Agricultural policies are to blame
The linkage between agriculture and nutrition, and its impact on development indices is very clear, and a number of recent reports show this.
Food security
July 2012

Uttar Pradesh to set up 2000+ mandis
The State government proposes to reduce the distance that farmers must travel to take their produce to market to an average of 7 kms, and help boost farmers' incomes.
U.P. | Devinder Sharma
May 2011

Scars of the Green Revolution
Sick soils, declining yields, growing debts and rising malnutrition stalk the Punjab farmer, as the practices of the boom years catch up with him.
February 2011

A failed harvest
A vicious cocktail of weak purchasing power among the hundreds of millions of poor people, and a systems failure in tackling supply side challenges is driving food prices beyond the reach of many.
January 2011

Schizophrenia of agricultural policy
Any discussion of GM crops must take place within the larger framework of the indispensable need to promote biodiversity and set up agricultural policies linked to this need.
Sujatha Byravan | GM Crops | Biodiversity
March 2010

Reasons for the Bt Brinjal moratorium
Barely three days after the conclusion of the last of six public hearings, Minister of Environment Jairam Ramesh slapped a moratorium on the release of Bt Brinjal.
February 2010

Watching prices rise, helplessly
The current situation of impotence that the Government finds itself in should prompt some soul searching about the reliance on market mechanisms to take care of India's food security.
Trade in Agriculture
January 2010

Farmers sour on sugar cane
The handling of sugar production, sale and external trade by the government shows a complete absence of strategic planning on an issue that critically affects the aam aadmi.
Trade in Agriculture
September 2009

Edible oil policy on the boil
The policy that reportedly favoured Indian consumers at the cost of farmers has come back to bite the consumers with a vengeance.
Energy | Food security
August 2008

Too much fruit, too little bounty
As the heaps of pineappples grow bigger, prices will go down drastically from Rs.5 to Rs.2 and finally to 50 paise per pineapple, says Priyalal Sharma, a Tripura grower, who has also planted rubber on a portion of his land. Ratna Bharali Talukdar reports.
May 2008

Farm policy fails to address key issues
A two-day seminar held recently in Mumbai brought together policy makers, bureaucrats, social workers, farmers, journalists, activists and researchers. Scrutinising farm policy in depth, they said it fell short. Aparna Pallavi reports.
March 2008

Subverting procurement
Despite the high price of imported wheat, the government prefers this option to paying Indian farmers a higher support price for their crops. Bhaskar Goswami says that this amounts to a covert policy of dismantling the procurement and price support mechanisms.
May 2007

Cooking numbers as agri-volcano builds up
Using a deviously devised method, Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh is claiming that 75 per cent of Vidarbha farmer suicides are not due to indebtedness at all. Meanwhile, the toll has crossed 250 this year. Jaideep Hardikar reports.
Farmer suicides
April 2007

Burdman's farmers are faring better
The West Bengal government remains under a cloud due to violence over its industrialisation plans, but its procurement and off-farm processing support for farmers has helped them far more than Maharashtra's approach to the Vidarbha crisis. Jaideep Hardikar visited Burdman district.
Agriculture policy | Panchayats | West Bengal
March 2007

Replying with bullets
After the police firing incident at Wani in Vidarbha last month, the Maharashtra government's cotton procurement rose to 20,000 quintals in four days at one centre alone. But in weeks, it's back to the old ways, writes Jaideep Hardikar.
Farmer suicides
January 2007

Reviving Agriculture
In what appears to be a desperate move to prop up agriculture growth, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called for reversing the declining trend in investment in agriculture. But his approach may end up compounding the already existing crisis, writes Devinder Sharma.
Devinder Sharma
November 2006

Rich daddy, poor daddy
At the core of the agriculture crisis in Vidarbha are the disparities between the western and eastern regions that the state's policies have fostered over five decades. Starved of the funds that western region has for long received, it now hardly matters whether Vidarbha gains the status of statehood, notes Jaideep Hardikar.
Suicides | Maharashtra
August 2006

Bt: Flaky results, pre-determined consensus
Can transgenic cotton ever be a livelihood security measure for the majority of India's small-holder farmers? Keya Acharya is circumspect. She says that the Bt story in India is one of confusion. Bt appears more to favour 'rich' farmers, who have access to water and more resources.
Agriculture policy | GE/GM | Economy

