Saturday, March 3, 2012
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Kerala situation is different from other states of India or even the global scenario with regard to developmental sectors. The Kerala model is characterised by high life quality indices even at low GDP, this was made possible by deliberate strategies taken by the communist government in the development of Agriculture, Industry and service sectors of Kerala. The literacy status and impact education system on developmental sectors is also immense especially introduction of innovations and new technology. Kerala society is well educated and aware critically analysing each changes in science, technology and politics. There is a well decentralised and democratic government system, good public distribution system and strong local self governance and timely and unbiased elections and responsive voters.
The agriculture scenario of Kerala is also special. For one thing Kerala is blessed with diverse Climatic conditions and relief/ elevation in the small piece of land making it possible to grow a wide range of crop plants. The westernghat region of Kerala is a biological hotspot for genetic diversity of a number of plants. The cropping system prevalent in Kerala is homestead agriculture where the farmer has a piece of land in which his house hold crop field, livestock etc are integrated in a system approach. The land holdings are comparatively small, as a result of bhooparishkaranam by 1st ems government which despite of its disadvantages brought about equality among the people and justice to those once discriminated by religion and cast. Also today most of the cultivators are part-time farmers and diverse crops including a major chunk of tree crops are cultivated.
40% of land is under plantation crops and in this 20% of this in households. Since major cropping system is homestead system there is direct impact of policies in the households and farming community. The land use and cropping pattern is peculiar and responsive to tradable commodities and directly affected by the global prices. The effect of globalisation and liberalisation was different for different regions, different crops and different classes of society and in different time periods. In General Globalisation followed by Liberalisation and De-regularisation brought about two major changes in Kerala Agriculture 1. We were unable to attain food security and 2. There was a decline in price of the plantation crops / cash crops.
1. Paddy cultivation was not remunerative to the farmer
a. Lack of own land
b. Lack of agricultural credit
c. Low price in the market
d. Low productivity
i. Lack of HYV
ii. Poor management
iii. Cultivation practices not compatible to the environmental conditions
e. High cost of inputs
i. Ill effects of green revolution
ii. Unscientific use of chemical fertilizers and plant protection chemicals
iii. Deterioration of Soil and water bodies
f. Labour intensive cultivation
i. Unavailability of skilled labourers
ii. High wages
g. Pest and disease incidence
i. Lack of resistant varieties
ii. Unavailability of new variety - knowledge and seeds to farmers
h. Difficulty of weed management
i. System of leaving fallow after kharif crop or in summer season
ii. Introduced weeds
iii. Speciality of rice ecosystem and problem of chemical application
i. Difficulty in mechanisation
i. Low capital availability
ii. Small land holdings
iii. Unavailability of technology
iv. Unavailability of machines
v. Unavailability of skill
j. Lack of technology and its implementation
i. Unavailability of good quality HYV seeds
ii. Lack of knowledge of new practices like single seedling method
2. Loss of paddy fields
a. Reclamation for buildings
b. Converted to garden lands
c. Unscientific and non ecofriendly practices
3. Reluctance of young generation to take up agriculture as a profession
Impact of globalisation and new development policy:-
1. Government was forced to walk off development sector
a. Subsidies insufficient
b. Exploitation of private input companies
c. Exploitation by middle men in marketing
d. Loss of good market
e. Low support price
f. Post harvest losses
g. Poor public distribution
h. Decrease in risk bearing capacity of farmer
1. Reluctance for investment in agriculture sector
2. Lack of initiative and involvement from
b. Scientific community
c. Common people/Farmers and other stake holders
3. Hidden interest of monopolies in the possession of Kerala agriculture and land, genetic resources
4. Changing governments
5. Social mayhem
b. Mafias and Quotation teams
c. Attacks towards women
Ideally in order to achieve complete justice
1. the land should be completely brought under the ownership of government
2. the farmers should be given a fixed and reasonable wages for his contribution in the production
Steps towards it:
