Agricultural policies are to blame
The linkage between agriculture and nutrition, and its impact on development indices is very clear, and a number of recent
reports show this.
Uttar Pradesh to set up 2000+ mandis
The State government proposes to reduce the distance that farmers must travel to take their produce to market to an average of 7
kms, and help boost farmers' incomes.
AGRICULTURE IN PUNJAB
Scars of the Green Revolution
Sick soils, declining yields, growing debts and rising malnutrition stalk the Punjab farmer, as the practices of the boom years
catch up with him.
AGRICULTURE IN CRISIS
A failed harvest
A vicious cocktail of weak purchasing power among the hundreds of millions of poor people, and a systems failure in tackling supply
side challenges is driving food prices beyond the reach of many.
OPINION : AGRIBUSINESS
Schizophrenia of agricultural policy
Any discussion of GM crops must take place within the larger framework of the indispensable need to promote biodiversity and set up agricultural policies
linked to this need.
Reasons for the Bt Brinjal moratorium
Barely three days after the conclusion of the last of six public hearings, Minister of Environment
Jairam Ramesh slapped a moratorium on the release of Bt Brinjal.
FOOD PRICE INFLATION
Watching prices rise, helplessly
The current situation of impotence that the Government finds itself in should prompt some soul searching about the reliance on market mechanisms to
take care of India's food security.
Trade in Agriculture
Farmers sour on sugar cane
The handling of sugar production, sale and external trade by the government shows a complete absence of strategic planning on an
issue that critically affects the aam aadmi.
Trade in Agriculture
Edible oil policy on the boil
The policy that reportedly favoured Indian consumers at the cost of farmers has come back to bite the consumers with a vengeance.
TRIPURA PINEAPPLE GROWERS
Too much fruit, too little bounty
As the heaps of pineappples grow bigger, prices will go down drastically from Rs.5 to Rs.2
and finally to 50 paise per pineapple, says Priyalal Sharma, a Tripura grower, who has also
planted rubber on a portion of his land.
Ratna Bharali Talukdar
Farm policy fails to address key issues
A two-day seminar held recently in Mumbai brought together policy makers, bureaucrats, social workers,
farmers, journalists, activists and researchers. Scrutinising farm policy in depth, they said it fell short.
Despite the high price of imported wheat, the government prefers this option to paying Indian farmers a higher support price for their crops.
says that this amounts to a covert policy of dismantling the procurement and price support mechanisms.
Cooking numbers as agri-volcano builds up
Using a deviously devised method, Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh
is claiming that 75 per cent of Vidarbha farmer suicides are not due to
indebtedness at all. Meanwhile, the toll has crossed 250 this year.
Burdman's farmers are faring better
The West Bengal government remains under a cloud due to violence over its industrialisation
plans, but its procurement and off-farm processing support for farmers has helped
them far more than Maharashtra's approach to the Vidarbha crisis.
visited Burdman district.
Replying with bullets
After the police firing incident at Wani in Vidarbha last month, the Maharashtra government's
cotton procurement rose to 20,000 quintals in four days at one
centre alone. But in weeks, it's back to the old ways, writes
In what appears to be a desperate move to prop up agriculture growth, Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh has called for reversing the declining trend in investment in
agriculture. But his approach may end up compounding the already existing crisis, writes
OPINION: VIDARBHA CRISIS
Rich daddy, poor daddy
At the core of the agriculture crisis in Vidarbha are the disparities
between the western and eastern regions that the state's policies have
fostered over five decades. Starved of the funds that western region has
for long received, it now hardly matters whether Vidarbha gains the status
of statehood, notes
LENS ON BT COTTON
Bt: Flaky results, pre-determined consensus
Can transgenic cotton ever be a livelihood security measure for the majority of India's small-holder farmers?
is circumspect. She says that the Bt story in India is one of confusion. Bt appears more to favour 'rich' farmers, who have access to water and more resources.
LENS ON BT COTTON
Persisting on two left feet
Five and a half years ago, a visit to nine Karnataka farmers
who were trialing Bt cotton showed regulatory breakdown.
Six years on, despite fresh criticism by NGOs, scientists and the media,
India's regulatory practice with transgenic crops appears to have
offered a repeat performance of its 2000 conduct, says
Seeds Bill 2004
Through registration and certification, the draft law seeks to promote quality seeds. But it's unclear
if farmers can meet the standards set for commercial seeds. Controversially, the Bill also permits
inspectors to carry out search and seize operations without warrants.
M R Madhavan and Kaushiki Sanyal
present a legislative brief.
Corporate agriculture: transplanting failure
Growing corporate interests and influences in the country's farm sector are beginning to underplay the significance of
cooperatives, despite failed pilot programs. Moreover, farmer-owned-firms continue to be successful in the developed
nations, and this evidence too is being ignored, writes
REGULATION OF BIOTECHNOLOGY
Biotech Policy: secretive and hasty
The government's stance towards biotechnology shows such disregard for the public interest that even its
own Expert Committee is not privy to the proposed new policy.
protests the reckless endorsement of vested interests while many other stakeholders are kept in the dark.
Right to Information
Food sovereignty, not just security
Despite abundant evidence that the PDS has failed to ward off starvation, the Centre proposes
a new plan that shows none of the wisdom of this experience.
reports on an alternative grounded in local production, storage and distribution, which does a much better job of
Hunger and food security
The politics of farm technologies
Much of the agrarian crisis is the result of unwanted and cost-intensive technologies that have been
forced on the farmers. Scientists were unknowingly trying to promote the commercial interests of
the seed, tractor and the pesticides industry. And we don't need to repeat this error, says
PLANT WEALTH AND HUNGER
UN MDGs, hunger, and biodiversity
Five years ago, the United Nations set a goal to drastically reduce hunger and poverty in the
world by 2015. This September, the UN met at New York with over 850 million people going
hungry everyday. To target hunger, an international consultation in April at Chennai had
recommended a new approach to the UN, reports Ramesh Menon.
This Seeds Bill must go
The National Seeds Bill was recently studied by a parliamentary standing committee after being introduced
in the Rajya Sabha late last year. The bill has provoked controversy because it is seen as seeking to shift
control of seeds from farmers to seed firms.
provides a critique.
OPINION : REROUTING SUBSIDIES
COTTON FARMING CRISIS
Ahluwalia echoes World Bank's line
At a conference on the eve of the 2005-06 Budget, Planning Commission vice chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said
he is advocating redistribution of farm subsidies into road construction and improving
warns that this is the World Bank's flawed understanding.
Poll freebies not relieving Vidarbha farmers
Last year saw Maharashtra go to the polls and the incumbent government offer freebies to farmers.
But cotton growers in Vidarbha saw their problems worsen as they entered 2005. None of the political
parties seem interested in a real way out, finds
Rajasthan's water sharing woes escalate
Conflict erupted recently between farmers and government in Rajasthan over water supply, with farmers resorting to violence. There are simply too many stakeholders and too little water to satisfy everybody. But it is possible to make life easier for citizens, writes