2020年度 HINDAS 第6回 研究集会 報告
Binu Sundas (Miranda College, University of Delhi):
“Dynamics of agriculture and markets relations in India” (in English)
India is an agrarian country with half its population dependent on agriculture. For the welfare of the farmers and the agricultural market the Government of India has been initiating reforms since the time of independence. Agriculture and its related issues found mention in the Five Year Plans and in the 1960s and 1970s Agriculture Marketing (Regulation) Act, popularly known as the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act, came into existence. This Act was brought into effect with the objective of providing a reasonable profit to the farmers. Unfortunately with the intervention of the middlemen and commission agents this was not achieved and more than 50 per cent of value to the intermediaries. The market became more monopolistic and the APMC laws warrant immediate amendment.
In order to improve the marketing of the agricultural produce and with the widespread changes brought about by liberalisation of trade in the global agricultural marketing it was deemed necessary to improve the agricultural marketing system that existed in the country. For fulfilling this purpose Model APMC Act in 2003 was proposed by The Ministry of Agriculture. It envisaged freedom of interaction and trading between the buyers and sellers. It had its own share of pitfalls. The failure to achieve the goal forced the policy makers to bring about a new set of holistic marketing reforms that would help in realising the goal of doubling the farmers’ income by 2022 in particular and also reduce the price of essential items for the consumers. Thus, Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing Act, 2017 was necessitated by the lacklustre performance in the implementation and achieving the desired goal by the Model Act 2003.
The efficacy of the all the reforms to transform the agrarian structure adopted earlier has been questioned and the persisting low income of the farmers has forced the Government to implement another set of reforms. The objective of these reforms passed by the Parliament of India is to provide farmers with more choice based on the perception that competition will lead to better prices as well as ushering in a surge of private investment in agricultural marketing processing and infrastructure. To this effect the The Indian Parliament passed three agriculture acts—Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance, Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. However, the bills were not received well by the opposition and the farmers. To register their disagreement with the bills the farmers have been agitating for the withdrawal of the bills.
Niraj Prakash Joshi (Hiroshima University):
“Development of agriculture and agricultural markets in Nepal” (in English)
Despite Nepal being an agricultural country, in recent decades there is an increasing reliance on food imports, which makes Nepal vulnerable to any external shocks. Under such context, this presentation discussed the current status of agriculture, its past performance, agriculture in different plans and programs, and agriculture market development in Nepal. Agriculture sector in Nepal is in a low development stage with low productivity and competitiveness. Lack of commercialization in agriculture has always remained one of the important challenges to be dealt with in past plans and programs. Low use of chemical inputs including lack of their adequate and timely availability, lack of irrigation, low rate of mechanization due to the lack of capital as well as difficult terrain, fragmented land ownership, low participation of private sectors, and weak food quality testing and monitoring systems inhibiting access to markets are important factors responsible for the low rate of agricultural commercialization in Nepal. These are also the factors responsible for failure to meet the targets set in almost all the development plans since the plan started setting targets in the Fourth Development Plan (1975-1980). Consequently, Nepal has become a net food-importing country since the 1980s, and most of the agri-processing industry relies heavily on imports for its operations. Agriculture Perspective Plan, Agriculture Development Strategies, 14th Development Plan, and Prime Minister Agriculture Modernization Project are some of the government's recent plans and programs to improve agricultural commercialization, thereby its competitiveness and productivity. Zonation of specialized regions through land consolidation/pooling and geographical suitability is one of the important aspects of these programs, which are supposed to result in the desired outcome. Relating such zonation with the areas previously developed as the production niche highlighted since the Third Development Plan (1966) would be a good approach to consider. Marketing is another important aspect of agriculture development. Access of farmers to bigger markets such as retail or wholesale markets is very limited despite the importance of market in agriculture development was indicated in the Third Development Plan. The government of Nepal is active in the development of agriculture markets throughout the country. Most of these markets, especially those at the point close to the junction of east-west and north-south highways, are emerging as a regional market for trading fresh fruits and vegetables. Similarly, the trust between farmers and traders, which is also the major source of market price information to the farmers, is another important factor determining the success of such markets.