Thursday, February 02, 2012

Rich Farmers

Our country has a myriad set of laws that are ostensibly designed to protect the small farmer - who at one point was supposed to be the backbone of our economy. Thus there are laws that prevent farmland from being bought by "non farmers". The part which prevents easy conversion of agricultural land to residences is a good one IMO. We will come to that in a moment.

Around me, in the past couple of years, there are quite a few people who have bought agricultural land (wherever the law allows them etc.) and started farming. Now these are not the kind of farmers newspapers report will glorify or our youthful politician scion will visit. These are fairly well to do people who are passionate about horticulture, agriculture and grow exotic stuff or organic food or just like to grow something. They are not your so called subsidy seeking farmers, nor are they poor. They are into farming as a sabbatical from corporate life or as a hobby or business.

Yet, a lot of people even if they wish to cannot go ahead and do so - because of the rules that make it tough for them to do so.

My view is that such interests should be encouraged - even if they have sign an undertaking that they will use the land only for agricultural purposes etc. This does two things. One, the land stays as farmland. Second and more importantly, it puts people who want to pursue farming as a hobby or a business and pushes out those who want to do as a form of subsistence. In my view, this is a good thing - because the government can focus less on subsidising agriculture and giving out job schemes like REG schemes and focus on the real things that matter. (Anyway with the current government all this talk is useless, but whatever.)

Wishful thinking, but well...why not?

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