ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Markets for Farmers

Revisiting the Role of Mandis in the Context of Farm Law’s Repeal

Based on the insights drawn from the fieldwork, we suggest a strategy to help the farmers earn remunerative prices. The central argument is that mandis can be strengthened to generate favourable outcomes for farmers, if farmer-oriented entities play dominant roles in them.

The authors acknowledge the comments from the anonymous referee. All errors are the authors’ own.

The central government has decided to repeal the three contentious farm laws—the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act—that were enacted in September 2020. It will certainly go down in history as a landmark event for its political economy significance. The decision to repeal the acts came after more than a year of unprecedented protests by farmers and farmer groups. The fears around regulated mandis (agricultural markets) being replaced with “corporatisation” and slow-but-sure withering away of the minimum support price (MSP) regime, fed fuel to the protests.

While the repeal is being celebrated enthusiastically, which it should, the fact is that we are back to the unresolved challenge, which ensnares a large majority of smallholder farmers—the trap of non-remunerative output prices. The persistent distress and non-remunerative returns to smallholder farmers have led policy and academic circles in the country to raise concerns about the viability of agriculture as a livelihood source (Dev 2018; NITI Aayog 2015). The immediate question then is, “what are the feasible strategies to help farmers earn remunerative prices”?

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Updated On : 19th Feb, 2022
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