Elections are around the corner. And similar inwards every elections, farming in addition to agriculture appears to hold out something that the political parties do utter about, but to hold out forgotten shortly thereafter. The election manifestos sure enough utter virtually agriculture, water, livelihood safety in addition to the plight of farmers but during the election procedure itself you lot would take maintain noticed that these issues are seldom mentioned, in addition to other useless issues dominate.
One obvious argue is that fifty-fifty farmers in addition to farmer groups take maintain failed to brand a serious seek to position agriculture on the tiptop of the political agenda. They take maintain tried it hither in addition to at that spot but haven’t succeeded in addition to then far. Come elections, in addition to the farmers forget virtually farming; in addition to what takes over are other politically hot issues, sometimes local issues, caste configurations etc etc. If alone farmers had seen to it that they are non forgotten on the political map, I come across no argue why in addition to how the political parties could take maintain avoided putting farming in addition to agrarian issues on the tiptop of the political equally good equally the national agenda. Isn’t it distressing that world’s one-fourth farming population — 600 1000000 farmers that Republic of Republic of India has — take maintain failed to exercise the democratic procedure to their advantage. Farmers take maintain themselves to blame for the plight they are in.
No wonder, they take maintain been relegated to the bottom of the pit.
Some of my colleagues inwards Andhra Pradesh, led past times Dr G V Ramanjaneyulu of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture inwards Hyderabad, take maintain worked difficult to gain a Farmers manifesto for Andhra Pradesh. This document has been improved upon inwards the procedure of continuous interactions that Dr Ramanjaneyulu in addition to Kiran Vissa, a immature volunteer with Association of Republic of Republic of India Development (AID), had with several political leaders, cutting across political party lines. What I assemble is that at that spot is a full general credence for these proposals.
I am certain the farmers manifesto tin strength out travel the Common Minimum Programme for all political parties. Not alone for Andhra Pradesh, the same manifesto needs to hold out adapted with suitable modifications inwards other States. And of course of study at the Central grade too. I am sharing the manifesto with you, with the hope that you lot volition hold out able to sensitise diverse actors of the civil society, including the politicians. I acquaint below the start exercise of the farmers manifesto:
A Manifesto for Farmers inwards Andhra Pradesh
What farmers wishing from the adjacent government
The fourth dimension has thence come upwards when nosotros should focus to a greater extent than on the economical well-being of the women in addition to men feeding the nation than only on production.
–National Commission on Farmers, 2007.
Five years ago, the farmers of Andhra Pradesh who were going through a terrible crisis, much of which was precipitated past times authorities policies articulated equally Vision 2020, spoke loud in addition to clear through the ballot to convey downwards the Telugu Desam political party that was inwards ability for 2 terms. The Congress authorities which came to ability on the wings of the deep discontent in addition to distress of the farmers has seen in addition to projected itself equally “farmers’ rule” or raitu raajyam. The authorities did select some steps which resonated with the farmer community in addition to provided some relief from extreme distress – such equally gratuitous electricity, loan waivers, occupation guarantee scheme which benefited the agricultural workers in addition to welfare measures targeted at the rural miserable – though these measures left much to hold out desired. At the least, inwards the past times few years, issues related to farmers’ welfare take maintain been given prominence past times the authorities in addition to the media.
However, the reality afterward 5 years of raitu raajyam is that the agricultural crisis persists in addition to has worsened inwards some ways, in addition to the farmers’ deep distress continues. The recommendations of Proj. Jayati Ghosh Commission in addition to Justice Ramachandra Rao Commission take maintain non seen the calorie-free of the day. Farmers’ suicides take maintain continued at an alarming charge per unit of measurement despite skillful monsoons. They take maintain seen the input costs going upwards steeply spell the marketplace toll remains low. Meanwhile, their household unit of measurement living costs including health, instruction in addition to carry take maintain jumped equally authorities withdrew from many of these world services, leaving them at a loss. In short, farmers across the province are inwards despair that agriculture is no longer remunerative, in addition to experience that their children would hold out ameliorate off inwards whatever profession other than agriculture.
The visions for successive governments for agriculture evolution seem to exclude bulk of the farmers. Earlier in addition to electrical current governments suggest to travel into highly mechanized-external input agriculture, based on the analysis that small-scale holder agriculture is non feasible in addition to 50% of the farmers should hold out moved out of agriculture inwards xv years. If 50% of the farmers motion out of agriculture, equally many policy-makers take maintain proposed/predicted, or fifty-fifty 20% of them motion out, at that spot are no feasible option livelihoods available either inwards rural areas or inwards cities which are already unable to care with their electrical current expansion. On the other hand, the growing ecological crisis in addition to resulting climate alter threat take maintain clearly brought dorsum the evidences that small-scale farms practicing sustainable agriculture holds the hope for the nutrient secure future.