1. The dignity of agriculture as a profession should be upheld
2. Everyone should become a part-time agriculturalist
a. Kitchen gardens
b. Terrace cultivation
c. Homestead cultivation
3. Scientific innovation
a. High yielding, disease and pest resistant, Tolerant to abiotic stress varieties
b. GM crops which have better nutritional quality
c. Better machinery
d. Better cultivation practices
e. Organic cultivation
f. Integrated pest, disease, weed management
4. Involvement of Public sector
a. take up distribution of certified seeds
b. Assure credit availability
c. make machinery available for farmers
d. Collect harvest from farmers
e. Give good price to farmers
g. Value addition
h. Proper storage
5. Government policies
a. Empowerment of landless, poor and marginal farmers
b. Subsidising farming sector
c. Support price
d. Margin free markets
e. Crop insurance
f. Recognition to farmers
g. Empowerment of cooperatives
i. In Seed, fertilizer, plant protection chemicals production
ii. In agricultural credit
iii. In post harvest technology
iv. In marketing
Decline in price of the plantation crops / cash crops
1. Low quality of planting material
2. Poor management practices
3. Lack of mechanisation
4. High labour cost
5. Lack of proper processing and marketing facility for the produce
6. Lack of knowledge on new technologies
Impact of globalisation and new development policy:-
FTA and Incompetence of our produce in global market
By Free Trade Agreement (FTA) the concept of domestic market is replaced by global market and the produce from other countries and being accumulated in our markets without regulations or tariff. Other countries like America give high rates of subsidies for agriculture and use new technologies and are able to produce large quantities of produce and able to sell at lower prices. On the other hand our government is forced out of production sector, subsidies are removed, funding for domestic research are not sufficient and our technologies not up to the mark or unavailable to the farming community.
Goals and Steps:
1. Agricultural Innovations
a. Development of new varieties
i. High yielding
ii. Disease and pest resistant
iii. Tolerant to climate change
iv. Fertilizer responsive
v. Higher nutritional status
vi. Better quality
vii. Better keeping quality
b. Removal of senile palms and re-plantation
c. Proper training and pruning practices
d. Better agronomic practices
e. Judicious application of fertilizers and plant protection chemicals
2. Government Involvement
a. Distribution of quality planting material
b. Provide agricultural credit
c. Start processing units in public sector
d. Strengthen domestic market
f. Market stabilization
g. Fix minimum support price
h. Facility to collect and store farmers produce
i. Ware house facilities
j. Processing, value addition and export
Role of Education
h. Include agriculture in school curriculum
i. Revise curriculum and critically analyse contribution of KAU
j. Improvement extension
What KAU can do?
KAU, Kerala Agriculture University can have a leading position in the changes being made and to be made in Kerala agriculture sector. The mandate of KAU itself is Teaching, Research and Extension. The problem KAU is facing at the time being is essentially lack of resources eg. Sufficient fund for research. The Agriculture graduates are often un-employed or under employed even though they are valuable keys to agricultural improvement as technical and extension personals.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Saturday, September 26, 2009
2. The countries in the pact all lie near the equator which means they share the same climatic and geographic features as Kerala and hence cultivate almost the same crops. Also these countries exhibit better productivity than us in these.
3. ASEAN pact means there will be free flow of products, services and investments into the countries and the most critical will be its effect on Kerala's economy. Kerala's economy is based on cash crops like Coconut, Rubber, Cardamom, Fish, Coir, Tea and Pepper and also the income from oversea/gulf immigrations. Its future is already foggy after the global economic crisis and this agreement is bound to make the situation worse.
4. Not only does the Asean countries have better productivity than us they have lesser production cost, so they will be able to bring cheap products to the market. Also it should be noted that these crops are long duration perennial crops of high initial investment and any price falls in the market will have immediate effect on the farmers and subsequently market failure.
5. Not only did the union government rush to sign the agreement even after the severity of the situation to Kerala's agriculture and fisheries to the Prime Minister they didn't even present the details of the agreement in the parliament.
