Marine products/cashew and other major commodities are not finding big export markets.
We must have the big picture first!
Yes, our Commerce Minister Mr.Kamal Nath is doing a brave job. He had brought some openness to our WTO negotiations. Now and then we hear him talk boldly. But that is all. On the ground level not much is taking place. Our agri export zones? No news till this date on any big splash!
The Apeda Chairman says that in floriculture, the 80-billion dollar global floriculture market, India’s share is only 0.6 per cent! Rs.250 crores export only. What bold new strategies? Why does floriculture area doesn’t expand? Why we don’t expand? Why we don’t hear any new strategies? Under the UPA? What the are the obstacles on the ground?
There is so much empty talk in agriculture. Is this the big curse for the agri sector only? Is the Indian farmers doomed to tolerate so much of non-sense being talked in the name of Indian farmers? The time has come in our view to call the bluff of so many of the empty talkers, empty rhetorics in the name of so many fancy labels. They have become stumbling mental blocks, words and phrases like ecological farming, organic farming or environment-friendly farming etc. Protection of the environment is dear to us, farmers and farmers spokesmen, please note!
So too protecting and preserving the ecology, please also note. So too organic farming, please note! On organic farming our experience with farmers, in the villages is that all poor farmers are organic farmers. They have no money to buy costly fertilisers or pesticides. So most poor farmers, more so in rain-fed farming don’t use any such harmful chemicals or pesticides. So, most of the dry-land cultivators of most grains and fruits and even vegetables sustain only on what little, low-cost, minimum organic farm manures. This, perhaps, the air-conditioned living, urban idle settlers, arm-chair theorists and retired Gandhians and (notice the ever-dangerous) retired bureaucrats who are otherwise ever-ready committee chairmen who crowd the Delhi power corridors, who hold forth on any number of times on the reformation of the agri sector. In Kerala the state under successive Left-run governments had raised the government debt to Rs.41,709 crores on date. The Kerala Finance Minister, the veteran Vakkom Purushothaman, says that the “borrowings were going in everywhere. In some other states, the debt burden had crossed Rs.I lakh crores”. May be W.Bengal is in this category, where else?
Now, we come to the crucial issues. The strong economies of the West would see to it that Indian agri products exports (like other developing countries) don’t get growing beyond a point.
WTO, we learn from Western media reports that the new WTO boss,former EU Commissioner,Pascal Lamy was the very man,as EU trade commissioner,destroyed the world trade talks in Mexico in September,2003.He tried to force through new rules on investment,competition,procurement,which would have allowed corporations to dictate terms to the poor world’s government.”For the first time in WTO history,the poor nations were making effective use of collective bargaining and demanding major concessions from the rich.By destroying the talks,Lamy prevented a fairer trading regime from being introduced.He left the rich countries free to strike individual traties with their weaker trading partners.And the UK and the rest of Europe hid behind him”.Yes,this is a damning exposure of the new WTO boss.But no Indian media has the backbone to write these matters.All the subservient Indian media does is to reproduce some whiteman’s damnation! At least,we Indian farmers must be thankful for such small mercies! To hide behind the whiteman’s writing! Indians themselves don’t have the bone to write and speak hard truths openly! What a progress we have mae in Independent India!
Agriculture exports itself in total exports is still 10 per cent! It is marine products exports that constitute, we are told, something like 20 per cent. Here is a big fall. Then also the cashew exports, again a significant percentage. Yet a fall. Not to speak of spices trade.
Mr.Nath must do some open-minded talk. He must invite unorthodox opinion to bear on his deliberations. There is a noticeable disharmony between related ministries. In one word, there is no big picture before us. Before India as for the long and medium and short-term agri export strategy.