There are no easy ways of providing safety nets. Large countries are protected by diversified production conditions. For countries like Somalia, access to trade supplies could be the only recourse. International reserves would be more efficient than country-specific reserves.
Greater competition in the fertiliser market is perhaps the only way by which the subsidy bill can be capped. »
As farm holdings shrink in size, stable and rising prices will become critical. Marketing solutions that do not provide these outcomes are likely to give rise to political pressures for alternatives. »
A record rice output will stretch grain storage capacity. Butin order to achieve a change in crop mix, it is necessary to improve the market infrastructure for perishable products. »
The E. Coli episode tells us that the potential for mishaps is greater in an inter-linked world with several producers and consumers. Apart from regulation to check contamination, producers need policy incentives for quality control. »
The recent US floods are a reminder that the risks from natural disasters cannot be wished away. India, on its part, could consider putting aside resources to protect farm assets from floods and droughts. »
Besides incentives, more attention needs to be given to storage, top-soil quality, water management and technological progress. »
Food markets have overlooked consumer needs. Organised retail can plug this gap and offer fair prices in the face of rising input costs. But to ensure that this segment buys from producers rather than wholesalers, infrastructure must improve. »
The blueprint for the second agricultural revolution would have to include an effective strategy for improving productivity. Modernisation of the supply chain and the growth of agro-processing will make this strategy work.
It will require a sustained, long-term effort to develop a sustainable nutri-cereal sector that meets consumption demands as well as benefits the cultivators and investors.