How agriculture and food could become new diplomatic tools in the modern world!
Droughts, rising food prices make economies, big and small vulnerable to new challenges!
US economy is still in the slowdown mode only!
Obama faces an uphill task in facing the Republican challenge!
Russian agriculture is the opportunity of the century?
To overcome the global food security threat?
Yes, say many observers!
See what Russian President Vladimir Putting is doing!
In the USA too there is still concern, even as Obama is facing an uphill task, it seems, on overcoming the Republican challenge to his candidature.
Yes, the global drought in many parts of the world, including in the USA and Europe has caused many worries about the global food availability. The US drought had upset the traditional US agri export strategies. Its corn and soyabean output is seriously hit. So too drought in some central European countries like Bosnia and Croatia and even in Vietnam have come as a rude shock.
Asian countries, once the rice bowls of the world are now in great uncertainty.
Yes, it seems that we are committed to export wheat, sugar and even cotton.
India is now seen as a leading exporter of rice and cotton and sugar.
But here too there are uncertainties.
Domestic agriculture and food issues are one aspect. There are the new opportunities, in foreign countries, as much for diplomatic as for strategic reasons India exports rice in a big way to countries like Iran. Then are the traditional rice markets for the Indian basmati rise exports.
No big country or economy can now be an insulated one as far as agriculture and food security is concerned. So, in this perspective comes the recent Russian President hosting the 22-member nation Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit at the Russian eastern end port city of Vladivostok.
That is in a way an education to the Indian experts as well as Indian voters to critically scrutinise the campaign speeches of the two US Presidential candidates as to what they have got to say about their own economy.
US economy is also slowing down. There is an unemployment rate of 8.3% in the USA at present. The election folklore in the US is that unless the unemployment rate is below 7.3% a candidate can’t hope to get elected there! So Obama is not at his most winning phase yet. May be between today and the Election Day things might improve to his advantage. Also Mitt Romney’s hoped for blunders might come to the rescue of Obama. The American voters, as never before, are deeply divided, American society is becoming racial as never before, there is the 70% of the 315 million white population and also the dominant male white might vote for Romney and also the other minorities, specially the Hispanics, they are 16.3%, though the African American voters, though small at 12.6 % they might overwhelmingly, 90% vote for Obama as they did in 2008.
The point is American economy might recover not so fast but only more slowly, it seems.
Unless the US economy recovers, there can’t be growth prospects for Indian economy.
That is the very critical truth. This truth no Indian expert or experts seem to be talking, or willing to admit so openly.
There are also other dominant world economies like China and Russia.
Russian agriculture is the opportunity of the century!
For its gas and oil supplies and also for its predominant status as one of the world’s great grain supplier!
Vladimir Putin at the recently concluded Asia Pacific Tim countries, some 22 of them, which met at the Russian Far Eastern port of Vladivostok over which Russia has spent now over 20 billion dollars to upgrade the city and port infrastructure. World’s longest two-mile long, cable stayed bridge in the world etc!
Putin, it is said, seems looking for energy to Japan in a big way and also to others in the region but also he is chose at the summit food security as a top issue.
Russia is now emerging as a large supplier of grains to the developing world.
There is a wider world wide concern about the rising food prices and also this is causing wider social unrest.
Fod exports, says an expert, namely, Charles Robertson, global chief economist of Renaissance Capital, an investment bank that focuses on Russia.
Though energy is Russia’s largest sector, now Putin wants to redirect the supply of gas and oil to the eastern countries to overcome, it seems, criticism of its price-fixing and also for other reasons. In the Far East Russia wants to build up its new bonds for various strategic and other reasons.
Japan is the leading importer of Russian gas and oils, Also, China is now becoming friendly and the new phase of international developments could be based on a new bonhomie of Russia-Chinese relations.
Anyway, India has to become aware of the developments. Russian agriculture and food diplomacy could be matched at least in symbolic ways with our own agricultural strengths, production of foods and also developing the new technologies and technological tools, critically in deploying the IT tools in various fields of economic and social and education activities.
Russian agriculture is the opportunity of the century, says this expert. Russia might cultivate closer bond and also closer political and strategic bond through its agriculture, food supplies and closer interaction with its Far Eastern neighbours.
Very likely. Global food security concerns are now top issues with the global powers as well as with the UN as well.
Agriculture and food trade are now becoming global big news more and more. This year the drought has hit agri production in big economies like America, Russia and Australia, the three biggest wheat exporters in the world. Simultaneous drought and also weather. Another is the biofuel policy of America which diverts sizeable maize (corn) to biofuel and to that extent helps to raise food prices! A third of US maize is diverted to ethanol.
Bad polices in America is encouraging bad policies elsewhere, in other countries. Higher food prices have hindered exporters and importers of food. Between 2007 and2011, 33 countries imposed export restrictions on food.
Agriculture accounts for less than 10% of world trade.
This, says The Economist magazine, is the cause of so many distortions and also causes more costs, two thirds of the costs of all border distortions.
If every country tries to protect its consumers, as most of them do these days, as Japan did in earlier times, and now China and India does, says the very same expert magazine in its editorial lately, then the rise in rice prices, 45% of the rise, between 2006-08.then one can imagine the spiral can’t be brought to any intelligent regulation and control.
2.5 billion consumers, poor, are subsidised by various means, food and agri subsidies, and this is a gross distortion of international trade in food grains and really hurts the interests of the poor farmers an also poor consumers.
We, in India, along with other rice and food exporting countries, to start with in Asia must get together what can be done to give farmers an open economy environment, more freedom to do what they think best for them, at lesser cost and so too for consumers to get the food at affordable costs.
A belief in international trade in agriculture and food, a belief in freer trade, regulated of course and yet open world trade environment could bring the best of economies and efficiencies to what we really have an inefficient and high cost agriculture and food distribution system.
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