Lease farming in Kerala : findings from micro level studies
Nair, K. N.
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Land Reforms Act in Kerala rendered tenancy invalid and prohibited the creation of future tenancies in the State, but tenancy very much exists. It is a consequence of the simultaneous increase in two categories of people, “those who have land but unable to cultivate’ and ‘those who have the labour and skills, but no lands or not enough lands of their own to cultivate’. Macro state-level data on tenancy from sources such as the NSS appear to be gross under-estimations, going by the data provided by micro-level studies in the state. This paper examines some micro-level studies on tenancy in Kerala, more specifically, its prevalence across locations and crops, characteristics of lessors and lessees, the terms of lease, and the income derived from lease cultivation and in the light of the analysis, argues for institutionalised arrangements for the expansion of lease cultivation, rather than sterner measures to check it. Among other factors, large-scale entry of self-help groups into the lease market to take up lease cultivation, often bringing hitherto fallowed lands into production, has prompted such a positioning. Key Words: Lease farming, Commercial Cultivation, Sustainable Agriculture JEL Classification: Q10, Q15