- Around the world, some 1.3 billion people work on small farms. Mostly, in developing nations.
- Firstly, their productivity is poor and has largely been the reason for the supply side issues that caused the recent food prices inflation (Food grain stocks are at a 20 year low around the world). Secondly, the boom of the recent past has lifted millions out of poverty and therefore increased demand for food grains.
- Putting one and two together (actually, just two), idiots argue, the way out is industrial scale farming.
- Question: The scale is 1.3 billion people. Even if the industrial scale provides employment to large sections in ancillary areas, will that ever cross a few million? Or, a few hundred million? Are our cities in any shape to absorb the remaining people?
- Further, if I were to give you the only factual part of the Left’s argument — it is true that industrial farming in Western Europe and in the U.S. is not as productive as one imagines it to be. For every $1 of output, there is 30 cents of government subsidy.
- In other words, there is no easy solution that you can conjure up in a magazine — if it were that simple, it would have been done. Worse, when you write about the Indian farmer, sitting in London, and declare that the farming practices are the reason for all gloom — without any data to convince the reader, one merely chuckles. And reserves contempt for the magazine.
- Status quo seems better — and that includes throwing money periodically to keep the poor, poor — because the alternatives involve mass upheavals, hyper-inflations and purging entire populations.
- Meanwhile, avataram’s mention and questioning why we should have a model that is sustainable seem most logical.
 — Poor productivity and small farming has a limited correlation. A detailed analysis may take a PhD and I don’t know enough to comment on it. So, let’s take what has been restated several times, at face value.
 — This is exactly what Amit Varma will be in 20 years. The man has never taken up serious research in any area and has been a journalist/ writer all his life. Yet, he feels competent enough to be an opinion factory — on all complicated areas of policy and economics. Worse, the reason for future opinions seems to be the strength of past opinions.