Individual-owned corporate farming
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Shubhankar Kulkarni Sep 09, 2020
Corporate farming is agriculture on large-scale farms owned by large companies. This is a growing trend in several countries. The companies also indulge in selling agricultural products, providing agricultural education, carrying out related research, and influencing public policy. Corporate farming has several merits:
- Reduced food wastage at all stages from growing the crop (limiting wastage due to diseases) through wastage during harvesting to wastage during transportation to the consumer.
- Increased quality and quantity of the yield
- Implementation of improved technology: Reduced wastage and high yield facilitate finance for research and technology.
- Reduced selling price of the agricultural products due to large-scale production
- Increased contribution of agriculture (again due to increased revenue) to the Gross Domestic Product, again contributing to the economy.
The demerits of corporate farming include:
- Lower profits for the individual farmers due to growing competition from the corporate farmers.
- Risk of monopoly since only a few companies will control the production of food (the most important necessity) in a country.
- Unavailability of expert labor (farmers)
There are also some demerits to regular individual farming:
- Reduced farm size for future generations (if the number of progeny increases).
- Droughts and floods affect yield, and thereby, sustainability.
- Dependence on activities other than farming increases.
To avail the benefits of corporate farming and simultaneously eliminate the demerits of individual and corporate farming, I suggest individual-owned corporate farming -
- As the name suggests, companies (or preferably the government) will lease the farms from the farmers for a minimum period of 10 years.
- Adjoining farms will be merged and bigger farms will be created.
- Only the farmers that agree to lease out their farms will be employed by the corporate to work there. The corporate will only provide management. The farming and transport jobs will be divided amongst the farmers. These farmers will be paid appropriate monthly wages irrespective of the yield. If possible, the corporates can share some percentage of the profit with the farmers.
- Bigger corporates are capable of tackling droughts (for example, by digging canals from rivers) and floods (building and managing dams). Farmers from a certain region face the same problems more or less (drought, flood, or raiding by the animals). Instead of handling N different farms by providing assistance to the N different associated farmers, handling a single big farm is comparatively easier.
- In this case, the cost of buying the land for the corporates reduces to zero.
- Individual ownership by the farmers will also eliminate the negative vibe around "corporate farming".
Can you suggest any improvements? Is there any aspect here that can potentially backfire?
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