Rethinking Agriculture & AgriBusiness


In his paper, Prof. Sheikh MorshedJahanargues that a paradigm shift is needed in the policy domain as it involves addressing the issues of agriculture and agribusiness. The policymakers, he argues, need to recognize that farming is getting increasingly commercialized –thanks to the urban demand surge resultant from rapid urbanization, internal and international migration of rural people and better-than-before transportation network. The policymakers also need to appreciate that the agricultural sector is in transition from ‘deficit food regime’ to ‘burgeoning surplus food regime’, although this transition is still erratic and inconsistent (leading to huge postharvest loss and fall in price –not an unlikely transitional phenomenon).

Under these circumstances, the policies and institutions which were created originally to address the earlier agricultural regime are unlikely to be compatible with the dynamics of this burgeoningagriculturalregime. Therefore, the mandate and/or the structure of some of the institutions (e.g. DAM, DAE) need to be reformulated or strengthened. Similarly, urgent is formulation and/or review of policies and strategies so that farmers’ right (to quality inputs and fair price, for example) can be promoted and, in the same vine, consumers’ right (to safe food) is protected. And, in the process, the emergence and growth of ‘responsible’ agribusinesses should be harnessed, particularly by facilitating entry and development of smaller enterprises that would propel inclusive growth with the base of the pyramid (BoP) at the core.

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