Enhancing the Role of Tenant Farmers in Achieving Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture

Vijayabhinandana. B, Jyothi. V and Venkata Subbaiah. P


Most of the India’s poor rural men and women make their living by working as agricultural labour or by leasing in
the agricultural lands. Today more than 65 per cent of the agriculture is practiced by the tenant farmers who are
either landless or small farmers or marginal farmers. These tenant farmers are the people who actually reside in the
villages. Out of the remaining 35 per cent owner farmers practicing agriculture, majority are migrated to nearby
towns and cities for better amenities to their family and practice week end farming. Most agricultural land agreements
are informal because landowners are often reluctant to let out their land as they fear their tenants will overstay or
permanently occupy the land. The land owners rent out their land only for short periods to ensure that tenants do
not stay on. These short term informal rental agreements mean that the tenants have little or no incentive to make
long term, productivity enhancing improvements to the land. This perverse incentive framework combined with the
fact that tenants have difficulty accessing loan or other services are resulting in lower agricultural productivity
and increased land degradation. A total of 400 tenant farmers were sampled at random. Focussed group discussions
were conducted with the respondents to probe in the problems faced by the tenant farmers. Accordingly measures
were formulated to enhance their role.

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