Stuart Gillespie.

Global Food Security, 19. 2018.

In this review, the influence of seasonal variation on undernutrition during the first 1000 days of life of life in rural South Asia is conceptualized using a modified framework developed under the “Tackling the Agriculture and Nutrition Disconnect in India” project. Evidence for the existence and extent of seasonality is summarized from 14 studies reporting on six proximal determinants of undernutrition. A limited number of studies examine seasonal variation in risk factors for this age group. All available studies, however, report a compelling finding of significant seasonal variation for at least one determinant of undernutrition. Research to clarify mechanisms for potentially adverse effects of seasonal variation on health and nutritional status during the first 1000 days of life is needed.

URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211912417301554

Courtesy: Sciencedirect

Farmer producer organizations as farmer collectives: A case study from India

Nalini Bikkina, Rama Mohana R. Turaga, Vaibhav Bhamoriya.

 Development Policy Review, 36(6). 2018.

Small and marginal farmers in India have been vulnerable to risks in agricultural production. Several organizational prototypes are emerging to integrate them into the value chain with the objective of enhancing incomes and reducing transaction costs.

Among these are Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs). We explore the potential of FPOs as collective institutions through a case study of Avirat, one of the first FPOs in Gujarat. Our analysis suggests that FPOs have the potential to provide benefits through effective collective action. The main challenge, however, is to raise sufficient capital to maximize these benefits. We discuss the implications of our findings to policy.

URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/dpr.12274

Courtesy: Wiley online library

The enduring prevalence of semi‐feudal agrarian relations in India

Guruprasad Kar.

Journal of Labor and Society, 21(3). 2018.

The windmill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam mill, society with the industrial capitalist (Poverty of Philosophy, Karl Marx). If one applies this correspondence directly, in a context independent way, he may land up in a bizarre situation. Rail in colonial India did not make it capitalist, and nor did tractor in the age of imperialist financial capital transform semi‐feudal Indian agriculture.

After the green revolution in the unreformed agrarian structure, the same semi‐feudal class relations that existed during British rule has been reproduced at a slightly higher technical level of production. In the 1970s and 1980s of the last century, where most of the studies of economists point toward the absence of genuine land reform and the prevalence of various pre‐capitalist forms of exploitation, there is a recent trend among some economists to characterize the present system of Indian agriculture as capitalist needing no further land reform.

In the predominant atmosphere of parasitic extraction through various market and nonmarket forms, the prevalent small peasant economy remains at the level of simple commodity production which has been in deep distress for the last two decades due to the liberalization of the economy. In our opinion, a retrogressive process like subdivision of holding due to population growth, which itself is a feature of pre‐capitalist formations, cannot render redistributive land reform irrelevant.

URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/loi/24714607

Courtesy: Wiley online library

Rethinking the agrarian question: Agriculture and underdevelopment in the Global South

Chris Carlson.

Journal of Agrarian Change, 18(4). 2018.

In recent years, agriculture has come to be seen as increasingly irrelevant to processes of industrialization and economic development in the Global South. The integration of developing economies into global capitalism and the continued advance of structural transformation would seem to indicate that there is no longer a classic “agrarian question” in the developing world. In other words, agriculture is no longer a major barrier to capitalist development in these countries.

However, there is reason to doubt this growing consensus. This article argues for a rethinking of the agrarian question in the Global South and presents evidence that capitalist property relations have not penetrated agriculture throughout much of the developing world. Contrary to recent trends in the literature, I argue that not only is there still an agrarian question in the Global South but also that it remains central to explaining lower levels of industrialization in these countries and, thereby, their relative underdevelopment.

URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/joac.12258

Courtesy: Wiley online library

How do farmers manage crop biodiversity? A dynamic acreage model with productive feedback

François BareilleElodie Letort.

European Review of Agricultural Economics, 45(4). 2018.

Previous studies on the productive value of biodiversity have emphasised that crop diversity increases crop yields. Here, we focus on the management of crop biodiversity for wheat, winter barley and rapeseed productions. We introduce productive capacity of biodiversity into a structural dynamic model with supply, variable input demand and acreage functions.

We estimate the model for a sample of French farms between 2007 and 2012. We highlight that biodiversity indicators influence the yield of crops and variable input uses. We find evidence that farmers manage their acreage to benefit from the productive capacity of crop biodiversity.

URL: https://academic.oup.com/erae/issue/45/4

Courtesy: OUP

The Cost of Nutritious Food in South Asia

Felipe Dizon and Anna Herforth.
World Bank Policy Research Working Paper-8557.


The high cost of nutritious foods can worsen poor diets and nutrition outcomes especially among low-income house-holds. Yet little is known about the spatial and temporal patterns of the cost of nutritious diets in South Asia, where malnutrition in multiple forms remains high.
Using existing food price data from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India, two methods are applied to assess the affordability of nutritious foods: Cost of a Recommended Diet (CoRD) and Nutritious Food Price Index (NPI). The analysis finds that the cost of a nutritious diet is 38 percent higher in Sri Lanka using CoRD compared to the cost of a (calorie-based) diet that meets basic food needs, and 15 percent higher in Afghanistan.
In addition, CoRD varies across cities due to variability in the price of dairy and vegetables. Comparison of the NPI and the food Consumer Price Index (CPI) indicates that, for some countries, the price of a nutritious food basket varies more by season and has been increasing at a faster rate than the price of a typical food basket. This phenomenon is largely due to the variable cost of vegetables.
Courtesy: World Bank