To take advantage of the size of our farming industry and also the new opportunities opening in international trade!
Seems we are very sluggish country when it comes to farm sector reforms!
Let the government invite advice from experts!
From here and also from abroad!
A new India -China study, reported in the mainstream media shows that the rich nations-US, the EU and Canada have consistently giving trade distorting high subsidies to their farmers and thereby distorting the ceilings applied to the developing countries.
The joint study asserts, thereby the developed countries has cornered 90 percent of the total entitlements amounting to a mind-boggling 160 billion dollars annually.
Imagine what even a slight change in this huge among going to the farmers in the developing countries! We don’t know whether this subject has caught the attention of experts in the government of India, at the NITI Ayog or at the PMO’s office.
If not it is time they respond or they at least now take note that others in the county, the farmers’ lobbies or in the mainstream media or in some other specialised bodies and interests like the FICCI or Assocham or others come out with some serious response.
Who doesn’t know that farmers in the country are the most neglected lot? Yes, we hear now and then, the latest was the other day in the Rajya Sabha there was much noise, yet we have to be somewhat realistic that what we heard or what was reported in the mainstream press was some superficial coverage. What we remember was some MPs’ names only. What they spoke was not reported clearly or in an extensive manner deserving the seriousness of the situation down at the grassroots.
As we write the agri minister was yet to give his reply in the Rajya Sabha.
What we have seen so far, the minister’s reply is unlikely to inspire the people, more so, the farmers’ groups.
We need a strong farmers’ lobby or lobbies and also some radical new thinking and new initiatives. There are lots of new thoughts lately.
Anyway now the first is the said joint study. As per the paper there are some agri commodities for which subsidies given by the developed world are over 50 per cent of the production value, while developing countries are forced to contain it within 10 per cent or face penalties.
“Developed countries have more than 90 per cent of global Aggregate measurement of Support(trade distorting subsidies) entitlements amounting to nearly 160 billion dollars which is beyond their deminim. In contrast most developing member countries have access only yo de minimis resulting in a major asymmetry in the rules on agricultural trade”, the paper says. The paper was recently submitted to the WTO Commission on Agriculture.
Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS), this measures the support prices and subsidies directly linked to production.
Of course, we have to say that on the face of these technical details, the measure seems fair enough, as developing countries our contribution to the total trade volumes, the developing nation’s contribution to the kitty, so to say, is meagre but there is no absolute monopoly that had been enjoyed by more developed countries or their bargaining powers. But we have to come to the present times.
There are many other points of view. India and China are now big markets for the developed countries’ production volumes. So, we have some bargaining powers too.
Anyway, we too have to adopt some other strategies, we have to set up new lobbies to go into the world markets and try to push our goods and services, our own low-cost advantages to enter these markets and sell our products and services.
There are, literally, hundreds of ways to enter into the international markets.
The time has come to awake our farmers lethargy and also our politicians propensity to exploit the ignorance and weaknesses of the farmers insanity to unite and support lobbies for their own products.
Now, there prices of some of the usual products, the tomatoes prices had risen and the onion prices had fallen! The usual culprits!
No way to help farmer? Yes, we are back in the same plight. So too the new eNAM mechanism inaugurated by the Prime Minister.
But this is not enough to make a slogan of doubling farmers’ incomes in the next few years. No, this is not possible!
Indian agriculture, its products and services must now enter into international agri trade and curve out a niche for some of the Indian agri skills, as we have curved out our skills in IT sector.
What we need in agriculture is some daring innovative policies. Please write your responses!