HYDERABAD: Rapid economic growth, rising rural wages, decline in the farm size leading to a squeeze in farmers’ profits are some of the key trends in the field of agriculture over the last two decades, observed Professor Hans P Binswanger, Department of Agriculture Economics, University of Pretoria, South Africa.
He was delivering a lecture on ‘Wages, Prices and Agriculture: How did Indian Agriculture Cope with Rising Wages’ at Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Begumpet, on Saturday. “While farm size and household size are declining, labour use per acre is still increasing and the family labour force is shifting to work in the non-farm sector and education,” he said. Analysing the household trends, he said there has been a significant growth in the non-land agricultural assets and education. Though the farmers and farm workers have gained by increasing the agricultural prices, it was consumers who were at a loss, he said . “The farmers have gained profits by shifting to the productive non-farm sector. Also, they increased the participation by hiring rural non-farm labour,” he said. However, he warned that India cannot respond to the rising wages by increasing the crop prices. “The required price increase will be too large and will hurt the consumers, especially the poor,” he said.