Shashanka Bhide is currently Senior Research Counsellor at NCAER, New Delhi. Trained as an agricultural economist he has worked in a variety of applied economics areas, ranging from macroeconomic modelling, forecasting and poverty analysis to infrastructure development and agriculture. He received his Ph. D in Agricultural Economics from Iowa State University, US, M.Sc from Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi and B.Sc from University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore. He has published in academic journals, co-authored a book on an econometric model for India and two books on India’s state economies.

Drought and food security options

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. »

Towards reducing fertiliser subsidy

Greater competition in the fertiliser market is perhaps the only way by which the subsidy bill can be capped. »

Agri markets and small farmers

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. »

All eyes on kharif prospects

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. »

Ensuring cleaner, safer food

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. »

Nature's fury and farm sector

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. »

Weak links in farm policy

Besides incentives, more attention needs to be given to storage, top-soil quality, water management and technological progress. »

Missing link in food distribution

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. »

Blueprint for next farm revolution

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. »

The nutri-cereal challenge

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. »
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