From the editor

by Chaitanya Kalbag, Business today, 08 Aug 2010.

Our post-harvest wastage of food is estimated at over Rs 45,000 crore - enough to feed a good-sized European country.Our growing per capita incomes fuel rising demand for packaged and processed foods.But we will likely buy Chinese apples, not home-grown ones from Kinnaur. The government issued a discussion paper on foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, opening the door a crack for giant food retailers like Wal-Mart and Carrefour. About time. The Eleventh Five-Year Plan said "modern food retailing... offers the prospect of lower marketing costs and reduced spoilage leading to lower prices for consumers and higher realisation for farmers".

 

On examining broad numbers of indebted farmers commiting suicide, we realise that these farmers are not necessarily the small and the marginal. From the statistics of the Reserve Bank, it is evident that while agricultural loans have doubled, the actual number of borrowing cultivators has gone down, thereby increasing the average amounts lent per account. In a situation where the average holding size is decreasing across the country, we do not require any sophisticated statistical exercise to declare that these loans are moving towards larger farmers. If the average loan size goes up, without a concurrent draw one of the two following conclusions- the repayment capacity of the borrower must have significantly gone down, or the loan must have been diverted to some other purpose. Either way, it is very evident that there is a time bomb ticking in the doubled agricultural credit situation.
The politics of Loan Waiver
by M S Sriram, Transforming India, 01 July, 2008
Vegaon is straight out a postcard. But beneath its picturesque face, lies several dark tales. Durgabai and Nalini lost their husbands in a little over one year. Now, the two women mourn the loss of a father and a son. When Nalini\'s husband Sanjay Kalaskar killed himself, it was the 26th suicide in Vegaon.
When death comes first
by Jaideep Hardikar, DNA, 24 September, 2006
This book has been written for people who would like to know how agricultural insurance could play a role in improving the livelihoods of the rural poor. It will be useful for development agents such as donors, development banks and development workers in NGOs, co-operatives, credit unions and microfinance institutions (MFIs). It is written for a reader who has no prior knowledge of insurance. The first chapter introduces the principles of insurance. The second chapter presents four agricultural microinsurance case studies, using the principles described in the first chapter to analyze the successes, failures and challenges of providing agricultural microinsurance in practice. The third chapter summarizes a comprehensive literature survey to establish what kinds of agricultural microinsurance products exist worldwide, and how they function. The fourth and final chapter discusses whether, given all the challenges, agricultural microinsurance can play a role in improving the livelihoods of the rural poor.
Agricultural Microinsurance : Global Practices and Prospects
by Jim Roth & Michael J McCord, The MicroInsurance Centre, LLC;, 01 January, 2008