Monday, December 24, 2007

Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative


The Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of the West African country Senegal for the revival of a 6.6-lakh tonne capacity phosphoric acid plant in Senegal, Industries Chimiques de Senegal, (ICS).ICS is a joint venture with the government of India holding a 6.97 per cent stake, IFFCO 19.1 per cent and the government of Senegal a dominant 47 per cent.
IFFCO will invest $100 million in the next three years for increasing the production to approximately 600,000 tonne. IFFCO will also provide a loan of 10 million dollars to the company repayable on priority. Under the MoU, IFFCO will handle the existing debt of the company to ensure its repayment to the Senegalese banks and international financial organisations in 15 years and those to the trade creditors in two years.
Restructuring of ICS will improve the availability of phosphoric acid in the country as IFFCO will import bulk of it. It is also expected to have a sobering effect on the international price trend which has been rising for sometime.
(For more details:iffco.nic.in)
(Source: TheHindu)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Minimum support price for Paddy


The minimum support prices are announced by the Govt. of India with a view to ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers on the basis of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) recommendations. The minimum support prices are perceived by the farmers as a guarantee price for their produce from the Government. These prices are announced by the Government at the commencement of the season,to enable them to pursue their efforts with the assurance that the prices would not be allowed to fall below the level fixed by the Govt. Such minimum support prices are fixed at incentive level, so as to induce the farmers to make capital investment for the improvement of their farm and to motivate them to adopt improved crop production technologies to step up their production and thereby their net income.

Now the paddy growing farmers are upset over the new minimum support price fixed by the governement.The MSP for common variety is Rs 645 a quintal and for Grade A variety Rs 675 a quintal compared to Rs 620 and Rs 650 during the previous season (2006-07). The increase is Rs 25, which is much below their expectation.On the other hand the Central Governement has increased the MSP for wheat Rs 150 a quintal compared to the last season.Increase in MSP for paddy in the last four years was just 17 per cent compared to 35 per cent in the case of wheat.The growing demand from paddy farmers for declaring Rs 1,000 per quintal as MSP, on a par with wheat. Farmers were incurring lot of expenditure to produce a quintal of paddy, due to rise in prices of inputs like power, fertilisers, labour and transport.
I strongly demand an MSP hike in paddy to do justice to millions of paddy farmers,and eliminate the “huge disparity” in the procurement prices of wheat and paddy by immediately enhancing the Minimum Support Price.There are more rice eaters in the country and the government should encourage rice farming by raising the procurement price, which will also contribute in reducing hunger.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

SEZs VS Farming Lands

An economically booming India has approved proposals for at least 180 Special Economic Zones but has been hit by protests in several states because many of the approved sites are on prime agricultural land. India is a land of farmers, the land provides livelihood security for 65 per cent of the people, and the farmers provide food security for 1 billion. Economic development has resulted in loss of agricultural land to industrial projects. Policies driven by corporate globalization are pushing farmers off the land, and peasants out of agriculture. This is not a natural evolutionary process, It is a imposed process. The farmers are being forced to leave their fertile lands promising jobs in the concrete SEZ jungle but what the government fails to realize is that these farmers are already self sufficient and are in a way also helping feed others in the country.

Lands under cultivation are shrinking, as a result, India's food grains harvest is far from rising to meet the demands of a growing population.Wheat production has come down from 76 million tonnes (MT) in 1999-2000 to 74 MT this year. Substantially below the 76 MT target, it has impelled the government to import 5 MT of the grain for the second consecutive year.Majority of farmers of India is looking of their land sovereignty and food sovereignty. A food secured India is in the hands of the farmers.

I am not against industry and progress but please, spare our agriculture fields. It is stupidity to take over fertile lands for Industrial development.I strongly agree that industrial development is important and that SEZs can help in this cause. However government should plan the SEZ, where acres of land available which are not fit for agricultural.

