Agriculture requires long-term interventions. It is not easy to pinpoint five specific areas that deserve focus. But I can see three clear areas that will need attention:
Firstly, the government should facilitate and create an efficient market for agriculture products. A market is critical for price discovery and encouragement to grow more. It should modernise the markets and make the transaction process more credible.
Secondly, the government needs to expand the infrastructure to support agriculture. These relate to storage and transportation facilities. Timely distribution is key since several products are perishable. The government will have to invest in developing support infrastructure for agriculture. In order to encourage private investment a conducive environment needs to be maintained.
The third area that deserves attention is productivity. We have seen in the past few years that both food inflation and food subsidy are going up and hurting the fiscal balance. It is a worry for the economy. Higher productivity will ensure that inflationary pressure is kept under control. Productivity will go up with the use of better technology and information to farmers on raising efficiency in all stages from sowing to harvesting.
Shashanka Bhide, Senior Fellow, NCAER
As told to Ajay Modi