They are different!
One has to be seen from the farmers’ point of view!
The other is seen from the corporate point of view!
There are no clear policies for either of the two sectors!
There has been progress in some states Haryana, Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Punjab allow contract farming. Big corporates like UB (for barley) in 5,500 acres and for various other crops have taken to this type of farming
For perishables we need a new promotion efforts. So that the frequently heard cries of despair whenever, tomato, or onion or tur dal prices crash and they growers are still left to mercy!
The APMC Act, so far seen as a positive force, now seen as a drag on farmers’ freedoms, has now seen 18 amendments! Let us hope some white knight emerges from the states and some expert or a minister gets all the credit for taking the progressive measures forward!
Big corporates have also seen now new investment opportunities for cold chains, post-harvest infrastructure and logistics.
Yes, there is no point in talking a doctrinaire language, like the Left or the Right for big farmers.
We have to become more realistic and introspective. Farmer’s leaders also must shed their inherent prejudices.
The big corporate are here. They are ready to take risks and invest.
We have to reward them.
Our only criticism is that neighther Sonia Gandhi nor Manmohan Singh, either through her NAC or the PM through his unlimited number of high-power committees don’t do much for farming or the villager development.
It is time the free market mechanism pushes forward into agri sector with the commodity boom driving the ambitions of everybody in this direction.
There is a record food output, put at 240 million tonne. This is a great achievement, says the ICAR chief.
On the day when he said this, comes the FAO chief’s warning: what is the point? If we leave almost half of the population go hungry?
So, the dilemma for the policy makers is clear.
You can produce a record output. But it is not made available in an equitable and an open and liberal and corruption-free manner.
Unfortunately, in India under the increasingly polarised politics where regional parties push for their own regional agenda, there is a self-destructive populism that has led to heavy debts and also consequently, increasing pauperization. This is visible in W.Bengal, visible in Kerala, we don’t know the real ground level realities, but in TN this dilemma had reached some alarming dimensions.
There is such heavy black money in elections and the one Rupee a kg scheme had almost ruined the very norms of a transparent governance.
Populism is one reason for the phenomenon of rising prices and rising food grains production, in other world, the food inflation?
No one asks this questions but needs to be asked and debated.
In spite of record output, there is also the farmers’ distress.
If you just take a look at the ground level realities in any farmer’s clusters, you will see extremes of fortunate few and the unformatted many.
The farming scenario is marked by the same age-old exploitation.
There is the widespread private money lender to save the farmers; farmers themselves favour the private money lenders in many areas and also the formal banking system leading to an increasing farm debt per capita.
In all these years of populism and so-called neo-liberalism we see the public sector banks accumulating huge debts and the government replenishing them often, and at the same time the PSU banks leaving out the priority sector lending targets.
This is happening under so many economic experts presiding over all the top bodies in Delhi.
So, farming continues to be neglected.
The other day when the Panchayat Raj day was celebrated with Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh on the dais, the secretary of the Panchayat dept, one Mr.Sinha took courage and said openly that the 11th Plan neglected the Panchayats functioning. Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh didn’t open their mouths at all!
Now, the very free market mechanism, seems to be driving the farm agenda as well.
We see the corporates, both Indian and the foreign, from USA, are slowly and yet in a steady manner entering the Indian farm sector.
Private equity funds too entering the sector. It is just a beginning.
There are also other actions in the IT and related sectors, one or two private websites are emerging as the pure play success stories in the IT secotr. So too the agri consultancy space. These are early days it seems.
In the biotech sector too there are actions.
But what we see, as an agri media company, is the large ignorance and sheer non-commitment and non-application of the mind on the part of our politicians to think of agriculture as the heart and soul of the Indian people.
This mindset must change.Talking of corporate sector entering farming, or enacting contract farming, the current ignorance on the part of policy makers is to opt for cronyism, big corporates are favoured and the contract farming for small and marginal farmers is not a high priority.
PPP ,we have been talking for anything and everything. Cant the concept of PPP be tried in the very critical sector of buying and selling. Saving the farmers uncertainties can be explored through new innovative methods. The obvious one is the PPP concept.
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