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

Articles by N Chandrasekhara RaoSubscribe to N Chandrasekhara Rao

Improved Terms of Trade for Agriculture

Using a more comprehensive method to assess the terms of trade between agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, a key indicator for the government's agricultural price policies, this article finds that the ToT for farmers and the agricultural sector improved rapidly between 2004-05 and 2010-11, after which they stagnated till 2013-14.

Bt Cotton Yields and Performance

This article rebuts the argument that shortcomings in Bt cotton studies and divergence between yield gains and extent of adoption of Bt hybrids make it impossible to conclusively say anything about the impact of genetically modifi ed seeds. Further, it points out that there have been numerous studies that have controlled for selection and cultivation bias, and concluded that Bt cotton has had statistically significant positive yield effects.

On the 'Failure of Bt Cotton': Analysing a Decade of Experience

Given that the controversy over success and failure of Bt technology still exists, this paper discusses the available field studies that have addressed agro-economic questions of Bt cotton cultivation in India. Since a meta-analysis of studies can give only partial conclusions, owing to differences across study methodologies and coverage, this paper takes a different strategy, i e, looking not simply at differences between Bt farms and non-Bt farms, but at the experience of farmers before growing Bt and after switching to Bt. It also examines the more general problem of comparing field studies and suggests ways to use farmer behaviour as a proxy for settling different interpretations of agro-economic effects of the new technology. The study explains why there has been so much controversy given virtually universal adoption of Bt technology in cotton and concludes that in the battle of numbers around Bt cotton, those of the farmers have been curiously missing.

Agricultural Price Policy, Farm Profitability and Food Security

Agricultural price policy has come under serious attack recently for recommending support prices higher than what the costs of production warrant, supposedly leading to a distortion of the market, and, therefore, to food deprivation. With an in-depth analysis of costs and returns in rice and wheat, which are the most state-protected crops and underlie the livelihoods of millions of farmers, this paper examines the effectiveness of agricultural price policy in enabling farmers to obtain sufficient profits to promote investment, technology and productivity and thereby to food security. The rising cost of production due to the overemphasis on getting input prices right is a major factor that has led to higher support prices. Another factor is the percolation of volatility in global prices through trade liberalisation. Because of this, wheat support prices had to be hiked steeply in recent years so that sufficient quantities are procured. This has distorted parity between the prices of rice and wheat.

Biotechnology and Pro-Poor Agricultural Development

Until now the debate on agricultural biotechnology mainly focused on the environmental impact, biosafety issues and intellectual property rights. This paper looks at the nature of commercialised biotech products, the changing locus of agricultural research, the emerging market failures in biotech product development, and the likely impact on poverty and employment. The evidence shows that Bt cotton is scale neutral and profitable to all groups of farmers. But research in biotechnology is mainly in the hands of a few large multinational companies which focus on crops and traits that are significant to the developed countries and not the resource-poor farmers. The public sector, therefore, must step in to pursue basic research that will benefit the poorer farmers.

Food Processing and Contract Farming in Andhra Pradesh

This paper analyses various problems faced by the food processing sector in Andhra Pradesh, especially in instances of contract farming, with a focus on oil palm and gherkin. While contract farming has largely solved the problem of supply of quality raw material, cultivators of both crops have their own needs, which in some instances processors are unable or unwilling to meet. Oil palm growers, for instance, are keen on an assured minimum price while gherkin growers are totally dependent on export demand. Processors have also neglected the smaller farmers. Hence, some form of government intervention to ensure contracts are enforced and compiled with, is the need of the hour.

Women's Self-Help Groups, Poverty Alleviation and Empowerment

In its strategy for poverty alleviation and women empowerment, the government of Andhra Pradesh has provided considerable space for women�s self-help groups. What are the characteristics of the women-based group models of poverty alleviation and women empowerment that are being implemented in the state? How are the poor women organised into groups? How do the groups function? And what has been the contribution of these models to poverty alleviation and women empowerment? This paper attempts to address some of these issues.

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