Panel for debate on corporate farming

A. Saye Sekhar

Official in favour of an all-party meeting on the issue

The country has just 2 p.c. of world water resources

However, there are several questions staring at the idea

HYDERABAD: Mounting concern over the country’s food security in view of the 1.6 per cent of population growth rate, the Union Government, at the recent meeting of the National Development Council, wanted all States to discuss the merits and demerits of corporate farming.

India will have to rework its agricultural practices to improve the incomes of the 74 per cent of population, dependent on it, and strengthen the nation’s food security. The country has 16 to 17 per cent of the world’s population on 2.4 per cent of land and just two per cent of water resources.

At the current population growth rate, India will overtake China, where the population is growing by 0.6 per cent, in a decade or more.

Against this background, the Andhra Pradesh Agricultural Technology Mission proposes to initiate a debate on corporate farming. Deputy Chairman of the Mission D.A. Somayajulu, who has studied the subject in depth, wants the State to convene an all-party meeti to discuss the desirability of corporate farming to enhance productivity and good agricultural practices (GAP), its usefulness to farmers and the fate of thousands of agricultural labour.

Mr. Somayajulu says corporate farming does not mean purchase or hiring on lease of land by big corporate houses from farmers.

It is another way of bringing in the cooperative system, which couldn’t yield the desired result in almost all States, except Gujarat.

This concept envisages farmers of a few contiguous villages forming into a company in which they will be shareholders.

The general body would appoint the board of directors, who will facilitate GAP, use of quality seed, fertiliser and pesticide.

The Government should identify a cluster of villages and prevail upon them to take up corporate farming on a pilot basis, without interfering in the process. A condition he proposes is that land shall not be transferred to any company but it can only be inherited by legal heirs.

But several questions are staring at the idea.

Will it not be easy for big business houses to purchase the entire land from the farmers’ corporates? Who will decide the crop to be raised? Is it feasible in villages divided along caste, faction and political lines? Will the shareholding farmers work in the fields?

The country has just 2 p.c. of world water resources

However, there are several questions staring at the idea

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