Corporatism: Influential Farmers in India Oppose Profreedom Agricultural Reforms
Farmers from the major wheat- and rice-growing provinces of India have filed into the capital region to voice their displeasure with recent farm reforms. This comes as India’s government undermines longstanding privileges for farmers in a major transition toward free market agriculture.
For weeks farmers have been camping out along major highways near New Delhi to protest the deregulation of agriculture markets. Demonstrators have blocked traffic, clashed with police, and brought trucks full of food and supplies, indicating that they do not plan on going anywhere until the reforms are repealed.
The reform that has generated the most outrage, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce Act, grants farmers the freedom to sell directly to private traders and retailers, allowing them to bypass government-sponsored middlemen. It also removes taxes on produce sales. India’s Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare said in a press release that the policy will “promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislations.”
This is a significant change of pace from previous legislation, which mandated that farmers sell their produce in state-operated Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs). As a result, APMCs have maintained regional monopsonies that purchase produce from a portion of India’s farmers at or above minimum support prices (MSPs) established by the government. Unsurprisingly, exclusive market access has led APMCs to impose a whole host of bureaucratic costs including market fees, user charges, levies, and commissions for agen
Article from Mises Wire