Allow farmers to sell their land

But first, give them clear title

Aadisht Khanna has a good piece on why sometimes well-meaning but terribly misguided ideas are standing in the way of solving the problems plaguing Indian small farmers.

But if farmers sell their land, how will we grow food?!

I could reiterate (the) argument that we could just import it from the Americans, but since people think that ’self-sufficiency’ is the killer retort to this, I will respond to this objection at a more fundamental level.

The most important point of allowing the free sale of agricultural land is not that agricultural land will be sold. It’s that agricultural land can be used as collateral. [SCF(w)O]

The next time some NGO solicits your support on ‘improving the condition’ of India’s farmers, here’s what you should ask them: “Do you support giving clear land titles to farmers that allow them to sell their land to whoever they like?” If your NGO says “No”, then you should show them the door.

2 thoughts on “Allow farmers to sell their land”

  1. The other piece needed (on top of clear titles and absolute right of sale of land) is a fast and generally fair (to the lender as well as the borrower) bankruptcy procedure that is not too expensive and happens fast (say under a year). Without this, you cannot hope to use land (or any other immovable property) as collateral.

    How do the home mortgage plans work in India? Are there special laws covering their liquidation and clear lien levels in the event of a default?

  2. CS, I’m not too sure about this, but I could find out. What I am sure about is that when it comes to bankruptcy, the power is tilted towards the lenders (banks and mortgage companies) who can afford to have inhouse lawyers to drive a speedy resolution.

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