The dire province of affairs of crisis has non improved inwards a major agency inwards the past times few years, equally the key underlying problems take maintain non been addressed. Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 comprehensive option vision for agriculture has non been developed which rejects the Vision 2020 formulation. The inquiry looms, “Where do nosotros travel from here?” The concluding elections succeeded inwards putting the farmers’ issues squarely on the agenda but non inwards solving them. Can nosotros exercise the upcoming elections in addition to the adjacent 5 years with a feel of urgency to innovate key policy changes based on a novel vision of agriculture? This manifesto is proposed equally a pace inwards this direction.
Agriculture inwards Andhra Pradesh – the Crisis Continues
We expect at some salient points that highlight the agricultural crisis inwards our midst.
(1) Out of the 32 districts across Republic of Republic of India identified past times the Central authorities equally the worst-affected, xvi are inwards Andhra Pradesh!
(2) In 2005-06, it is observed that 95.48% of the operational holdings inwards the State are held past times farmers who ain below 4.0 hectares in addition to operate on a total expanse of 10.85 1000000 ha (constituting 74.90% of the cultivated area). The number of farmers inwards small-scale in addition to marginal farmers’ category is nether gradual increment in addition to the average Blue Planet asset size is reducing.
(3) 1797 farmers committed suicide inwards 2007, in addition to 2607 inwards 2006! AP stands minute alone to Maharashtra inwards terms of Farmers’ suicides. The number of farmers committing suicide inwards AP during 2004-07 is to a greater extent than than the number who committed suicides inwards 1997-2003. The charge per unit of measurement of farmers’ suicides is 3.24 per lakh of population which is highest afterward Chattisgarh in addition to Maharashtra.
(4) 82% of farmers inwards the province are indebted, out of which 66% is from non-institutional sources, which bear higher involvement rates, are to a greater extent than exploitative in addition to are of course of study non eligible for loan waivers or involvement waivers (NSSO report, 2007).
(5) thirty % Blue Planet has travel saline in addition to unfit for tillage –latest written report of Status of Environment past times Min of Environment (http://www.soeatlas.org/), with many reasons of import are irrigation in addition to high fertilizer use.
(6) Input costs (specially seed, pesticides etc) take maintain risen past times 300% inwards the past times 5 years
(7) New technologies similar Bt cotton fiber take maintain brought novel ecological problems similar decreasing ground fertility, beast deaths in addition to allergies.
(8) Agricultural commodity prices take maintain non increased at the same charge per unit of measurement equally the ascension inwards input costs. The fact-finding commission of Planning Commission constitute that the cost of production of cotton fiber per quintal was Rs.2215 whereas the MSP was Rs.1960.
(9) This year, MSPs take maintain been raised but unless procurement machinery is implemented successfully, the farmers volition non do goodness from the rise. Cotton traders take maintain already declared that they are unable to buy at the MSP (refer to recent intelligence item).
(10) There is an increasing tenancy inwards the province in addition to the tenancy human activity is non implemented for to a greater extent than than 50 years in addition to the tenant farmers do non have whatever back upwards from the government.
Decreasing incomes to farmers: The increasing costs of tillage on ane mitt in addition to un-remunerative prices take maintain permit to dwindling internet incomes for farmers over years.
· The agriculture prices are non fixed taking into livelihood needs of the farmers.
· The rising inflation ever had a double impact on farmers with increasing costs of living in addition to decreasing incomes due to reduction inwards agriculture prices equally a number of toll intervention mechanisms of the government.
· Minimum Support Prices are announced for 33 commodities in addition to marketplace intervention operations be alone for rice in addition to wheat. So farmers growing other crops are left to the mercy of the markets.
· Removal of quantitative restrictions in addition to allowing cheaper imports equally a number of WTO commitments
High External Input based agriculture: The high external input based agriculture production practices take maintain caused heavy ecological in addition to economical crisis.
· The heavy pesticide usage has polluted the soils in addition to H2O across the country. Pesticide residues are constitute inwards all kinds of foods. Studies exhibit that, residues were also constitute inwards alarming levels inwards mothers’ milk in addition to human blood. The needlelike in addition to chronic poisoning is rampant inwards the villages.
· Chemical fertilizers take maintain killed life inwards the Indian soils in addition to H2O bodies. The subsidy burden on chemic fertilizers on the province exchequer has increased to xv % of Indian budget this year. Government is unable to render the needed fertilizer.
· Seed manufacture is completely inwards the hands of corporations with consummate failure of institutions (Agriculture academy in addition to State Seed Corporation) in addition to regulations (Seed human activity is kept inwards abeyance for concluding iv years, cotton fiber seed removed from essential commodities act, however farmers drib dead inwards constabulary firing standing inwards long queues for seeds).
· The Genetically modified crops take maintain brought inwards novel threat non alone inwards terms of ecological in addition to economical crisis but also political (farmers in addition to governments completely loosing control)
· Groundwater grade is decreasing at alarming rate
Skewed Support systems: The agriculture back upwards systems research, extension, credit, subsidies, minimum back upwards prices, marketplace procurement, insurance etc are all designed based on external input based greenish revolution model. The to a greater extent than sustainable practices do non have whatever sort of support.
(to hold out continued)