Ordinance on Contract farming: Odisha Government’s vision for Expansion & Intensification
Odisha is an agricultural state with about 74% of its rural workforce relying upon agriculture with a marginal / small land holding, also out of which more than 50% are below poverty line.
This fragmented land holdings have become the major barrier before the farmers to expand their farming activities of investments as well as technological advancements. Even many of them are devoid of the lift-irrigation facility under water stress conditions. The government intervention with measures like MSP, Subsidy and loan waivers have only managed to save the farmers from economic crisis but there is very few measures taken so far like formation of FPOs and cooperative farming, which would have increased the farmer’s capacity, productivity and economic status practically.
In view to this capacity & productivity expansion government of Odisha recently promulgated an Ordinance on Contract farming. Where it has made legal provisions for corporate interventions in agricultural sector of Odisha through contract farming, which means the corporates can take on the lands on lease or make contracts for the large scale specialized farming. The government has clarified this decision as being made to bring the fragmented land under one management to optimize resource productivity & also to encourage agricultural exports of the state. Though the government made mandates to safe guard the farmers’ right on land as well as restricting the sponsor not to realize the advances given to farmers by sales or mortgage of lands but only against the produced commodity. The formulated laws & amendments being structured and written so-well need to be implemented as-well. The ordinance any-how brings opportunity for the state & corporates; it must take our farmers beside giving them a part in the whole production process with a good extra-income rather than treating them only as land owners.
Jagadananda Pradhan, Editorial member, Shyamala Subarna