Much of the government’s fresh slew of reforms is aimed at the hitherto neglected agro sector. The one on contract farming is of significance with marginal farmers accounting for over 70 per cent of the farm holdings in the country. Administering large numbers of contracts as also crop insurance policies would reflect adversely on the cost break-up besides throwing up problems of too many quality assays of the produce.
Hopefully, we would see the genesis of farm area cooperatives that would not only help evolve improved and scientific farm management techniques but also significantly reduce the cost of enabling inputs such as fertilisers, water, insurance and so on. This would also even out crop planning on a sub-regional, regional and national basis. Establishing regulatory oversight bodies to safeguard the interests of the farmer and the purchaser as also to operate within say, a three- to five-year national plan for the produce mix is vital. We have a long journey ahead but the march has begun.
R Narayanan Navi Mumbai
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