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TCI Director Calls for Investment in Rural Economic Growth

A woman carrying a basket through a green field
A woman carries a basket through a paddy field in southeastern India. (Photo by Meena Kadri / CC BY)

Boosting rural economies by increasing the productivity of small-farms and expanding non-farm job opportunities can reduce the number of impoverished Indians who migrate from rural to urban areas in search of profitable employment after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new op-ed from Tata-Cornell Institute (TCI) director Prabhu Pingali and International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics India country director Arabinda K. Padhee.

Writing in the Financial Express, Pingali and Padhee argue that investments in rural economic growth can help India revive its pandemic-stricken economy. Among the ways that rural growth can be encouraged are increasing the production of diverse, non-staple crops and investing in rural market infrastructure.

“Demand for high-quality food is rising, and a small farm’s income growth potential in producing diverse crops is higher than that of primary staples,” Pingali and Padhee write. “Also, bringing post-harvest processing and value addition operations closer to food production centers can enhance employment opportunities.”

Additional steps Pingali and Padhee recommend include encouraging small-farm aggregation, facilitating a transparent lend-lease market for farmland, and strengthening safety net programs.

Read the full op-ed on FinancialExpress.com: “Post-COVID Revival: Rural Growth Can Reverse Migration”