Why India needs “Ever Green Revolution?”
Why India needs “Ever Green Revolution?”
Provide food security for all Indians: UN body Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) report titled ‘The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015’, reveals that India has miserably failed the objective of Millennium Development goal and barely managed to reduce the number of hungry people from 194.6 million in 2014-15 from 210.1 million in 1990-92. Whereas, India’s arch rival China has stood out with higher reduction than the India, down to 133.8 million in 2014-15 from 289 million in 1990-92. Now, world’s 1/3 food insecure people are in India. Therefore, My first objective is to provide food security to all Indians.
Prevent exploitation of farmers & Farmers suicides: Most of the farmers have small farm holdings and marginal farmers and an average farm holding is s1.6 hectare. They are lonely and there are no farm cooperatives and therefore have no bargaining capacity. They are dependent on local lenders or illegal tradesmen for the investment, who charge hefty interest. Farmers are also forced sell their produce to the illegal tradesmen. Climate change, low productivity, mounting debts, inflation and price rise are forcing the farmers to suicides in large number. Therefore, preventing exploitation of farmers and farmers’ suicides.
Providing right prices for Producers & reduce the cost for consumers: Now the farmers are dependent on market prices rather than market driven prices. Produce passes through average 6-8 intermediaries before reaching the consumers and final price for consumers is sometimes more than 300 – 400%. There is an urgent need to reduce the number of middlemen or bring the producer directly to the consumer to reduce the price for the consumer and to provide a handsome share to the farmer.
Sustain prices of commodities at affordable levels: The price of commodities abnormally fluctuate in India affecting the economy. Successive Governments always struggle to keep the prices under control. One of our objectives is to keep the prices under control.
Prevent black marketing and hoarding: One of the reasons for price rise and abnormal fluctuations are black marketeering and speculation, which artificially create scarcity and in turn price rise.
Increase tax revenue from Agricultural trade: The Government losing a very large amount of money because of the illegal trade at the local level and right now we cannot estimate the amount of tax revenue lost through such illegal trade.
Increase Quality & Traceability: There is no uniform quality control system of Agricultural products in the country and neither the producer can trace the final consumer of the product, nor the consumer can trace the origin of the product. Creating the traceability enhances not only enhances the quality of the product, it prevents the product recalls. An ancient Indian adage says, ‘Dane dane pe hota hai kane walonka nam”, we should trace each and every grain grown to ensure quality and prevent wastage.
Prevent wastage of agricultural products (food): About 6 – 15% of the Agricultural products are lost during handling and transit and also FCI Godowns. In 2014 – 15 alone 40,000 million tons of food grains have gone down the drain in FCI godowns. Grains saved is grains earned.
Increase Efficiency of Agriculture markets: India has one of the most un-organized Agricultural markets. While APMCs act like a one big Government run monopoly, an even larger illegal market at the local levels prevents Agriculture related trade taxes reaching the Government. In the current scenario, the farmer cannot bargain for a better price for his produce.
Harness co-operation with World markets: Food and Agriculture is a matter of prime importance and every country provides a major priority to this sector. There is a large variation of prices across the world which will have a major economic impact and developing and poor countries.
Increase exports of agricultural products: Exports of six key agricultural products, including tea, spices, and tobacco, have registered negative growth in 2014-15, mainly due to declining competitiveness of Indian products in the international market in terms of prices and a variety of goods. India’s exports dipped deeper into the negative zone, recording a decline of 21 per cent in March, the biggest fall in last six years, pulling down total shipments for 2014-15 to $310.5 billion, missing the $340 billion target. In May 2015, India’s merchandise shipments dipped by 20.19 per cent in May to $22.34 billion. During the last four financial years, India’s exports were hovering at around $300 billion. During 2014-15, exports of tea, spices, and tobacco declined by about 16 per cent, 1 per cent and 5.2 per cent, respectively, according to the Commerce Ministry data. Other products which have reported negative growth Include cereals (27.33 per cent), oil meals (52.73 per cent), fruits and vegetables (8.85 per cent).
Become WTO Compliant: The agricultural sector is India’s most vulnerable sector. With the livelihood of around 650 million people in the country being dependent on agriculture, India’s interests in the negotiations on agriculture are mainly defensive. India’s offensive interests lie in reducing the heavy subsidization in developed countries.
India’s interests in agriculture have always been dictated by the need to safeguard millions of small farmers who operate the majority of farm holdings in the countryside. Agriculture determines the very social fabric of India and is more a way of life and means of livelihood than a question of commerce. Further, India has 25 agroclimatic zones that, on the one hand, provide diversity to crop cultivation and, on the other, make crop rotation within a farm extremely difficult. Given these complexities in agriculture, India has essentially defensive interests in agriculture. India’s bound rates and applied agricultural tariffs are among the highest in the world.
While India’s negotiating strategy has been defensive, in general, there are several products in which it may have an export interest. These include cereals, meat, dairy products, some horticultural products, and sugar, which may see a growth in export opportunities with reductions in tariff. India’s negotiating strategy should also be cognizant of the export opportunity that may be unleashed in the processed food sector, which has seen significant growth over the past few years. It is here that the decision at Hong Kong to eliminate export subsidies by 2013 assumes importance.