A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
A look at the news

Agriculture in India: Safeguarding farmers’ incomes,
a priority for 2016

March 14, 2016

India could become the world’s third economic power by 20301. And agriculture remains a crucially important economic sector among the drivers of this country-continent. Yet agriculture must cope with structural handicaps––over indebtedness and low productivity––which make fighting poverty and hunger all the more complex. A total of 194.6 million people are undernourished, or 15.2 percent of India’s population2, and although this number has declined substantially since the 1990s, the latest estimates are again showing that the number of hungry people is rising3. In fact, India must feed 17.5 percent of the world population with less than four percent of global water resources and four percent of total farmland, while agriculture is the country’s largest employer with 54.6 percent of the labor force, although it accounts for only 18.2 percent of the GDP4.

Following the passage of the 2013 Food Security Act––the world’s largest food distribution program that reaches 820 million persons––India recently announced it is making agricultural development a priority for 2016. By doing so, the country wants to reject the deregulation years initiated in the 1990s, and reinvest in agriculture in the name of the country’s national security. Indian agriculture was in fact be impacted by India’s “new economic policy” launched in June 1991, which aimed to liberalize the country’s economy by reforming the trade, financial and tax policies as well as the investment system5.

Due to the current difficulties experienced by India’s agriculture marked by the recent increases in protest movements and its exposure to climate hazards, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made the commitment to Parliament on February 29, 2016 to “double” farmers’ incomes “by 2022”. He stated that farmers are “the backbone” of the country’s food security, and feels that one must go “beyond the search for food security to give back a type of income security to farmers.” On the whole, India will allocate 877.6 billion rupees ($12.7 billion) to rural development in its annual budget.

To do so, the Government plans to advance the expansion of the Internet, especially through the digital and virtual elaboration of a platform of agricultural product sales6, and the intensification of a crop insurance policy. The Central Government and the Federated States expect to allocate the equivalent of $1.14 billion, or more than twice the current allocation7, to crop insurance programs in 2018/2019.

These new measures are enhancing a far-reaching agricultural policy based on a significant system of public reserves introduced in 1965 to provide a food distribution scheme and especially to stabilize prices. Managed by the public entity Food Corporation of India (FCI)8, this reserve policy has also helped consumers by stabilizing prices, as indicated in an OECD report9. The public reserve policy is also fervently supported by India at the WTO: The country is in fact the G33 leading figure seeking to alter the rules of international trade of agricultural commodities that could at that time constrain its strategy to stabilize domestic prices.

évolution du prix du lait

At the national level, the recent decisions made by the New Delhi administration must now be implemented, with the risk of facing the lack of technical and financial infrastructures, regional political pressures and a rampant corruption. Nevertheless, by targeting the stabilization of farming incomes, this new initiative plays a part in the broader strategy to recapture the Indian agricultural and economic potential.

1 According to a study from the audit firm PwC “Future of India” published in April 2015.
2 The FAO World Hunger Map 2015 is available from: http://www.fao.org/hunger/en/
3 Report on the State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI) published by the FAO, the WFP and the IFAD in May 2015 http://www.fao.org/hunger/en/
4 Source: French Ministry of Agriculture http://agriculture.gouv.fr/les-politiques-agricoles-travers-le-monde
5 FAO document repository http://www.fao.org/docrep/v6800f/V6800F0d.htm
6 Such platform will be launched on April 14, 2016, and additional information is available from: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/digital-farm-market-platform-to-be-launched-on-april-14-pm-modi/articleshow/51040370.cms
7 “Crop insurance in India: Closing the system’s loopholes”, Jean-Christophe Debar, Fondation FARM blog, February 22, 2016 http://www.fondation-farm.org/zoe.php?s=blogfarm&w=wt&idt=2071
8 http://fci.gov.in/storages.php
9 The complete text of the OECD report is available from: www.oecd.org/tad/events/AL-Annelies%20Deuss.pdf

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Paris, 15 December 2018