Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Forum global sur la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition • Forum FSN

Re: Invitation to an open discussion on the political outcome document of the ICN2

Subhash Mehta
Subhash MehtaDevarao Shivaram TrustIndia

Political Outcome:

Support Required Investment for Low Cost Producer Oriented Economies of Scope Ecological Agriculture Systems of each area being Smallholder Rural Poor Producer Community friendly and Abolish Support to the High Cost Market Oriented Economies of Scale Green Revolution Technologies (mono crops) serving only the Large Farmer Interests

Strengths and Opportunities:

‘Low Cost Ecological Agriculture’ will put to work about 60% of India’s rural poor producer communities, ensuring access to their requirement of nutritious food and cash, at little or no cost thus improving livelihood, net incomes and purchasing power and their long term sustainability whilst reducing hunger, malnutrition, poverty, suicides and the effect of climate. In contrast, distortions due to the high cost green revolution agricultural economy which perversely incentivizes farmers to grow wheat and rice (mono crops which have MSPs and subsidies for highbrid/ GM seeds).

It will help boost farm production spread over 12 months, minimize risks with income from non-cereal food items, like vegetables, lentils, fruits, diary, fisheries, energy, production of inputs, etc. This will put a lid on food inflation with 60% of the rural poor producing for meeting their own requirements of nutritious food, value adding to the surplus, if any, for increasing the shelf life of the produce for storage and thus minimizing post harvest losses (presently 40%). MSPs (which have only moved upwards) and subsidies will no longer be required once the producers have become sustainable in the long term (about 10 years) with high economic development and job created through agriculture. An income support programme will ensure that needy farmers are compensated for any loss in income caused during their conversion to the low cost Ecological Agriculture System of their area abolition of subsidies and MSPs.

Weaknesses and Threats:

Conversion to ‘Ecological Agriculture Systems’ of each area from the green revolution technologies incentivized by Government/ NARES mostly followed by large industrial farmers who have benefitted from subsidies, MSPs, etc. are well organized and will protest and there will also be scientist/ political opposition to what will be portrayed as an anti-farmer policy.

Identifying needy farmers for the income support programme will be a challenge as they will require assistance and support for setting up democratic producer organizations/ company (PC amendment IX A of the companies act) but staffed by educated (general practitioners/ MBAs in agriculture) women and youth to take over all responsibilities and risks other than on farm activities.

How to get it done:

Involving the CSO/ NGO working with the producer communities for setting up their PC and staffing it with the required professionals to manage on behalf of the members the Government’s introduction of an Income Support Programme, using Aadhar successfully and then followed by announcement to abolish ‘Subsidies & MSP’.However, the implementation of both these policies could be synchronized in calibrated steps over a period of time, so as to ensure that such a major policy reform is not stalled by the sheer scale of the change. As it will curb food inflation – an issue that pinches the majority – must be used as argument by the Government to persuade public opinion.

Case Study:

New Zealand farmers mostly follow their Ecological Agriculture Systems and are sustainable in the long term (without farm subsidies). This can be achieved in India in less than 10 years provided the required investments are made in Human and Institutional Development for meeting the needs of the rural poor producer communities to correct the wrong policies of the past 50 years: · 

Announcing of a moratorium on export and futures trading ban only after the rural poor have converted to Ecological Agriculture and have access to their requirement of nutritious food and cash.· 

Invest in locally adapted modern seed technology, enabling producers to produce their own seed.· 

Amend Food Security Bill; Government’s introduction of an Income Support Programme for Rural Producer Communities through their PC and reduce coverage only to urban poor through Aadhar for cash transfers.· 

Provide the financial resources for rural producer communities to contract CSO/ NGOs to assist them to set up their PC and staffed with the required professionals.· 

Abolish the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act.· 

Provide funding to allow PCs to manage.· 

Fund/ Aid Integration of allied activities; Water harvesting/ table, energy production/ distribution projects, Horticulture, Poultry, Fisheries & Animal Husbandry.· 

Institutes of Agriculture be converted to serving the needs of education, knowledge, training, action research in the area leaving research to the CSIR institutes.

Encourage Modernisation as applicable to the soil and agro climatic conditions of each area, using hand tools, etc., to improve quality and production