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Corporate Farming

Introduction


Corporate agriculture is associated with industrial agriculture and the growing influence of agribusiness in rural economies. Through vertical and horizontal integration, contract farming, and the acquisition of smaller competitors, multinational corporations, such as meat producers, processed food brands, and seed and chemical companies, have come to dominate the agricultural landscape in many developed nations. Corporate consolidation in the agricultural sector can potentially increase the wealth and influence of agribusiness .


The Advocates


Some farmer leaders, such as Sharad Joshi of Shetkari Sanghatana, say that the state should encourage the exit of small and marginal farmers from agriculture by purchasing their land at market prices and providing them with capital and training for non-agricultural careers. Agribusiness farming should be limited to those who have the view, technology, management, and financial means to meet the challenge of the Second Green Revolution. Additionally, small farms are highly fragmented . Land transactions have further increased fragmentation, rendering them unviable in terms of resource utilisation and family survival.


Corporate agriculture is advocated on the grounds that large-scale corporate agriculture is more efficient than the prevalent peasant farming in the country, that it leads to greater allocative efficiency, induces greater private investment in agriculture, and results in greater output, income, and exports. 


Moreover, export-oriented agriculture necessitates substantial investments that only major agribusinesses can afford. It is asserted that India has been exporting agricultural products that are ready for export after domestic needs have been met. India being an agricultural economy and it's diverse geographic location can exploit the opportunity and become export hub of agricultural commodities. The laxity is resulting in the loss of potential markets. Here, corporate agriculture is required for consistent production and export performance. It is also claimed that enabling foreign corporations to purchase and operate land will provide access to their horticulture, food processing, and other technologies.


Dangers


Corporate farms that cultivate field crops frequently employ industrial methods and are indulged in cultivation practices using extensively modernised and mechanised tools that enable them to surpass smaller farms or those using sustainable or organic farming practises. For instance, large-scale monocrops, which are prevalent in corporate farming, would not be possible without the use of synthetic agrichemicals. These include fertilisers, herbicides, which control weeds, and pesticides, which allow for the planting of the same species over large areas of land without fear of insect pest havoc.


Threaten Livelihood of Small Farmers


This is not sustainable for the economy as it will weed out smaller farmers who sustain their family and whose sole source of income is agriculture. Especially in case of India the majority of farmers possess to small and medium sized land holdings. Majority of population is dependent on agriculture, it can threaten the livelihood of farmers. Opponents of corporate farming believe that allowing corporations to purchase land will result in the eviction of farmers, as the corporations may offer prices that are too enticing for impoverished farmers to refuse and they may be unable to negotiate fair pricing for their land. Therefore, landowners would run the risk of becoming landless.


Environment Degradation caused by Monoculture


In agriculture, monoculture refers to the practise of cultivating a single crop on all or most of the available land. In industrialised areas, this type of farming is especially common. Farmers can lower their costs by using this method, but when only one species is grown, it puts the farm at risk of experiencing widespread crop failure. High fertiliser use, pesticides , a decline in biodiversity, soil fertility, and environmental contamination are all threats it can cause environment.


Threaten food security


Export-oriented agribusiness enterprises have a tendency to undermine local food production systems by substituting export-oriented non-food crops for essential food crops, which are vital to local and national food security.


Way Forward


As a middle ground there is a need to consider contract farming as it serves the interests of both large agribusiness corporations and local farmers. The superiority of contract farming over corporate farming is evidenced by its more widespread and sustained practise in comparison to corporate farming, as well as its positive effects such as producer access to profitable markets, higher farm incomes, skill upgradation due to the transfer of technology, and market risk sharing in India.


Contract farming (CF) is agricultural production carried out in accordance with an agreement between a buyer and farmers that defines conditions for the production and distribution of one or more farm products. Typically, the farmer promises to deliver a certain amount of a certain agricultural commodity. These should meet the purchaser's quality standards and be delivered at the time indicated by the purchaser. In exchange, the buyer agrees to purchase the product and, in certain instances, to help production through the provision of farm inputs, land preparation, and technical assistance.


Conclusion


Indian farmers and the agrarian economy are suffering as a result of the complexities of globalisation and decreasing land productivity, which are fully understood by the government. Now that change is unavoidable, it is essential to breathe new life into agriculture to make it sustainable and viable.


Contract farming has both advantages and disadvantages; it is seen uneconomical and unsustainable, and it is discouraged on the basis that it may compromise title security. In place is the Model Contract Farming Act, which aims to establish titles and protect the livelihood and land of farmers. Cautious steps forward with little regulation and management, while keeping in mind the interest of both farmers and industry can improve the scenario.



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