Research on Production to Consumption Systems
Faced with an acute shortage of food around the mid-sixties, India pursued an agricultural strategy of intensive agriculture focusing on use of high yielding varieties of seeds, irrigation and fertilizer and plant protection chemicals. Such a strategy was followed in selected growth pockets having favourable infrastructure. The strategy triggered a series of developments beginning with the green revolution and around 1990s made the country not only self-sufficient in food grains but also a surplus producer in some years.
Around the 1990s, Indian agriculture started facing several challenges. First and foremost was the realization of a green revolution “fatigue” in the green revolution belt in the form of stagnation or deceleration of yields of major food grains like rice and wheat. The new economic order comprising economic reforms of GoI, the Asian economic crisis, increasing globalization and the emergence of the WTO regime has shaken the protected/insulated regime of Indian agriculture and exposed it to further vulnerabilities. Falling productivity, rising costs, increases in net farm business income not matching growing inflation, unfulfilled hopes of promised WTO opportunities, volatile prices, etc. have made farming in many areas un-remunerative and risky causing distress to farmers. The re-emergence of weather-risks in recent years as a result of global warming has added to farmers’ and the Government’s concerns. Simultaneously, there is also quite a significant diet revolution-taking place across the country encouraging diversification to high value enterprises (horticulture, livestock, fishery etc.) post-harvest processing and value addition. These developments broadly reflect the growing importance of market context to Indian agriculture.
To raise income, employment, profitability, global competitiveness and welfare in a market context requires a holistic approach with emphasis on PCSs.
The growing importance of a market context for achieving success in farming is greatly felt in recent years. To align with this reality, the past fragmented approach covering mostly research on production aspects has to be changed to a holistic approach addressing production to consumption systems implying a higher priority to among, others, post-harvest processing, quality management, nutrition issues, etc. Such a system will also have backward linkages with the input supply system as well as forward linkages with food chain aspects covering consumption by human beings and animals. Such a systems approach, particularly to cater to small and marginal farmers and to contribute to efficient use of scarce resources has to harness synergies among R&D actors through a consortium or collaborative mode. The public sector largely working alone has had little impact in enhancing income, employment, profitability and competitiveness of an agriculture dominated by small and marginal/poor farmers. The involvement of the private sector assures greater efficiency, cost effectivity and timeliness whereas the involvement of the public sector assures relevance and trust. It is now realized that only collective action of all the stakeholders will have the desired results.
The funding by the public sector for such collective action to enhance prosperity and welfare of a small and marginal farmers dominated agriculture sector contributes to a cost effective creation of public good. The consortium concept is central to facilitating flows of knowledge collaboration, experimentation and implementation and to better articulate demands for knowledge and technology. The value addition in one or more components of the value chain depends on the client-driven identification of the most critical missing links and bridging them through research-driven interventions. It must be clear that in value chains, the product is as important as the process. For example, value chains work best where there are coordination failures along the chain that increase transactions costs and risks. Examples are produce quality, or decreased reliability of supply????. The value added by a more coordinated approach along the chain varies greatly with the type of product and the market for which it is intended. For example, there are clear coordination benefits for many high value and perishable products where quality control and reliability of supply is important. Benefits are even higher when quality is hidden and trust is required along the chain, especially for organics but also for ensuring standards of pesticide residues, etc. In component 2, the NAIP will enhance the potential product value, mobilize partnerships, contribute to optimum integration of limited resources and enhance synergies among participating institutions.
- To promote PCSs (“value chains”) in priority areas/ themes to enhance productivity, profitability, income, employment and nutrition;
- To contribute to optimum synthesis and integration of limited resources, maximum coordination of benefits, enhance synergies among participating institutions; and,
- To build a national system of innovation integrating wider processes of social and economic change involving all the stakeholders.
Fields of Thrusts (Indicative)
Keeping in view the global prospects of agri-business, suggestions during stakeholders meetings and discussion during the specially constituted expert working group on an indicative list of thrust areas are suggested under different criteria. The ideas may cut across criteria and can be developed as a proposal accordingly.
Examples of Possible Value Chains
Category 1: Food Security & Income Augmentation
Category 2: Agro-processing
Category 3: Income Augmentation & Employment Generation
|Category 4: Export Promotion |
Category 5: Resource Use Efficiency (Innovative Environmentally Friendly PCSs)
About 15 consortia will be selected from across sub-sectors of Indian agriculture.