Public-Private Partnership (3P) in Agriculture

Dr. Banarsi Lal, Dr. Pawan Sharma
Public-private partnership (PPP or 3P) is said to be a long-term cooperative agreement between two or more public and private sectors. Through this agreement, skills and assets of each other (public and private) are shared in delivering a service or a facility for the use of general public. In order to make more development such kinds of initiatives are essential. Such arrangements are used by the Governments in late 20th century and early 21st century across the globe. Hundreds of different types of long-term contracts with a wide range of risk allocations, funding arrangements and transparency requirements are covered under the public-private partnerships. This concept is closely associated with concepts like privatisation and the contracting out of government services. The 3P cell was set up in 2006 in the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance by the Government of India. India is considered as one of the leading countries in terms of readiness for PPPs in the world. As per reports, India ranks first in the world in operation maturity for 3P projects. Maharashtra is the pioneering state in adopting public-private partnership model in case of major infrastructure development projects. The other states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have also adopted this model.
Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 70 per cent of India’s population. India is considered as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. In order to upgrade the country, infrastructure services are necessity for the economy to grow. In this context the 3Ps have been recognised as one of the most effective mechanisms to achieve this target. Public-private partnerships (3Ps) are essential for advancing agriculture to meet global challenges in food security. They help to access the technology and link farmers to markets. An average annual growth rate of Indian agriculture has been observed around 2.7 per cent during the past years. The challenges faced by the Indian agricultural sector underlines an urgent need for innovations brought via partnerships between private and public sectors. Maharashtra has taken initiative for this innovative path of Public-Private Partnership for Integrated Agricultural Development project to develop an integrated value chains for selected crops. In recent years many partnerships have been emerging Public-Private Partnership in agriculture. Successful public and private partnerships are challenged by various issues like high transaction costs of operationalsing and coordinating the partnerships, different objectives of each sector etc. To develop the partnerships, policy support and conducive environment are needed. It occurs through five different stages which may also end up in a cyclic form.3P model can be game changer in the Indian agricultural sector.3P can transform the sector at multiple levels bringing together the collective power of all the stakeholders in the agricultural ecosystem.3P approach can be adopted in research and development, extension, quality enhancement, crop production and marketing. Functional and operational factors of the 3P linkage depend on the capability of partners, budget and timeframe.
Various studies on 3P focused on agricultural biotechnology, biosafety regulation, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and ways in technology transfer. Many research programmes implemented through 3P system require adequate incentives and innovations for better co-ordination. The World Bank funded NAIP project of ICAR established market-oriented collaborative alliances comprising public and private partners resulting in value chains covering different crops. Some of the frontline areas of biotechnology research and development where PPP is visible are vaccines using recombinant technology, Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay testing kits for disease detection, gene silencing etc.3P is also used for gender mainstreaming in agriculture.3P can work effectively to market the farmers produce.3P covers a wide range of areas including extension services which can enhance technology adoption for sustainable development. Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) assisted the commodity-based groups to partner with private agencies in production and marketing of basmati rice and medicinal plants in Bihar, maize in Andhra Pradesh and mango in Maharashtra. Monsanto India Limited (MIL) has many partnerships with state departments for agricultural development. It has made links with lakhs of farmers through 3P and assisted them to improve their production by which they enhanced their incomes employment. Many farmers of these 3Ps are able to raise their socio-economic status.3Ps are helpful to reach the even in the remote areas. It is very tough to get the immediate results of 3Ps as it is difficult to convince the farmers for the adoption of new technologies and they take time to adopt the innovations. It takes time to have a good rapport with the farmers. Institutions are required to share their knowledge, expertise, technology and resources with others as 3P is a win-win approach. 3Ps are providing a number of services to numerous farmers.3Ps assist the farmers get the best price for their farm produce and thus help in financing and marketing. It helps in creating marketing infrastructure, create competition and ensure better service to the farmers. Many small and medium- sized domestic firms are brought together for the purpose of commercializing farm products. National Dairy Development Board model of public-private partnership provides a viable alternative for small farmers. In order to overcome the challenges in the storage of food grains, the Government, through Food Corporation of India (FCI) has adopted a phased implementation plan to build modern steel grain silos with a capacity of 10 million metric tons.3Ps can help in increasing the area under micro-irrigation in India.
3Ps impact has been observed through marketing of farm produce, reduction of risks and uncertainties, capacity building of farm families, social mobilization and economic empowerment of farmers. 3Ps increased the knowledge of farmers and thus increased their crops production and income. Successful 3Ps brought replacement of traditional varieties of seeds, cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants and organic vegetables. It influenced crop diversification and enhanced the area under potential crops.3Ps have facilitated to develop the innovations , improved efficiency in management and institutional intellectual property management skills and provided new technologies in the public sector.3Ps help the farmers to deal with weather shocks and enable them to derisk themselves through insurance etc. Risks of crop failure, pests and diseases infestation, natural calamities and natural resource management can be reduced through 3Ps.PPP has helped to promote mechanised farming. It can help to form Self Help Groups(SHGs), Farmers Clubs, Farmers Producer Organisations (FPOs) and to develop self-sustaining entrepreneurship among the farmers. The public sector can act as a facilitator and enabler and private sector can act as the financier, builder and also the operator of the service or the facility. Innovative technologies, managerial effectiveness, operational efficiency and access to additional finances can be ensured through successful implementation of 3Ps.Public-private partnerships can play a significant role in doubling the farmers income by 2022.