Would Indian Agriculture Benefit from a Stewardship Model?
Indian agriculture perpetuates – and therefore must reckon with – numerous threats to ecological, economic and social sustainability. These arise for the most part from the commodification of nature and the reliance on external inputs into increasingly industrialized forms of agriculture. Low external input agriculture like agroforestry, regenerative agriculture, and the like, are viable alternatives that are more likely to deliver outcomes suitable to the structure of Indian agriculture. However, they too depend on the commodification of nature as the sole source of economic framing. An alternate framing, the Stewardship Economy, would build on stewardship, a ‘duty of care’ that values monetized and non-monetised products and services within the framing of rewards, framed as stewardship dividends, to farmers and other stewards of land and landscapes. Developing a stewardship economy as the framework for Indian agriculture would lead to a more resilient, equitable and optimistic future for Indian agriculture.
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