Fives🚩

Fives🚩

28-09-2020

02:14

Fun Fact - per hectare, a farmer in Bihar earns more than a farmer in Punjab....₹4236 vs ₹3448. A farmer in Punjab is richer due to the higher avg land holding...3.62 hectare vs 0.39 hectare, pop density difference. Why is this & how is it related to the farm bill?

Punjab(& Haryana) have a robust APMC & state procurement system that focuses on cereal crops(rice & wheat). Bihar otoh did away with APMCs in 2006 & has smaller procurement operations. GOI procured 13 mmts of wheat & 11 mmts of rice from PJ vs 3 mt wheat & 1 mt rice in BH.

Due to the APMC structure, agri in PJ & HR is skewed towards cereals(70% of the total produce) whereas in Bihar it is only 40% cereals with the rest being fruits & vegetables, pulses, oilseeds, sugarcane etc. PJ & to a lesser extent HR have low produce of the latter.

The MSPs of major cereal crops are below ₹20/kg but for pulses MSP is on avg ₹60/kg, for oilseeds it is ₹44/kg. By focussing on lower-valued crops, farmers in PJ & HR are earning less per ha & missing out on the benefits, both monetary & soil health, of crop diversification.

Another thing that is harmful to the future of agriculture in PJ & HR is the excessive production on paddy/rice. The crop requires standing water & as such is suited to areas with high precipitation. Both these states have a semi-desert climate...

...and as such are not suited for this kind of production, even the soil type isn't meant for it. Standing water in semi-arid areas leads to excessive Calcification rendering the soil infertile over time. This can already be seen in the stagnating/falling per acre yield.

Per acre yield in both these states has either stagnated or fallen since the 90s(peak of green revolution). Same thing in Maharashtra, water guzzling sugarcane is sown in water deficient areas due to local agricultural system, leading to frequent droughts(Latur & all).

It is of utmost importance that farmers in these 3 states move away from the current farming practices & diversify their crops in accordance with the local climatic conditions. Less of cereals, sugarcane and more of pulses, fruits & vegetables.

Since we can't force the farmers(democracy), only option is to incentivize them to shift their cropping practices. This is why dismantling the current APMC monopoly is important, open it up to mulitple players, let farmers see the benefits overtime. They will shift

Reason farmers up North focus on Wheat & Rice is because the MSP & procurement system provides a safety net. They know that their crop will get sold at this price no matter what. It's also the reason opposition is saying that govt will do away with MSP & why PM clarified on it.

Change in system is bound to increase insecurity. Modiji has already stated that MSP will stay. Better comm & ensuring that the new system works out will allay these fears in quick time. Dismantling APMC monopoly should in theory provide better prices to kisans, baki let's see.



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