Post-Covid agri reforms: Odisha could be frontrunner

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Representational image for Indian agriculture (related op-ed) | Photo: Prashanth Vishwanathan | Bloomberg

Many reforms in the Indian agricultural sector were long due for want of enabling rules in States or differences between State and Central  Governments. Covid-19, it appears, is ironing out those creases, paving the way for major reforms.

As the pandemic hit during Rabi harvest, proactive States did not lose time to relax or amend State-specific Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Acts to allow farmers to sell marketable produce directly to buyers outside designated mandis.

A few States also relaxed laws to give State owned and accredited warehouses the status of a mandi. These measures were to assure farmers remunerative prices for their produce and prevented crowding in mandis.”

Freeing up agricultural markets has often been advocated to maximise the income of the farming communities. Madhya Pradesh was among the first few States to amend its “mandi” Act to maximise the value of farmers’ produce. Subsequently, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat followed. Odisha is the latest entrant to the club with two ordinances (as the State Legislative Assembly is not in session) in May that promise comprehensive reforms in existing agricultural marketing laws and provisions related to contract farming.


Read full story on how Odisha is doing it:


The authors:

(Arabinda K. Padhee is country director- India for the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT); Shalander Kumar is Principal Scientist at ICRISAT; Rohit Pillandi is Senior Communications Officer at ICRISAT, Anjani Kumar is Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Views are authors’ own)

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