Friday, September 07, 2007

U.S.TV Network Presents "The Dying Fields"

(source:PBS.org)Thanks to PBS.org
India has increasingly embraced free trade and, since 2002, has had one of the world's fastest growing economies. But only images of this new prosperity have reached the impoverished rural areas where two thirds of India's 1.1 billion people live. Left behind by India's soaring economic boom is Vidarbha, a region of hilly forests in the middle of India. It used to be known as India's cotton belt - but now captures headlines as its suicide belt. In 2006, 1,044 suicides were reported in Vidarbha alone - that's one suicide every eight hours.
Vidarbha farmers face a grim reality of crop failures, sinking global cotton prices and crushing debts. Farmers in default at the bank frequently resort to illegal moneylenders who charge up to 100 percent interest. And, the government safety net - that once kept cotton prices closer to the cost of production - has all but disappeared. Under India's new free trade policies, Vidarbha's 3.2 million cotton farmers - most of them small landholders - must compete in a global market that includes formidable, often subsidized rivals, including American cotton farmers.
video

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Farmer's journalist wins Magsaysay award


Palagummi Sainath has won the 2007 Raman Magsaysay award, widely regarded as Asia's equivalent of the Nobel Prize, in recognition of his passionate reporting about the condition of India's rural poors.While announcing the award, the Board of Trustee of the Raman Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) said that Sainath, who has been writing on social issues like farmer suicide in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra is among the seven individuals being awarded for their contribution in various fields.
"In electing Palagummi Sainath to receive the 2007 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts, the board of trustees recognizes his passionate commitment as a journalist to restore the rural poor to India's consciousness, moving the nation to action," the citation said.. adding the award will be presented in a ceremony here on August 31.
(source:Hindu.com)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Farmers' widows


Farmers in India have been committing suicides due to  mounting debts and natural calamities . Now their families are helpless and hapless. The farmer’s widows are in extreme distress and suffering with serious problems. They have been harassed by money lenders who charge exorbitant interest rates. They often demand the partial repayment. Some of the places the moneylenders are forcing the widows for sexual exploitation. Their children are in high rate of malnutrition, high incidence of farm labor lack of proper education.
I trust these sorts of troubles may lead to suicides of farmer’s widows and orphanage to their children. I would like to suggest remedies that the Government should provide subsidized food, health and social security for the ill-fated farmer’s widows and their children. We should reinforce their lives to self-reliance.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wonderful World Bank

The World Bank said on Wednesday(06.27.07)it had approved a $600 million loan for India to help it revamp thousands of ailing rural cooperative banks and fight village poverty through cheap loans.

"Better access to finance for India's rural poor is absolutely critical for higher rural growth, for reducing inequality and ultimately, alleviating poverty," Isabel Guerrero, the bank's country director for India, said in a statement.About 87 percent of marginal Indian farmers and 70 percent of small farmers have no access to credit from a formal financial institution, the World Bank said, adding they often have to rely on "extortionate" money lenders.
Thousands of farmers have committed suicide in recent years across India's sprawling western and southern plateau because they could not repay loans taken for their crops.The absence of cheaper credit prevents farmers from adopting the latest technology, or buying quality seeds and fertilizers.

A World Bank release said 12 states, which have signed the memoranda of understanding with the Government of India and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural development include, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar,Gujarat,Harayana,Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.
(source:worldbank.org)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

After long Journey of mangoes....



The first batch 600 kgs of the choicest Alphonso and Kesari mangoes grown in Gujarat and Maharashtra reached New York, touching the US shores after 18 years.The mangoes were dispatched from Mumbai in the presence of officials from US Consulate and APEDA and senior scientists of BARC.The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology (BRIT) received a green signal from US quarantine regulators on April 25.
The US had stopped import of mangoes as it felt Indian farmers used too much pesticides, according to Agricultural Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).However, it has been revived after US President George W. Bush's visit to India last year.The US Department of Agriculture has finally decided to grant market access for Indian mangoes, thus paving the way for start of mango imports from India to the US.
Initially, India is likely to export Alphonso, Kesar and Banganapalli -- the early maturing mango varieties. Langra, Chausa, Mallika and Dussheri are proposed for exports in the latter part of the season.Demand for mangoes in the US is strong, with a market size estimated at about 25,000 tonnes, according to US officials.

(source:IBNlive.com)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Agriculture Insurance Company of India


Agriculture Insurance Company of India (AIC) is an exclusive organisation set up for implementing National Agricultural Insurance Scheme(NAIS). The company will devise and implement other insurance schemes relating to Agriculture and allied subjects.

