The project will undertake research in three areas:

Issues related to Land Use in Agriculture

The study will delve deeply into three key themes  land use policy, tenancy laws, and soil health. First, it will examine how land acquisitions laws, in the context of increasing urbanization and industrialization, have ensured transparency and efficiency in land acquisition and land use pattern for both farmers as well as project developers. It will also analyze how the proposed 2015 Land Acquisition Bill can fill legal gaps, if any. Secondly, the nature of tenancy laws and how tenancy regulations have affected land utilization patterns and agricultural productivity will be studied to suggest changes in tenancy laws that promote efficiency and equity in land utilization. Finally, the study will seek to assess the status of soil health, especially in the light of India’s fertilizer use policies.

Issues related to Water Use in Agriculture

The study will focus on three key themes  water productivity, timely completion of surface irrigation projects, and checking groundwater depletion. Under this study, the team proposes to calculate the water productivity of selected crops in various states in India. Alongside, a comparison of selected state/centrally financed irrigation projects with those financed under RIDF and monitored by NABARD will be undertaken, particularly with regard to time and cost over-runs. Further, the team will study the deteriorating condition of groundwater and analyse the reasons for this in detail. Possible best practices for sustainable use will be suggested.

Small Holders in High Value Agriculture

The three sectors that will be studied are dairy, horticulture and pulses/poultry. For the study on dairy, the focus will be on covering all existing operational models in India, viz., the multinational, government/co-operative and domestic private sectors. The focus will be on understanding the value-chain in dairy, the patterns of financing processing and trading of milk and milk products and their impact on competitiveness, sustainability and scalability. The second study on the horticulture sector will cover vegetables (onions and potatoes) and /or fruits (bananas and mangoes). The third study is in the area of pulses. Alternatively, the poultry sector, which consists of contract farming by small farmers, may be considered.