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International Workshop: Achieving Food Security in India: Improving Competition, Markets and the Efficiency of Supply Chains
February 16, 2011

The Claridges Hotel, New Delhi

This Workshop is one of the final milestones of the Research Project on Facilitating Efficient Agricultural Markets in India: An Assessment of Competition and Regulatory Reform Requirements sponsored by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). The eminent participants included Prof Ramesh Chand, Director NCAP; Mr Dhanendra Kumar, Chairperson, Competition Commission of India; Mr Bharat Desai, Senior Executive Vice President, Reliance India Limited; and Dr Geeta Gouri, Member, Competition Commission of India.

 

The proceedings of the workshop emphasised that the agricultural experience in the BRICs countries provides significant evidence that a range of market orientated agricultural policy reforms can lead to higher rural incomes, increased agricultural productivity and reduced poverty. Market orientated reforms, however, necessarily involve progressively decoupling agricultural assistance from farm input and output prices and the associated quantities. Significant efforts are required by government, however, to tailor such changes to the specific circumstances of each country.

 

Given the focus of the recently constituted Competition Commission of India on ensuring fair and healthy competition in the economy to achieve efficient resource use and faster and inclusive growth and development, it follows that it has an important role in considering the application of trade practices law to agriculture as part of India's new 'agricultural policy program'. This will help ensure that the gains from reform are efficiently and equitably distributed among supply chain participants consistent with national goals. Important areas of focus will be (i) 'unconscionable conduct' and 'market power abuse', rather than on differences per se in market power between buyers and sellers, and (ii) farm level arrangements that provide for collective bargaining.

 

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