From Plate to Plough: India Must Get its Agri-Markets Right
With the overarching concern for food security of 1.32 billion people, India’s policymakers have a challenging task, according to an article on FinancialExpress.com. On one hand, they need to incentivize farmers to produce more, raising their productivity in a sustainable manner, and on the other, they need to ensure that consumers have access to food at affordable prices, especially the vulnerable sections.
In order to find a fine balance between these twin objectives, India has followed myriad policies that impact both producers and consumers. These policy instruments range from domestic marketing regulations (for example, APMC Act, Essential Commodities Act (ECA)), budgetary policies (such as input subsidies), trade policies (such as minimum export prices (MEP) or outright export bans, tariff duties), to food subsidies for consumers through the public distribution system. These policies work in complex ways and their impact on producers and consumers is sometimes at variance with the initial policy objectives. So, it is only desirable that policymaking is based on more informed and evidence-based research.
What has been the outcome of Indian policies in the agri-food space, say, since 2000-01? In order to respond to this question, OECD and ICRIER jointly undertook research over two years to map and measure the nature of agricultural policies in India and how they have impacted producers and consumers. The final report was released on July 5 in Delhi, and is available on oe.cd/ag-india.