6. Though India's first condition was to include 1460 products in the negative list, the number have been reduced to 486 and there is not much chance for even this if the agreement proceeds. Also most of Kerala’s agriculture produce are in the normal list for which the tariff is to be reduced to 5% in coming 10 years.
7. Conditionalities of the agreement will come into being from 2010 January 1st. And though it is said that the effects wouldn't be pronounced for 7years only after which the tariffs will be completely removed it is estimated to create chaos to our people within 3 years time.
8. The developed nations are giving high subsidies to their farmers at the same time they ask our government from giving subsidies to native farming community. Removal of these and entry of free trades will simple shatter our already imbalanced food security.
9. There are some saying that this pact will aid in the development of the industrial sector of our nation but it should be noted that Singapore, China, Japan etc are countries where industrialization took root and are major trade centers. Can Indian products compete with the products of these countries??
10. In nut shell Asean Pact is going to shatter our dreams for achieving Economic Security or Food Security. It is going to smash our industrial and agricultural sectors to smithereens. It is going to leave our people unemployed and starving. This is our problem!
sorry for the spelling mistakes.. Anyhow I just had to do it in Malayalam simple because I am not talking for the elite degnified educated communities but for the poor farmers. സര്വസാധാരണക്കാരായ കേരളീയ കര്ഷകര്ക്കായി ശബ്ദമുയര്തനാണ് ഞാന് ആഗ്രഹിക്കുന്നത് അതിനു എനിക്ക് അന്ഗ്ലെയ ഭാഷയുടെയോ കോളേജ് ഡിഗ്രീകളുടെയോ ആവശ്യം ഇല്ല, പാശ്ചാത്യ വല്കൃത സമൂഹത്തില്, പുറമോടികളുടെ നിറചാലിക്കലില് മുഴുകി സ്വന്തം നാടിനെ മറക്കുന്ന ഇന്നത്തെ തലമുറയ്ക്ക് അന്ന്യം നിന്ന് പോയ മാതൃഭാഷയാനെനിക്കിഷ്ടം, എനിക്ക് പ്രധാനം.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This is my seminar paper on food security (or rather insecurity) in India for the group discussion today at college, responses are welcomed!! Also reminding all rights are reserved to THE GREEN FLAME (that would be me), i.e, ask before copying. That can be helpfull to you also because I can tell you the sites I visited, and where you can find authentic data, news coverage of the topic and more information!
The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has pointed out in it’s report brought out in 2002 that 24% of Indian population are malnourished and other 1/5th of our population suffers from chronic hunger. However this cannot be taken as a function of under production of food grains. The food security of India cannot be seen in isolation from the global scenario as well.
“Food Security” could be defined as “Reliable availability of sufficient quantity and quality of nutritious food for a population”. In the global scenario also food security is not directly related to worlds food production. In 2007 according to FAO there were record grain harvests. The record yield was 2100 million metric tonnes. If all the cereals grown had been distributed equally across 6.6 billion persons and used as food there would have been no crisis. The cereals alone would have supplied every one amounts of calories and proteins with about 30% left over.
But in reality all over the world it is estimated that about 923 million people are undernourished, 1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty and over 3 billion live in less than 2$s per day. It is in this background we have to look into the reasons of food insecurity.
There is a general perception that the food crisis is a by-product of ever increasing population. But there is no data to substantiate this argument. In fact, over the last 20 years, world food production has risen steadily at over 2% a year, while the rate of global population growth has dropped to 1.14% a year. Population is not outstripping food supply. But the real reason is that people are too poor to buy the food that is available. We're seeing people hungry at greater numbers than before even when there is food on the shelves.
Therefore to we have to look at the reasons for increasing food price by which people are priced out of the market.
- One systemic cause for the price rise is held to be the diversion of food crops for other uses. Cereal stock is being diverted in many countries as livestock feed, sweetener (i.e., high-fructose corn syrup), raw material for plastic, and feedstock for fuel in the form of ethanol. An estimated 100 million tons of grain per year are being redirected from food to fuel. As farmers devoted larger parts of their crops to fuel production than in previous years, land and resources available for food production were reduced correspondingly. Filling a tank of an average car with bio fuel, amounts to as much maize (Africa's principal food staple) as an African person consumes in an entire year.
