Farming Must be Treated as an Entrepreneurial Venture

Posted on June 8, 2010 in Biz and Eco

Rohan Gupta:

In India, the manufacturing and service sector industries are steadily growing and evolving, demanding highly skilled and specialized professionals. Status quo is such that in any field you can not get a decent job without a master’s degree. Furthermore, with the growth of these sectors– new jobs which did not exist earlier are fast emerging and becoming viable career options.

For any economy, service and manufacturing sectors are the spearheads of growth. In the case of India however, while these two sectors are growing, agriculture is still the predominant employment sector. This dominance by agriculture not only slows our economic growth by restricting supply of resources like land and human resources and capital investment to the major sectors, but the lack of ‘farm management’ makes it a non evolving profession with limited profits.

In India, due to a huge socialist (and communist) influence, people have romantic notions about agriculture and an inherent belief that the tragedy of farmers is because of government apathy. A large amount of poverty appeasement is also responsible for the same. Various unions of farmers keep blaming the government for having a low minimum support price and for not providing enough subsidies, etc. The Maoist crisis is also largely due to assumed governmental apathy.

The problem does not lie in the approach of the government, it is our less (including farmers’) understanding of agriculture. It is seen as something not related to business in anyway, secure from the laws of competition and considered the government’s own charity baby.

In most countries, particularly the European Union countries, farm subsidies are banned and agriculture also falls under their Competitions Act which means that the government support to agriculture is seen as unfair, punishable by EU law and farming is seen as an entrepreneurial venture. :)

In India, however, the concepts of market economy are seen as completely in congruous with farming. Many farm areas have lost soil fertility and are not commercially viable for farming, yet, people are involved in unproductive agriculture due to no proper direction and less farm options.

Not only are attempts not being made to move to the secondary or tertiary sector, but also all attempts by the government in this direction are being violently resisted. Furthermore, during the recent storage crisis is Punjab what we missed was the fact that despite having an excess of wheat grain produce, farmers in the region stuck to the same crop, with less or no intention to take to new crops.

The problem is that the concept of free market and management are not practiced in farming.

Even though there are panchayats to encourage self governance, these panchayats are full of villagers who are more than happy to put pressure on the government so as to be able to live in their bubble of complacency rather than changing their practices to something more profitable.

There is a dire need for farm managers to make farming an entrepreneurial venture that interests both rural and urban alike.

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Great post. It really sees things through a new perspective and indeed it does make sense.

Personally, I am a very strong advocate of free markets and competition and believe that every problem can be solved through them, (even climate change).

Your argument certainly makes a lot of sense and is may work. I just hope the policy makers take notice.

Guha Rajan

There is no doubt farming has been neglected in India may be for various reasons including that it can decay or perish very quickly in not sold at time. Hence, there are intense price negotiation by middle man. Enc of it, only farmer & consumer are the suffers.

However, I still did not get your point, as why farming need to be considered like entreprenuer venture. Once it entreprenuer venture one has to maintain book of accounts (whether its partnership, proprietory, pvt or Ltd) companies. Farming is a sector where income is not taxed in india, hence why do want to complicate it. But,I do understand farmers need to venture into scientific forming and not restrict themself to traditional method, which are bound to fail, what worked well in 1960’s & 70, will not work well now for any kind of industry and same might be true to agriculture as well

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