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.