New Delhi, Surendra Prasad Singh. The far-reaching consequences of the closure of agricultural reforms can be dire. Efforts to recover agriculture from losses have been hit by this. Due to this, the avenues of export prospects in the global market can be closed. Along with legal reforms, it will be necessary to make changes in the modus operandi of agricultural subsidies from time to time. While there is a grave danger of India being isolated in world trade, investors may turn a blind eye to the agriculture sector.

Farmers will have to be freed from legal web and seed technology

MSP may prove to be a boon to overcome the shortage of food grains, but this support price can prove to be a curse at the time of high production. Many such findings of the report of the then LK Jha Committee constituted for MSP and government procurement are eye-opening. Actually, ignoring these things of the report is now getting heavy. With the changing domestic and global environment, farmers were not prepared for the change. Presently this country is surplus in food grains production. But domestic farming lags far behind in terms of productivity.

Compared to the productivity of various crops in developed countries, our farmers do not stand anywhere. The reason is simple. Farmers do not have the necessary technology, which is being hindered by government laws. The country is avoiding seed technology. Thousands of crores of rupees worth of gene-modified (GM) edible oil are imported, which we consume a lot. But domestic farmers are prevented from using GM seeds in farming. For this, the process of legal reforms in the agriculture sector has to be taken forward.

Non-MSP agriculture sectors such as horticulture, dairy, and fisheries have the highest growth rate.

If domestic farming is not changed to meet the demand of the global market, our products may be out of the market. Foreseeing this danger ahead of time, you have to make your preparations. As a member country of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the existing agricultural subsidies cannot be extended beyond 2023. On the other hand, farmers need to be protected from restrictions on technology and other legal traps including market. According to the pre-determined provision of WTO, it is possible to give subsidy only in green or yellow (box) category in agriculture and food sector after the year 2023. Maybe which is environment friendly. In such a situation, subsidy can now be given in the same way, which has been started with the PM-Kisan fund.

Indian agriculture may face a big blow

Disobeying WTO rules can lead to a ban on the export of agricultural produce and food products. This can give a big blow to Indian agriculture. During the last two years of the outbreak of COVID-19, there has been a huge increase in the global demand for Indian agricultural products. At present, objections are being raised on the modalities of subsidies given on Indian agricultural products. Due to the question raised on the quality of Indian wheat, its export prospects have started eroding. The adverse effect of fixing the price of sugarcane by the government and making it legal is visible on the sugar industry. There are many discrepancies in the entire range of domestic agricultural products which have to be rectified.

Agriculture needs to be balanced

Provisions like electricity subsidy, food subsidy, guarantee of purchase of produce at Minimum Support Price (MSP), subsidized and free food grains distribution to consumers need to be balanced. Only Rs 1.60 lakh crore is needed for government procurement of crops like wheat and rice. At the same time, consumers have to give a subsidy of Rs 2.5 lakh crore in distribution of food grains at the rate of Rs 1, 2 and 3 per kg under the ration system. In the fertilizers for farming, except urea, the imported fertilizers are given to the farmers by giving huge subsidies.

Good growth rate of products which are not subsidized

No government help or subsidy is given to the major sectors of agriculture like dairy, fisheries, poultry and horticulture. There is no MSP declared for these products and there is no provision for government procurement. Despite this, the growth of these sectors is being recorded in the range of 8 to 16 percent. They have the largest share in the growth of the agriculture sector. There is a tremendous demand for fish and marine products in the global market. At the same time, India has become the second country in the export of marine products.

Edited By: Arun Kumar Singh