It seems Indian government is refocusing its policy bases on the agricultural sector and the buzzword is contract farming. The corporatized agriculture will have contracts with medium and small farmers in producing food processing and agro based industries. Niti Aayog has taken initiative regarding framing the legislation for contract farming.
There are 22 states in India that have agreed to adopt contract farming, although most of them are unsure about the approach that can be taken for the same. Narendra Modi himself has taken initiative in this regard. The earlier policy of NDA government that focused more on secondary and tertiary sector has not yielded satisfactory results. The subsequent measure taken, thus, by the ruling government is to have a keener look in improving the primary or the agriculture sector.
In favor of contract farming, Prime Minister Modi said, “The participation of the private sector had been increasing in many segments of the value chain but it should invest more in contract farming, raw material sourcing and creation of agri-linkages. Many international companies in India had taken the lead in contract farming initiatives and there were huge opportunities for global supermarket chains that consider India as a major outsourcing hub”.
He also requested the aerated drinks manufacturers to consider the inclusion of fruit juices in their products. He is of the view that fruit juice based drinks are part parcel of the Indian food habits.
He used the phrase ‘nutrition rich and climate smart crops’ in boosting the production and supply of the millets and the coarse grains having high nutrition value and the ability of withstanding adverse agro-climatic conditions.
“Can we link our [India’s] potential, to the world’s requirements? Can we link Indian traditions with the future of mankind? Can we connect India’s farmers with markets around the world? These are some questions that I wish to leave with you,” the prime minister said.
This kind of emphasis on agriculture is a far cry from what NDA government had been advocating in their tenure’s initial years. It is distant from smart cities, FDIs and ‘make in India’ approach. The failures of the above, although camouflage with various inconsequential issues such as cow politics, Pakistan etc; is beginning to hurt the common people. Over and above, the burden in the form of GST is cutting the pockets of Indian middle class almost like never before. Under such circumstances, it is sensible idea to address the agriculture sector as boost to this primary sector can pay dividend to the incumbent and also increase the country’s growth rate.