Contract farming needs more than an ordinance

Contract farming
While from the outside, contract farming may seem a success story where the farmers were better off compared to their peers, there were issues | Image - Eunice Dhivya

Unlike other farmers in Ranebennur, north Karnataka, 29-year-old Chamanna R Goudra was a busy man in February 2019. When other farmers did not cultivate anything after harvesting the rabi crops, Goudra dug two borewells in the drought prone area. He did multiple-cropping and cultivated tomato, splash and watermelon in his father’s 2.6 acres of farmland. He even engaged 13 farm labourers and paid them on time.

He could do all this because he earned about ₹8-10 lakh per season as compared to the average ₹2-3 lakh earned by others. And for this he had to thank multinational seed companies which had set up base in Ranebennur.

HM Clause, Bayer Crop Sciences and Vegetable seeds, Syngenta, Mayhco had engaged with select farmers for seed cultivation through contract farming. They appointed social programme officers and area production managers to coordinate with the farmers. Their staff acted as liaison officers and agents between the farmers and the company.

Goudra says they supplied hybrid variety seeds and gave farming advice like how to cross-pollinate, how to monitor crop size, pest controls and the growth of the plant.

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