The globally interlinked mandi..

Preeti Edakunny, a PhD candidate at Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani in this piece cautions about moving to a global agri mandi:

The farm support policies and subsidies offered by rich nations, including the United States and the European Union, protect the interests of the wealthy in their own countries, while they distort farm produce prices globally. This hampers the possibility of the farmers in developing countries to earn a sustainable livelihood, as well as their access to markets.

….

The call to cease all subsidies in the farm sector is the mantra of the hour, the demand coming in both from external economies and from domestic corporates. There is an increased pressure through mechanisms such as the WTO to dismantle (albeit inefficient) agricultural intervention systems and expose the already battered Indian farmer to the distorted market. The urgent pressure is met with responsive eagerness by the government, a fact that needs to be explored through multiple frameworks to understand the reasons for the reciprocity.

Market reforms do not automatically ensure distributive justice. If we dismantle the existing intervention structure, without developing an alternative support system to take its place, we are creating an opportunity for heavily subsidised produce from external economies to enter our markets, killing the only source of employment and sustenance for over 60% of our nation’s population who have no other means of livelihood.

There is continued need for agriculture to receive the protection of the community and the state. Removing these protections would only create an uneven playing field for the farm sector. Without the provision of a real alternative, this will result in the farm sector bearing the brunt of the ever-growing inequity. If such financial unsustainability continues, there will continue to be an exponential migration of farmers out of farming. This comes with multiple societal costs, including loss of national food security. In the absence of the rich nation subsidies, the farmers could be competitive, and even environmentally sustainable food producers.

It is interesting how little things have changed despite several years…

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One Response to “The globally interlinked mandi..”

  1. MS Says:

    Great article, thanks for the link.

    But why do you think things have not changed even after many years? What is the market issue preventing an equitable domestic system? What’s the systemic issue holding back the farmers from organizing it themselves ?

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