World Grain - July 2021 - 6

FROM THE EDITOR
EDITORIAL STAFF
Editor
India's agriculture
conundrum
A
fter 60 years of operating in a
planned economy, India's agricultural
sector is changing course.
Last fall, after contentious debate, India's
parliament passed three laws designed to
liberalize sales of agricultural products
and pave the way for the country to become
a powerhouse exporter.
Advocates of the new free market
system say allowing the private sector
to play a bigger role will spur land consolidation
and investment in mechanization,
as well as generate economies of
scale that will greatly enhance productivity.
Instead of selling their crops to
the government at a minimum support
price (MSP) in local, state-regulated
markets, farmers can sell their harvest
via contracts nationally to a much wider
range of private actors. The government
contends
this
will
increase
farmers'
incomes and lower food prices. While
free markets generally function better
than government-controlled economies,
there are legitimate concerns that the
situation for India's smallholder farmers
will go from bad to worse. More
than 80% of ag producers in India are
categorized as smallholder farmers and
the livelihoods of nearly 60% of the
country's 1.36 billion people are tied
to agriculture. Those are jaw-dropping
numbers in this increasingly high-tech,
urbanized world. In most developed
countries agriculture
comprises less
than 5% of the labor force. In China and
Indonesia, two developing countries
often compared with India, the percentages
are 27% and 32%, respectively.
Under the planned economic system
that has been in place since the Green
Revolution of the 1960s, the government
purchases crops - mostly wheat
and rice - at an MSP, stores them in
government-operated warehouses, and
distributes them at a subsidized price.
Initially, the strategy helped India free
6
itself of dependence on foreign food aid
and become self-sufficient in grain. But
it has increasingly encouraged overproduction
and poor agronomic practices.
Perennially ranked No. 2 in wheat and
rice production, India is anticipating record
output in both crops this year. Unfortunately,
a significant amount ends
up rotting in government warehouses.
It is also worth noting that rice and
wheat combine for 70% of the world's
total water usage on crops. With 20% of
the world's population, India has only
4% of the world's water, but the country
is the largest extractor of groundwater,
with 90% used for agriculture. A 2017
study predicted that Punjab, the nation's
largest grain-producing region, would
exhaust its groundwater supply by 2039.
It's not that India's farmers have been
happy with the MSP system, which only
impacts a limited number of farmers
since wheat and rice are the only crops
the government buys in sufficiently large
quantities. But they fear a free-market
approach will allow large corporations
to gain more control over production and
make it impossible for them to compete.
So the choice is to proceed with the
free-market reforms, which can create a
more vibrant sector and increase India's
potential as an exporter but also may
strip millions of farmers of their livelihoods,
or capitulate to the protesting
farmers and keep some
form of the planned
system, which has left
most farmers at or below
the poverty line
and encourages overproduction
of
crops
that are taxing the country's soil quality
and water supply. Either way, there will
be painful consequences.
Arvin Donley
Editor
Managing Editor
Associate Editor
China Consultant
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World Grain - July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of World Grain - July 2021

World Grain - July 2021 - Intro
World Grain - July 2021 - 1
World Grain - July 2021 - 2
World Grain - July 2021 - 3
World Grain - July 2021 - 4
World Grain - July 2021 - 5
World Grain - July 2021 - 6
World Grain - July 2021 - 7
World Grain - July 2021 - 8
World Grain - July 2021 - 9
World Grain - July 2021 - 10
World Grain - July 2021 - 11
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World Grain - July 2021 - 14
World Grain - July 2021 - 15
World Grain - July 2021 - 16
World Grain - July 2021 - 17
World Grain - July 2021 - 18
World Grain - July 2021 - 19
World Grain - July 2021 - 20
World Grain - July 2021 - 21
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World Grain - July 2021 - 84
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/world-grain-july-2021
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/world-grain-june-2021
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/world-grain-may-2021
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/world-grain-april-2021
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/world-grain-march-2021
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/world-grain-february-2021
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2021_01_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2020_12_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2020_11_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2020_10_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2020_09_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2020_08_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2020_07_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2020_06_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2020_05_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2020_04_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2020_03_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2020_02_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2020_01_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_12_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_11_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_10_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_09_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_08_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_07_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_06_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_05_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_04_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_03_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_02_01
https://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2019_01_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2018_12_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2018_11_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2018_10_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2018_09_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2018_08_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2018_07_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2018_06_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2018_05_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2018_04_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2018_03_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2018_02_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2018_01_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2017_12_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2017_11_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2017_10_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2017_09_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2017_08_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2017_07_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2017_06_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2017_05_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2017_04_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2017_03_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2017_02_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2016_12_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2016_11_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2016_10_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2016_09_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2016_08_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2016_07_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2016_06_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2016_05_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2016_04_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2016_03_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2016_02_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2016_01_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2015_12_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2015_11_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2015_10_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2015_09_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2015_08_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2015_07_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2015_06_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2015_05_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2015_04_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2015_03_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2015_02_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2015_01_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_12_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_11_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_10_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_09_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_08_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_07_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_06_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_02_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2014_01_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2013_12_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2013_11_01
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2013_01_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2012_12_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2012_11_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2012_10_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2012_09_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2012_08_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2012_07_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2012_06_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2012_05_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2012_04_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2012_03_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2012_02_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2012_01_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2011_12_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2011_11_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2011_10_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/20111_09_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2011_08_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2011_07_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2011_06_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2011_05_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2011_04_01
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/wg/2011_03_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2011_02_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2011_02_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2011_01_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_12_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_11_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_10_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_09_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_08_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_07_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_06_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_05_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_04_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_03_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_02_01
http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2010_01_01
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