Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

tamilnadu farmers - disturbing trend

sainath comes hammer and tongs at many establishments in his latest salvo - "of luxury cars and lowly tractors."

the data point that concerns me is reflected in the title:
Tamil Nadu showed the biggest increase of all States, going from 512 in 2008 to 1060 in 2009. Karnataka clocked in second with a rise of 545. And Andhra Pradesh saw the third biggest rise — 309 more than in 2008.
this is not to be interpreted as a parochial view, but from a social angle, the southern states have been at the forefront and these trends are indicative of a deeper malaise, which is, as the final statement in the article - “The latest data show us that the agrarian crisis has not relented, not gone away.” The policies driving it have also not gone away."

at a recent public meeting/press conference in chennai, a well-known educationist and social scientist mentioned that there is a high level conspiracy to get the small/medium farmer out of farming and allow the big companies to take over their land and hence dominate food production/supply.
considering our good friends - MMS, PC and MSA leading from the front - it is very likely.


Prashant said...

I belong to Vidarbha region, though am not a farmer .

Suicide in Vidarbha are mainly because farmers sells his crop he find that he spent almost money on growing the crops.
Bottom-line is nothing left for him after paying for seeds, pesticides, laborers, vehicle rental to go to market .

* Due to multination seeds, Indian seed bank is totally destroyed, they do not have option, they have to buy costly seeds.
Gone are the days when farmers used to store some portion of produce which can be used as seeds in next season.

*Pesticides and fertilizers consumes a bigger chunk of money, they simply forgot organic farming or cannot imagine agri without pesticides and fertilizers.

*Laborer- We Indians and basically haramkhor and kamchor, we don’t want to work. can you believe the vidarbha region where farmer suicide is usual, you will not get laborers even after paying 100 rupees ?
These peoples prefer to go to city work on construction sites where they could build slums and get free power, water, ration card etc etc .

*Cost of transport to city using diesel/petrol vehicles.

*No agro industries in rural area to take care of food processing, for example no food processing for world famous oranges.
I have seen farmers crying while dumping oranges in farms since he cannot afford to take it to market.
Oranges are so delicate that even if it falls down from a tree it takes just few hours for it to finish.
Half an hour rain or a storm is enough to destroy entire orange farm.

But they are helpless nothing is been done for them, a proper storage place or food processing industry.

Anonymous said...

On the other side, most farmers know how to use subsidies, get loans waived, etc. This dependence on government schemes, and lack of leadership from the farming community, makes it easier and convenient for farmers to give their lands for corporate contract farming. Even TNAU has come up with an idea of "hi-tech" farming, where farmers join together as a group, and cultivate 2 or 3 crops on a bigger scale by pooling their land. All "scientific" inputs and ideas will be provided by the TNAU "scientists". This seems like a natural progression of scientific progress, and it may lead to lower fertilizer and pesticide usage. But it may also lead to industrial agriculture with loss of biological diversity, and risk of big failures with mono-cropping.
And of course soil and ecology restoration seem to be irrelevant for our agricultural "scientists", as not much money is there to be made, if fertility can be restored with the help of micro-organisms and insects.
Ultimately if consumers like industrial packaged food, farmers will also choose contract farming or pooling land for monoculture. Britannia, the company that gave us biscuits made with "edible oil", several decades back, is adding "micro-nutrients" to its biscuits, and also have "healthy" biscuits for diabetics, and probably for people with other illnesses. I've seen pilgrims who travel long distances on road, survive mostly on these biscuits made with "edible oil" and "micro-nutrients". Would a smart farmer take extra pains to grow organic groundnuts for oil, if all a company needs is "edible oil"?

csm said...

prashant - growing for the market is always replete with such pitfalls.

anon - i will disagree with 'most farmers'.
in fact, most farmers in my area hardly have any links with the govt. there are a few 'chalu' farmers, who beautifully exploit these in connivance with the dept.
and to quote gandhi here - 'any ag university that does not grow their own food is a national shame'. so i will look down upon any 'scheme' they suggest.