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Linkages and impacts of cross-border informal trade in agricultural inputs in eastern south Asia

This project aims to understand the dynamics of informal trade in agricultural inputs across India's borders with Bangladesh and Nepal, and their effect on resource use efficiency and livelihoods, including for women.
This project will publish a report and disseminate it to the trade and agriculture policy community in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. The report's findings will generate a broad consensus on required policy changes and lead to policy recommendations that formalise informal trade of agricultural inputs across India's borders with Bangladesh and Nepal. This will boost local agriculture and economy, and strengthen the market supply chain.
Procedural, political and regulatory barriers hamper trade across borders, so most trade is informal -but informal trade in agricultural inputs increases prices and lowers quality of products for farmers. Farmers informally adopt or source seeds from across political borders because they are resilient, climate suitable and profitable, and other agricultural inputs are unavailable locally.
Informal trade has given farmers better access to seeds and fertilizers; this has improved nutrient and irrigation efficiencies on farms, leading to higher crop yields.
Agriculture is female-intensive in both India and Bangladesh. Rural men have migrated to urban centres and to other countries in search of work and higher wages. Farms managed by women have low levels of mechanization and technology, so are often unproductive.
Easy and cheap availability of agricultural inputs, machineries, etc. can raise incomes for marginalised and women farmers in the region, resulting in higher consumption of essential items. Access to better and/or quality inputs, technologies and implements can also increase higher productivity. Smooth trade across political boundaries can enhance economic and social benefits for farmers in the region.