- Another reason is the changing food habits i.e. increasing meat eating habits also have a major impact. Seven Kilogram’s of grains are equivalent to one Kilogram of beef.
- The rise in the price of oil has heightened the costs of fertilizers the majority of which require petroleum or natural gas to manufacture. Because natural gas can substitute for petroleum in some uses increasing prices for petroleum lead to increasing prices for natural gas, and thus for fertilizer.
- Higher prices for liquid fuels from petroleum increase the demand for bio fuels, which may result in diverting some crops from food to energy. This is another way in which increasing petroleum price contributes to the increase in price of food crops.
- Speculation and futures trading have also contributed substantially to increase in prices of various essential commodities including food items.
- Apart from the economic reasons mentioned above environmental factors leading to reduction in crop production also contribute to the increasing price of food crops. Major environmental factors affecting crop production are drought, heat wave, unseasonal rains, Cyclone and Diseases such as stem rust that cause 100% crop loss.
- Large areas of croplands are lost year after year mainly due to soil erosion, water depletion and urbanization. Around 60,000 Sq.km per year of land becomes so severely degraded and becomes wasteland, adding to the crop supply problem.
Though all the points mentioned above are relevant in Indian scenario, inadequacy of public distribution system, exhaustion of buffer stock as a part of globalisation and rapid opening up of the agricultural sector to foreign competition from vastly subsidized food grain from developed countries are the specific issues leading to food crisis in India.
In July 2002 India was at an all time high 63.1 million tonnes of food grain stocks with Food Corporation of India (FCI). This exceeds the requirement for food security by about 20million tonnes, yet above 200 million people go hungry and 50 million are on the brick of starvation. The existence of food stocks above buffer requirements has not translated into availability.
Green Revolution using modern agricultural techniques and high yielding varieties of seeds resulted in a significant difference in regional concentration of food grain outputs. North and north-west of India became the granaries of India where as states like Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Assam and Andhra Pradesh concentrated in to cash crop production. In this situation in order to ensure judicious distribution of food grains the government set up administered price system of public procurement and public distribution. This system ensured procurement of food grain at price safe guarding the interest of farmers, distribution of food grains through out the country at regulated price ensuring price control in open market and maintained satisfactory level of buffer stock of food grains ensuring national food security. However the impact of globalisation disrupted smooth operation of the system.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement on agriculture unfortunately has made developing countries like India more committed to marketisation of agriculture than developed countries like USA which have continued to maintain their high level of agricultural subsidies. This has made agriculture in India less profitable, discouraging farmers from the field resulting in reduction of agricultural production.
The governments of developed countries refuse to eliminate their outrageous agricultural subsidies while imposing their rules of international trade on the rest of the world. Their voracious trans-national corporations set prices, monopolise technologies, impose unfair certification processes on trade, and manipulate distribution channels, sources of financing, trade and supplies for the production of food worldwide. They also control transportation, scientific research, gene banks and the production of fertilisers and pesticides.
The worst of it all is that, if things continue as they are, the crisis will become even more serious. The production and consumption patterns of developed countries are accelerating global climate change, threatening humanity's very existence. These patterns must be changed. The irrational attempt to perpetuate these disastrous forms of consumerism is behind the sinister strategy of transforming grains and cereals into fuels.
Therefore the only way to an end to the food crisis is as the establishment of a peaceful and prosperous world and a just and equitable international order. The right to food is an inalienable human right. Hunger and malnourishment cannot be eradicated through palliatives, nor with symbolic donations which will not satisfy peoples' needs and will not be sustainable.
At the very least, agricultural production in India must first be rebuilt and developed. Sustainable small scale farming based, revitalising traditional models ensuring soil and water conservation and curbing big agri-business that relies on genetically altered strains and chemical pesticides may be promoted. At the same time the public procurement, storage and public distribution system should be strengthened.