IIMA’s commitment and expertise in agri-food and rural sectors dates back from its inception when the institute had accepted managerial issues related to under-managed but socially important sectors – particularly agriculture - as part of its thrust area. A small group, called the Agco Group, was set up in 1963 to work on the problems of agricultural sector and cooperatives. This Group was re-designated as the Centre for Management in Agriculture (CMA) in 1971. The goal of CMA has been to help the process of modernization of the agri-food sector, by using concepts of management science.
The CMA at the Institute is an interdisciplinary group currently consisting of five primary and three secondary faculty members and has since its inception actively engaged in applied, policy and problem-solving research on issues related to management of agriculture including food, agribusiness, rural and allied sectors, which are relevant to practitioners and policy planners and are of concern for the society at large. In the initial years, the Centre took up studies in the areas of block development administration, cooperatives, rural development and high-yielding varieties program to understand the processes of administering development and the roles played by public and cooperative organizations. Over time, the research activity of the Centre was expanded to study problems and growth possibilities of organizations supplying inputs and services to agri-food sector as well as for procurement, processing, and marketing of farm and allied produce.
CMA has a close association with the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India since 1965 and undertakes research studies for the Ministry on various facets of agricultural and allied sectors and provides policy advice to the union government. CMA has done significant amount of research in the areas of agri-food policy, procurement, marketing, and processing of agro-based commodities, farm input systems, irrigation and water management, agricultural and rural finance, investment and subsidies, livestock, fisheries, forestry, agricultural trade including the WTO issues, competitiveness of agriculture, supply chain management, rural infrastructure, vertical coordination in agro-food industry and contract farming, food retailing, commodity trading, rural innovations, management of technology in arid areas, intellectual property rights, biodiversity conservation, biotechnology, GMOs and food safety issues.
Indian food and agribusiness sector is facing numerous challenges due to globalisation, rapid pace of technological change like biotechnology and GMOs, changing business environment and rapidly evolving role of government. In the recent past, CMA has carried out research in these areas to address some of the issues. The recent publications of CMA include high growth trajectory and structural changes in Gujarat agriculture, economic policy reforms and Indian fertilizer industry, participatory irrigation management, economics of Bt vis-à-vis Non-Bt cotton, competitiveness of India’s tea trade, global debate on fisheries subsidies, management of agribusiness contracts and organisations, agricultural machinery, micro-irrigation, emerging markets for GM foods, agricultural policy matrix in a federal structure in the post-WTO era, impacts of fresh food retail chains on small primary vegetable producers and traditional fruit and vegetable retailers, performance of rural credit, producer companies, modern supply chain for fresh vegetables, market integration and market access for agricultural commodities, flow of credit to small and marginal farmers, marketing of fruits and vegetables, processed food marketing in India, contract farming, organic produce supply chains and organic input production and marketing. Output from research is published in the form of books and monographs which to date number 246. Besides a large number of research papers in national and international journals, cases and teaching notes have also been published.
The CMA faculty has been engaged in policy planning and implementation at national and State levels. Some faculty members are on the boards of public, private, cooperative and other developmental organizations and members of various committees/task forces/working groups constituted by the erstwhile planning commission (Niti Aayog) and various ministries of the Government of India. CMA has provided help in institution building and played a key role in setting up national level institutes like Indian Institute of Forest Management, National Institute of Agricultural Marketing, and National Institute of Cooperative Management.
The CMA faculty are involved in teaching in Post Graduate Programme, Post Graduate Programme in Food & Agribusiness Management and doctoral level Fellow Programme in Management with specialization in Food & Agribusiness. The Centre also conducts short duration Executive Education Programmes (EEPs) in the areas of agricultural input marketing, food supply chain management, contract farming and rural marketing for industry leaders and managers, policy planners and other stakeholders in food and agribusiness sector. CMA provides consultancy services to public, private, cooperative, voluntary and international organizations.
Vasant P. Gandhi
Ravindra H. Dholakia (Secondary Member)