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

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FDI in Retail: Misplaced Expectations and Half-truths

The central government claims that allowing foreign direct investment into India's retail sector will benefit small farmers, expand employment and lower food inflation. What has been the experience in India with organised retail so far and what has been the global experience with FDI?

Farmers' Suicides in Punjab: A Census Survey of the Two Most Affected Districts

This is a report on the first-ever census survey conducted on suicides by farmers in the two most affected districts of Punjab, Sangrur and Bhatinda. It tries to arrive at the number of farmer suicides, the reasons (whether they were caused by economic distress alone or they were due to the interplay of the forces of economic distress, social conflict, cultural backwardness and lack of community/state support) and also the present economic status of the families of the victims.

Controlling Food Inflation: Do Supermarkets Have a Role?

Foreign investment in multi-brand retail is being pushed as an important tool for controlling food prices. But what is the global experience in developing/middle income countries where such retail is in place? A survey of the literature shows that FDI in retail often has the opposite effect. The impact on low-income consumers in low-income areas has been particularly adverse.

Implications of FDI in Food Supermarkets

This survey of the global and Indian experience with retail supermarkets, against the backdrop of a recent official paper on foreign investment in retail, highlights malpractices due to buying power, employment loss in the value chain, and an unwillingness to share the risk of the growers. In this context, it would be prudent to slow down supermarket expansion by using mechanisms such as zoning, business licences and trading restrictions. Measures to ensure smooth functioning of the contract farming system should include strengthening competition laws to limit buying power, providing legal protection to contract growers and encouraging farmer cooperatives and producer groups.

Survival of Agricultural Labour in Punjab: A Burning Question

The recent crackdown on the prolonged struggle being waged by dalit agricultural labourers in Mansa, Sangrur and Bhatinda districts of Punjab under the leadership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Liberation) for homestead land and jobs under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act calls for an investigation of the plight of this most oppressed and exploited section in rural Punjab.

Indebtedness among Farmers in Punjab

The main objective of this study is to assess the overall debt position of the farmers in Punjab and identify the factors affecting their indebtedness. The important policy recommendations that emerge are the need to improve the institutional agricultural credit system, to regularise and continuously monitor the functioning of non-institutional sources of finance, to reduce farmers' fixed costs in heavy machinery and equipment for which loans should also be based strictly on economic feasibility, to strengthen the dairy sector and create off-farm employment opportunities and to launch a mass campaign against intoxicants and extravagant expenditure on social festivities.

Producer Companies as New Generation Cooperatives

Traditional cooperatives have been unsuccessful in linking small farmers to the global market. Can the development of producer companies as new generation cooperatives turn out to be different?

Organic Cotton Supply Chains and Small Producers

Whether local producers will benefit from trade liberalisation is predicated upon their ability to enter global value chains or production networks of the lead firms. Understanding how these chains are organised, controlled and governed is the key to unravelling how the gains from these networks/chains are shared across the participants. This paper examines the issues of governance and small producer participation in the organic cotton supply chain in India with the help of a case study of a private firm. The paper assesses the prospects and ways and means of including marginal and small producers in these chains if the organic sector has to play its developmental role.

Credit, Indebtedness and Farmer Suicides in Punjab

gap and the need for credit for other purposes, for which formal institutions do Credit, Indebtedness and not offer any credit, make farmers turn to the arthiyas or moneylenders which the author recognises. Also, seasonal repay- Farmer Suicides in Punjab ment, being a must in institutional sources Some Missing Links SUKHPAL SINGH The EPW Review of Agriculture (June 30, 2006) with two papers (P Satish,

Crisis and Diversification in Punjab Agriculture

The farming crisis in post-green revolution Punjab has assumed serious proportions, manifested in suicides by a large number of farmers. This paper examines the nature and magnitude of crisis in the farm sector in the state and analyses diversification strategies recommended and adopted so far, more specifically contract farming experiments. It concludes by discussing some possible ways to tackle the farm sector crisis in a sustainable manner.

Punjab : Agricultural Wages and Employment

The introduction of technology has seen a steady decline in demand for human labour on Punjab farms, a process accelerated by the stagnation in overall agricultural growth. Increase in labour demand in the dairy sector has compensated for this fall, but in future the secondary and tertiary sectors will have to grow faster to absorb the state's growing labour force.

Contract Farming and Forest Management

guarantee at a pre-determined price at the end of eight years if the trees met certain Contract Farming quality specifications. The farmers were free to sell to others if they so wished. The loan instalments were not of equal amount and Forest Management and decreased annually over the eight Company-farmer Partnerships for the Supply of Raw Material to Wood-based Industry by Sushil Saigal and Divya Kashyap; India Country Sub-study published by Eco-tech Services (India), New Delhi and International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London; 2002.

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