14 Dec 2020 Farmers’ protests are threatening to snowball into the biggest political crisis of Narendra Modi’s tenure. To give in to demands and scrap the laws would be an uncharacteristic admission of defeat for India’s strongman prime minister, who promised they would transform agriculture. But letting the unrest linger could cause chaos in food markets, alienate urban consumers, and potentially derail the post-Covid recovery. Nobody doubts that for India to have a shot at exiting its lower-middle-income trap, farming must come out of its sub-3% growth rut. Productivity of labor, land, fertilizer and water have to improve. Massive private investments need to take place in storage and processing for the country’s 2% share of global agricultural exports to increase.