No media support at the time of social media explosion!
A recent Assochem report says a decline in print media reading and also a rise in the time for social media among the media focused society. This is so for the rather older generation and more so for the younger new generation readers.
Print media in India is still strong but the future looks gloomy. Only in the USA we see a fight between the major news outlets, between the New York Times and Washington Post and the President of the United States. Mr.Donald Trump is an unusual President, given his background, he is in one significant sense, a very open-minded leader who cares a damn for niceties and as a result the US democracy thrives with its own openness ,say, in sharp contrast to the atmosphere that prevails in India, let us not forget, we are the world’s largest democracy. So, we can’t compare the US with China, not a democracy and so the parameters might vary.
The point we want to highlight here is that for a country with such a large segment of agriculture as the largest employer still and also with a large segment of the poor, it is a bit disappointment that the agri sector lacks a very recognisable media coverage given the importance for the same in informing and agitating for the due share of resources and much else that the agri sector signifies.
So, we want to remind the readers that given the thrust of our economic growth, the role of the private sector and also the big corporate sector with its intimate linkages with the ruling establioshment,there is very little chance, we assume for any significant role to play for the media in the agri sector.
So, we realise the limitations of the readership attention to the happenings in the agri sector.
Just now, we have come back from a European tour, mostly spent in Greece, now the sickman of Europe, given the fact that three bailout plans by the European Community (EU) had given to Greece, otherwise, a development country, of course in the 27 nation bloc. We drove through miles and miles of the Greek countryside, we saw the vast countryside in rural Greece were covered by much developed agriculture ,many cash crops like wheat, barley, cotton, maize, grapes, orange and of course the mainland crop of olive groves and thus what we saw was a very developed agriculture Greek rural hinterland. So too the villages, all tiled highly modern country homes, most of them lying near any major monuments and of course Greece is known for its historic monuments, Delhi to Myceany, Corinth, Epidauraus and many other remote areas are dotted with modern type hotels and tourism, as we know is one of their major industries next to shipping and cruise industries. Greece has some 2,000 odd islands all tourist havens.
So, what impressions we gained by roaring the Greek countryside?
EU is very much a foreign exchange earner, next only to the USA as a trade partner to any outside country.
There is a Common Agriculture Policy for the EU and a heavy farm subsidy is in place there.
As I was also passing through Qatar, some time spent in Doha, the capital, where there is right now a sanction from fellow four nation Gulf states including Egypt and Qatar is importing food and other essential supplies.
So, watching these two countries and asking questions, my mind wandered in an open-ended manner.
Why not we draw up a new agriculture policy, innovative and creative, so that we can explore new routes to export Indian agri products and services.
Once we sit together and think through, I feel confident that we can explore new countries and new opportunities to export some of our persistently low-priced vegetables, tomatoes and onions, come to mind immediately, why not even grains, says wheat and rice and even pulses.
Once we start succeeding I don’t see, in principle, why we can’t raise our MSPs several times, outside our own domestic trader network and also outside our own bureaucracy-driven machinery.
I have the feeling and the confidence we, all the stakeholders, critically the farmers and farmers organisations, to come out with building new farm lobbies for several crops, lobbies as we see in the developed markets and they, the lobbies must do the rest of the job like effecting the desired change and end results.
Farmers organisations are agitating for better support prices and even farmers’ reliefs.
But somehow I have the feeling that the government as it is constituted today, by the highly corrupt bureaucratic system and the political leadership establishment, with the corrupt dynastic political culture, there is no hope the Congress establishment would change. The Congress might even prolong with the family run party machine for the foreseeable future without even coming to power at all. See the Communist parties, they are there forever a century without ever hoping to capture to power. May be likewise, the Congress too might survive and not bother to come to power. There is so much funds and unaccounted money with the parties. The BJP might evolve in some unpredictable ways, might even become a one leader and one ideology party and government. See what is happening in Russia.
So as for Indian agriculture’s future, we have to think radically and in many innovative manners. Agriculture exports might give us some hope, if we try hard enough anew liberation too.