Discuss the positive and negative effects of globalization on farmers in India.

Approach:
● Introduce with what is globalisation
● Positives and Negative impact of globalisation on Indian agriculture
● What measures were taken to safeguard farmers
● Way forward

Answer:
Globalization aims at integrating national economy with that of the world. Increased free and open international trade, foreign investment, technology exchange etc. are all integral to the globalised world. Globalisation had a significant impact on Indian agriculture – in many good and some bad ways.

Positive Impact of globalisation:
Economic impact: Globalisation enabled greater access to technological advancements in
agriculture, including high yield varieties, genetically modified crops (GM crops) and micro-irrigation techniques. Foreign investment in agriculture in contract farming, cold storage and food processing have helped farmers. Access to foreign markets has greatly boosted Indian agricultural exports.
Social impact: Globalisation helped improve food productivity and production and helped transform rural agrarian societies. It has empowered the farmers to understand, reach out and compete in global markets. The new technologies, especially in irrigation, helped in addressing rural water stress and keeping agriculture viable. It has also helped change the agrarian society’s attitudes towards new technologies in farming.

Negative Impact of globalisation:
Economic impact: Multi National Companies (MNCs) captured the Indian markets making farmers dependent on the expensive high yield seeds and fertilizers. Attraction of global market resulted in farmers shifting from traditional or mixed cropping to unsustainable cropping practices. The competition from cheaper imports pushed down the prices of crops like cotton, wheat etc making agriculture unsustainable for many farmers.
Social impact: Unsustainable agriculture practices post-globalisation and the inability to
compete against cheaper imports contributed to distress migration of rural farmers, destroying rural agrarian societies and traditional family structures. The dependency of MNC seeds resulted in farmers losing touch with indigenous seeds and farming methods. Globalisation caused change in food habits with increased consumption of proteins, sugars and fats causing increase in lifestyle diseases.

In light of certain harmful impact of globalisation, government has taken many steps to safeguard the farmers from globalisation including:

● Negotiating at the WTO for fairer rules and trade practices
● Imposing higher duties on imports to safeguard farmers from import surges
● Higher MSPs for farmers to protect against fall in prices due to cheaper imports
● Promotion of Indian produce through GI tags & organic foods
● Encourage sustainable agricultural practices, indigenous breeds and seeds

Way forward:
More than 50 per cent of Indian population is still dependent on agriculture as the main source of income. In this era of globalisation, the farmer not only needs to be protected from the harmful impact of globalisation, but also needs to be empowered through institutional and infrastructural reform to take full advantage of it.

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