Why we must listen to farmers -Sudeshna Maya Sen
Agriculture value-chains can only be strengthened by listening to multiple actors; most importantly, farmers.
India has been witnessing a spate of month-long farmer protests across the country, particularly in the national capital, against the recently introduced farm bills by the central government. One of the major reasons behind these agitations, including calls for repealing the law, is that farmers were not actively involved in the policymaking cycle of these laws, which they deem as unjust, and only catering to large corporate houses.
Agriculture, even with declining shares in India’s gross domestic product (GDP), plays a crucial role in the country’s overall economic and social well-being. There is still a large dependency on this sector for income, employment, and national food security, with around 59 percent of the country’s total workforce employed in agriculture. This workforce not only includes farmers, but also farm labourers and those employed in agriculture-dependent industries and services, for instance, the textile or sugar processing industries. In such a context, agriculture cannot be viewed as farming alone. Instead, it must be viewed as a holistic agriculture value-chain (AVC) system, which includes farming, aggregating, processing, and retailing.
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IDROnline.org, 21 January, 2021, https://idronline.org/why-we-must-listen-to-farmers-agriculture-value-chains/