Farm laws must reflect regional and crop diversities -Yoginder K Alagh

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published Published on Feb 17, 2021   modified Modified on Feb 18, 2021

-The Indian Express

A modified version of the laws with a roadmap can be on the agenda — not everywhere, but most places outside the lands of the five rivers.

The Supreme Court took a practical stand on the farm trade laws — implement them after consultation and with a well-defined framework spelt out. It led to the stand the government has taken — of holding the laws in abeyance for 18 months. This will provide the time for discussing details of agricultural reform, which is necessary since the laws were passed in a hurry.

To begin with, it has to be understood that in a continental country, a one-size-fits-all prescription will not work. In Punjab, Haryana and western UP, minimum support price (MSP)-based agriculture has a logic. It was surprising to read a well-known agricultural economist say that the region must get out of the rice/wheat rotation. Not all regions must diversify. If you have great alluvial soil, good irrigation and almost a century-long tradition of the application of science to agriculture, then there is nothing that says don’t grow the highest-yielding paddy and wheat in the world. This is the wrong advice on diversification. It’s like telling Gujarat and Maharashtra to get out of dairy or cotton. In south Punjab, with less irrigation, and parts of Haryana not covered by the Indira Gandhi Canal, some diversification to pulses, cotton etc. could work but the solid specialisation in this region remains.

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The Indian Express, 17 February, 2021, https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/farm-laws-protest-msp-punjab-haryana-7191627/


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