Now Agriculture Insurance Company of India (AIC) would come out with a scheme during the coming Kharif season in June in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Karnataka to provide better cover to farmers for crop failures. Thanks to AIC.
(Source: The Hindu)
(More about Agriculture Insurance Company of India (AIC))

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cold Chain Summit-2007

Cold Chain Summit-2007, organized jointly by Ministries of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries in partnership with CII.Besides representatives of industries, participating Ministries and State governments, farmers also participated in the Summit

Union Agriculture Minister, Shri Sharad Pawar argued strongly in favour of cold chain infrastructure throughout the country, starting with pre-cooling facility in rural areas."The economic impact of cold chains will be felt in the villages in more than one way-farmers will get better realization for their produce since the quality and longevity will be higher and pre-cooling in rural areas will create direct and indirect employment leading to overall upliftment of the entire villages which are strong in horticultural production." Shri Pawar said.

Secretary, Agriculture and Cooperation, Dr. P.K. Mishra, who earlier chaired the policy session of the Summit, said that the cold chain infrastructure being envisaged should utilized the benefits of the terminal markets scheme of the government. The road-map suggested by the Summit should lead to a scenario in which up to 20% of the perishable form produce enters the cold chain. This will not only help farmers and the industry, it will contribute significantly to the economy, he said.

India’s cold chain infrastructure will require at least Rs 18,000-20,000 crore investment in the next five years. The industry expects the government to provide 40-50% of the total investment through viability gap funding. “India produces 140 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables and would cross the 300-million-tonne mark in the next five years. An investment of about Rs 18,000-20,000 crore in the next five years would be required to meet about 30% of that capacity,” says Daljit Mirchandani, president, Ingersoll-Rand (India) and chairman, CII Initiative on Cold Chain Infrastructure Development.

(Source: news.moneycontrol.com)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Joseph Curiale


Joseph Curiale is a writer, poet,photographer and a music composer.Today,he is working to improve the lives of poor farmer widows in Andhra pradesh.Joseph Curiale, collected donations from his friends in the US and other countries for the family members of farmers who committed suicide due to increasing debts and failure of crops in Andhra Pradesh.Curiale promised further assistance to the poor farmers by collecting more donations from his friends in the US, Singapore, Malaysia, and other parts of the world.
I appreciate his efforts towards Indian farmer's families. May God bless his endeavours.
(josephcurialefoundation.com)
(josephcuriale.com)
(About Josephcuriale)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Brief note on Farmers Suicides


The crisis small farmers in India face as a result of globalization and government apathy. For the past ten years farmers have been committing suicide in Vidarbha, Maharashtra, Andhrapradesh, and Karnataka as in many other parts of India. More than 1.5 lakh farmers have committed suicide across the country in the last decade due to financial distress, as per government’s report to the Parliament of India.
The main act of this tragedy started in mid 60's with the introduction of the Green Revolution. Earlier, farmers saved their own seeds and practiced organic farming. The money they invested on their farms was very little. But with Green Revolution farmers were asked to buy seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, forcing them to borrow, mostly from private money lenders at exorbitant interest rates. With every farming season their debt increased and over the course of years it led to a loan trap. The second phase of this tragic situation can be directly attributed to 'globalization'. Under the WTO (World Trade Organization) regime, which favors wealthy industrialized countries, the Indian government has eliminated or reduced its support to farmers, while Indian agriculture is invaded by multinationals.
As per National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), nearly half of the farming households in the country are reported to be indebted” The two most important reasons for taking a loan is for “capital expenditure in farm business” and “current expenditure in farm business”. This has a relation with the increasing costs of cultivation, increased need for expenditure in farming and also lack of ability to repay due to adverse market conditions.
Out of the total number of cultivator households in the country, only 27% receive credit from formal sources and 22% from informal sources, as per the Finance Minister of India, showcasing the “financial exclusion” of a vast majority of farming households.
Every farming household in the country on an average has a debt of Rs. 12,585/-.

Monday, January 15, 2007

RBI Helping distressed farmers


I express my heartful thanks to the Reserve Bank Of India.
A recent directive issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to commercial banks should bring cheers to distressed farmers who have been affected by calamities. As per this directive, farmers will be offered a one-time settlement (OTS) of their dues and not only that, they will be offered fresh loans thereafter.The directive is in line with the recommendations mentioned in the mid-term review of RBI’s annual policy for 2006-07. These recommendations are made by a working group constituted by RBI to suggest measures for assisting distressed farmers.
So far it used to be the practice that banks would either reschedule or restructure dues of farmers but such consecutive rescheduling would not improve the lot of farmers. Therefore, for the first time, RBI has asked banks to devise OTS for such
farmers and make them eligible for taking fresh loans.
(Courtecy:expressindia.com)
(Please see the RBI notification)