Persisting on two left feet
Five and a half years ago, a visit to nine Karnataka farmers who were trialing Bt cotton showed regulatory breakdown. Six years on, despite fresh criticism by NGOs, scientists and the media, India's regulatory practice with transgenic crops appears to have offered a repeat performance of its 2000 conduct, says Keya Acharya.
GE/GM crops | Environmental regulation
June 2006

Seeds Bill 2004
Through registration and certification, the draft law seeks to promote quality seeds. But it's unclear if farmers can meet the standards set for commercial seeds. Controversially, the Bill also permits inspectors to carry out search and seize operations without warrants. M R Madhavan and Kaushiki Sanyal present a legislative brief.
June 2006

Corporate agriculture: transplanting failure
Growing corporate interests and influences in the country's farm sector are beginning to underplay the significance of cooperatives, despite failed pilot programs. Moreover, farmer-owned-firms continue to be successful in the developed nations, and this evidence too is being ignored, writes Sudhirendar Sharma.
May 2006

Biotech Policy: secretive and hasty
The government's stance towards biotechnology shows such disregard for the public interest that even its own Expert Committee is not privy to the proposed new policy. Suman Sahai protests the reckless endorsement of vested interests while many other stakeholders are kept in the dark.
GM Crops | Right to Information
April 2006

Food sovereignty, not just security
Despite abundant evidence that the PDS has failed to ward off starvation, the Centre proposes a new plan that shows none of the wisdom of this experience. Kanchi Kohli reports on an alternative grounded in local production, storage and distribution, which does a much better job of fighting hunger.
Hunger and food security
October 2005

The politics of farm technologies
Much of the agrarian crisis is the result of unwanted and cost-intensive technologies that have been forced on the farmers. Scientists were unknowingly trying to promote the commercial interests of the seed, tractor and the pesticides industry. And we don't need to repeat this error, says Devinder Sharma.
Devinder Sharma | Agriculture Policy
October 2005

UN MDGs, hunger, and biodiversity
Five years ago, the United Nations set a goal to drastically reduce hunger and poverty in the world by 2015. This September, the UN met at New York with over 850 million people going hungry everyday. To target hunger, an international consultation in April at Chennai had recommended a new approach to the UN, reports Ramesh Menon.
Biodiversity | Hunger
September 2005

This Seeds Bill must go
The National Seeds Bill was recently studied by a parliamentary standing committee after being introduced in the Rajya Sabha late last year. The bill has provoked controversy because it is seen as seeking to shift control of seeds from farmers to seed firms. Kavitha Kuruganti provides a critique.
Trade | Guest opinion
August 2005

Ahluwalia echoes World Bank's line
At a conference on the eve of the 2005-06 Budget, Planning Commission vice chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said he is advocating redistribution of farm subsidies into road construction and improving land use. Devinder Sharma warns that this is the World Bank's flawed understanding.
Devinder Sharma | Policy
January 2005

Poll freebies not relieving Vidarbha farmers
Last year saw Maharashtra go to the polls and the incumbent government offer freebies to farmers. But cotton growers in Vidarbha saw their problems worsen as they entered 2005. None of the political parties seem interested in a real way out, finds Jaideep Hardikar.
Agriculture policy | Elections | Maharashtra
January 2005

Rajasthan's water sharing woes escalate
Conflict erupted recently between farmers and government in Rajasthan over water supply, with farmers resorting to violence. There are simply too many stakeholders and too little water to satisfy everybody. But it is possible to make life easier for citizens, writes Deepak Malik.
Water | Rajasthan
January 2005


- Case for a moratorium on GM crops
- Biotech policy : task force report
- A revolution long turned brown
- The policy has no clothes
- The policy has no clothes
- Transitioning to organic
- Transitioning to organic
- Standing apart on common ground
- Saving water to feed the billions
- Diverting a river, west to east
- Organic : to combat pesticide residues
- Turning farmers into brokers
- Towards a grey revolution?
- A PIL for better regulation
- Nothing much to feel good about
- These food subsidies inflate prices
- Organic: market-driven, sustainable?
- Reorienting research priorities
- Legislate, then contradict
- The road to starvation
- Making agriculture attractive
- Zero Tolerance to Farm Subsidies
- The unbearable burden of being
- The harvest of death