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There is a lot of scope for R&D in agriculture, especially in the development of high-yielding seeds, creation of an efficient plant disease forecast system, and effective post-harvest management. While national food security is important, there’s a need to focus on value-added exports in food processing.
How India can give a boost to agri exports by S. Chandramohan, The Hindu Business Line, August 9, 2022 Know More
Export bans on food items show somewhat irresponsible behaviour at the global level, unless there is some major calamity in the country concerned. India is in a fortunate situation that for food, it is largely self-reliant, except in the case of edible oils where it imports 55-60 per cent of its consumption. Think about how India felt when Indonesia banned exports of its palm oil.
Why rice and wheat bans aren’t the answer to inflation by Ashok Gulati and Ritika Juneja, The Indian Express, July 4, 2022 Know More
India has identified 2.8 million hectares of area where oil palm can be grown suitably. So far the objective of NEOM-OP [the National Edible Oil Mission - Oil Palm] is to bring in at least 1 million hectare under oil palm by 2025-26. Given the way international prices of edible oils have surged in the last year or so (by more than 70 per cent), it may be time for India to ramp up its efforts in developing oil palm.
An oil palm plan for home by Ashok Gulati and Ritika Juneja, The Indian Express, June 20, 2022 Know More
What is clear is that India is focussing more on agriculture, says Jain [Kamal Jain, Partner, Risk Advisory Practice, KPMG in India]. “Even if you look at GDP, the share of agriculture was coming down, but we see it again inching upwards of about 20%. There is a focus, so that agriculture becomes an area of revenue. Maybe at this point there may not be enough available in terms of agri exports, but we should create the capacity and the ideas to move in that direction,” adds Jain.
'Grow in India' might have a greater chance of success for now than 'Make in India', The Economic Times, May 26, 2022 Know More
Historically, sugar cane and rice have been among the most remunerative crops in India. The book [Farm Income in India: Myths and Realities by A Narayanamoorthy, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2021] has a chapter dedicated to each of them, which shows that the returns from even these crops are highly variable across states. In many states, growers of these crops have been incurring losses. The chapter on the incomes of paddy farmers shows that, barring Punjab, in all the states covered by the study, the number of years in which farmers incurred losses was more than the number of years in which they obtai¬ned a positive return. He shows that paddy producers in West Bengal incu¬rred losses in 23 out of 32 years for which data were collected. Importantly, the analysis shows that the differences in returns from paddy cultivation were not related to productivity but to the differences in the access to government procurement.
Agrarian Crisis and Farm Incomes in India by Vikas Rawal, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. 57, Issue No. 16, 16 April, 2022, 9 Know More
"The population explosion exerted more pressure on agriculture, which ultimately led to the green revolution. The aim was to increase the productivity of agricultural output. Is agriculture’s success being measured as higher produce per unit area? Further increase in food demand led to unprecedented land use and land cover change on a massive scale. The land use shift has changed one-third of the world’s geographical area; moreover, anthropogenic activity has affected around three-quarters of the earth’s surface in various ways. Agriculture and land use activities significantly influence global climate and conservation strategies. Furthermore, more food requirements shifted the focus on high-yielding varieties, causing the loss of genetic biodiversity."
Rice Crop and the Economics of an Ecosystem by Pankaj Kumar Anil Kumar Sharma, The Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. 57, Issue No. 17, 23 April, 2022 Know More
India, with 1.75 million sq km arable land and a 300 million cattle population has 160 million rural households with agriculture being the main source of livelihood. Hence, decarbonisation has to be carefully calibrated to avoid an adverse impact to over 120 million marginal farmers who are still in the ‘survival phase’ of their socio-economic development… Meanwhile, transition to sustainable and climate-smart agriculture and land use can create many jobs and enhance incomes apart from mitigating GHG emissions and environment pollution. Apart from livestock, the major constituents of agriculture GHG emissions are rice cultivation (17.5%), fertiliser application (19.1%), and field burning of agricultural residues (2.2%).
Decarbonising Indian agriculture: Chunk of capital needed for sustainable agri-pathways can come from repurposing existing subsidies by By Deepak Gupta & Kolluru Krishan. Deepak Gupta is former Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), and former chairperson, UPSC, and Kolluru Krishan is Chairman, CVC India Infrastructure. Their article appeared in The Financial Express on March 30, 2022 Know More
The ‘Digital India Initiative’ aims at widespread adoption of technology through digital platforms, analytics, artificial intelligence, block chain, machine learning, Software as a Service (SaaS) and IoT. The objective is to raise income of small and marginal farmers who may not have the capacity or technological support to improve farm efficiency.
Strengthening the technology ecosystem for agriculture in India by Dr.AbhilakshLikhi. The writer is an Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India and his column appeared in India Today on December 20, 2021 Know More
In her budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reaffirmed the Centre’s commitment to natural, chemical-free, organic and zero-budget farming... First, focus on promoting natural farming in rainfed areas beyond the Gangetic basin. Home to half of India’s farmers, rainfed regions use only a third of the fertilisers per hectare compared to the areas where irrigation is prevalent. The shift to chemical-free farming will be easier in these regions. Also, the farmers stand to gain as the current crop yields in these areas are low.
A roadmap for India’s natural farming ambitions by Abhishek Jain. The writer is a Fellow and Director of Powering Livelihoods at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW). His column appeared in The Indian Express on February 24, 2022 Know More
There are several pathways to increase farmers’ income. Important among these are increasing productivity, reducing cost of production, ensuring higher price, making direct income transfers, etc. These pathways are not mutually exclusive and can be used in conjunction with one another. Many of the initiatives taken in the past belonged to the first two categories, that is, increasing the productivity and/or reducing the cost of production. Even some of the programmes since 2014 to increase irrigation, improve soil fertility, and reduce farmers’ risk — such as the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana - (PMKSY), soil health card scheme and the Pradhan Mantri FasalBima Yojana (PMFBY) — fall in this category. However, since 2018, the focus has shifted to the third and fourth components, that is, providing higher prices to farmers and direct income transfers.
Policy Options and Implications: Price or Income Support to Farmers by C S C Sekhar who is with the Institute of Economic Growth, University of Delhi. His article appeared in Economic and Political Daily, Vol. 57, Issue No. 12, March 19, 2022 Know More