Saturday, June 25, 2011

AP farmers want to take a brake

We used to see several ways of mass protests; the employees pen down, workers general strike, business men shutdowns, and factory lockouts so on... Sometimes farmers also organize protests on their issues like lack of farm inputs and better price for their produces, but this time Andhra Pradesh farmers want to protest by stopping the cultivation and they want to take crop holiday. This is not according to their wish or whim, the market conditions and the government impudence drag them to take such disgraceful decision.

Crop holiday is not new to Andhra Pradesh, in the year of 2000-2001 tobacco crop season, the Tobacco board also taken the same decision to clear the accumulated inventory. Indeed, the tobacco crop is commercial one and it doesn’t impact on farmers since they shifted to other commercial crops and a few farmers only depend on the tobacco crop. But paddy is a food crop and widely grown by large number of farmers; despite they want to go for crop holiday because of the distressed conditions by market price crash, heavy input and manpower costs and accumulated inventories at FCI warehouses. It seems to be no choice for farmers to overcome the crisis except the crop holiday
India has been lacking with agriculture infrastructure facilities, our food corporation storage houses are bulging with grain stocks of 65.6 million tonnes which the actual storage capacity is 62.8 million tonnes and there is no space for upcoming Khariff crops harvested by September and October. We have lots of grain going rot due to non availability of storage facilities and there is no progress in the issues even after Supreme Court intervened. UPA Government is still in dilemma to take decision on export of excess food grains since they want to support the prestigious National food security bill.

The government agencies are not procuring properly because they don’t have enough storage facilities and some millers are exploiting the farmers and take chance by not paying the prevailing prices since the farmers are in rush to pay their bills and they want to get rid of their debts. The farmers need to have a permanent solution on minimum support price, every time the government announces the price and the millers are not implementing the same. The Food Corporation of India and Civil supplies departments should introduce different kinds of procurement procedures instead of millers’ pride, i.e. promoting IKPs (Indira Kranthi patham) or any self help groups for grain procurements, Inviting private organization for grain collection, storage and necessary terms have to be initiated to control the millers.

Market efficiency depends on marketing infrastructure, there is a massive investment required in storage and processing of agriculture produces, the government has to encourage Public Private Partnership model in grain procuring and storage. We need to apply scientific applications in grain storage to reduce the rotting and wastage and we need to construct innovative storage facilities rather than conventional. I welcome the Andhra Pradesh farmers’ move for taking brake on paddy cultivation; technically it will balance the demand and supply position and it’s a kind of warning to government to fix the farmers’ demands. Let us see... how the government respond and negotiate with farmers because the profound Food security bill is on the way.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Direct Cash transfer is a safety net for poverty

The media and politicians were lampooned on direct cash transfer scheme which was incorporated in Telugudesam party’s manifesto in 2009 assembly elections and political rivals make this scheme as controversial and named Mr. Chandra babu Naidu as ALL FREE BABU. Honestly speaking, I too failed to understand the scheme that direct cash transfer to the poor make the poor become lazy and refuse to work if they get cash for doing nothing. I realized my thoughts were short and the small amount make a lot of difference in their economic lives.

Indeed this is an innovative social policy, it has been in practice from past six years in South American and African countries and some international aid organizations also implementing the same. Providing welfare and social security is the state’s responsibility and the governments have to design the development paradigms to poor people. Economic reforms and liberalization policies are serving their part to eradicate poverty but the change takes lot of time, in the meanwhile welfare schemes are necessary to reduce the pressure on poor and the National rural employment guarantee scheme is the best example for such kind of schemes.

Direct cash transfer to poor households is not like a donation or aid or sanctity or the government is not going to throw the money at crossroads or money is not distributed as handbills. It’s a kind of social security program, identifying the social class and pick the responsible person in the family (mostly homemakers) and transferring the money through banks in certain intervals. It’s a kind of investment to the poor people to support themselves, end to poverty. They can buy good protein based food, can buy medicines, they can send their children to school, they may invest and generate income and small farmers can buy fertilizers or seeds and so on…

In developed countries most of the people are working class, employers or government will deduct the some portion of the amount in their earning and the same will be distributed as social grant. But in developing countries most of the people are working in unorganized sectors and agriculture, they are poor and middle class people, eventually they don’t have choice to get the social grants from their earnings. So governments have responsibility to allocate some money for the welfare of economically poor sections.

According the millennium development goals, reasonable standard of living is became a basic human right and the governments have been working on that direction through reforms or welfare schemes. In developing countries like India, it’s too burden to implement social security grants but eliminating the poverty is our priority. Spending on health, education, infrastructure is important but people need money to access those facilities, so there is a need of social grants for poor.

Poor people are also partial responsible for their own poverty, they should to come out from their dearth and need to improve their standard of living. Ofcourse the welfare schemes are inevitable to reduce the poverty and direct cash transfer is the best among them. I don’t think the little money don’t make the poor people lazy and reluctant to work, everybody has desire to well being and respected, they know how to manage this little money wisely and creatively. Thus, direct money transfer is better for poor, it will help the poor to keep away from their poverty and to lead a gentle life.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I have a dream that one day our Indian farmer hook up the computer and directly market their products on internet. In pursuit of that objective, I developed a free agriculture classifieds portal ( for everyone who ever associated with agriculture. Please look into that and I appreciate your valuable suggestions.