Agrarian Change and Small Farmers
Super Markets, Viability and Food Policy
Publisher: Concept Publishing Company Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi
The book explores alternative ways of addressing issues concerning marginal and small farmers who cultivate 44 per cent of operated land in India and constitute 85 per cent of total holdings. Their numbers are on the rise as population increases and holdings get fragmented. At the national level, the output per hectare of the small farm is higher than the large farm, but it varies across States. The problems confronting small farmers are numerous: Imperfection in input and product markets; inadequate access to institutional credit; higher reliance on moneylenders; restricted reach to modern technology, extension services, education and skills; lesser gains from public irrigation and lesser electricity; inadequate land availability and tenancy reforms; limited power to bargain; small asset ownership; skewed accesses to markets and public goods and institutions. Comparative advantage of small farmer lies in low costs of supervising household labour as well as saving on marketing due to self-provisioning. Analyzing these growing concerns in India is the main objective of the book. Experts from multiple disciplines have contributed their research papers with in-depth evidences on each aspect of the subject. In all, 13 papers are categorized in the three sections of the book apart from the conceptual issues raised in the introductory chapter and concluding remarks at the end. The three major sub-themes are: (1) Small Farmers and Super Markets; (2) Small Farmers and Viability; and (3) Small Farmers and Food Policy. The book is expected to be a valuable contribution on the subject for all stakeholders, scholars and policy makers.