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Theory and evidence for a large-scale agroecological transition in India

Dorin B.. 2021. New Delhi : CSH, p. 1-24. CSH Seminar, 2021-02-15/2021-02-15, New Delhi (Inde).

Modern economic growth frames a long-term incidental future for agriculture: people move from agricultural to non-agricultural occupations, farm labour productivity increases with the use of modern industrial technology and, over time, the large initial agricultural wage gap vanishes when the share of agriculture in both total employment and value added is 3%. This was the scenario in OECD countries. However, in large parts of the developing world, we observe an increase in the agricultural labour force and a rise in the wage gap. We examine parameters that prevent countries from moving along the OECD path and show how land squeeze, rather than barriers to modern technology, drive growing divergences within and between countries. Without a massive emigration of labour to lift land barriers, this suggests embedding agriculture also in the service sector, with small-scale agroecological farming as an alternative to large-scale industrial agriculture and mega-slum-urbanization.

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