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by Kavitha

Debt-Free, Poison-Free, Integrated, Self-Reliant, Empowering Agriculture: Farmers’ Jury in Bhubaneswar comes up with its verdict

5:03 pm in News by Kavitha

We want and ask for Debt-Free, Poison-Free, Integrated, Self-Reliant, Empowering Agriculture.

We dream of building a Naya Aasmaan (a New Sky), Nayee Dharti (New Earth) and Nayaa Bhaarat (New India). The new Revolution should achieve these, keeping Adivasi, Women, Smallholder, Ecological Farmers at the Centre. This new Revolution should focus not just on the current generation but on future generations too. (This means an immediate attention to restoration of life in our soils). “Surakshit Khaadyann Suraksha” should be the focus of any intervention. The thrust should be on decentralized, participatory planning process – with any appropriate unit (Panchayat or a cluster of villages) that will be manageable. People should be part of such planning and implementation.

For any intervention that is being proposed and taken up in our Agriculture, these should be the express objective. We do not want any Punjab in our states, where there might be an initial phase of growth but will soon end in health, environmental and economic disaster. We do not seek any such wealth from the government. We reject any Green Revolution that rests on hybrid and other seeds, along with chemicals in our farming. This will only increase our costs, affect our health adversely, contaminate all our resources and push us into indebtedness. We seek Seed Independence, with access to and availability of diverse kinds of seeds. We believe that this focus on Rice and Wheat is inappropriate and adequate attention has to be paid to other crops like millets, pulses, oilseeds, vegetables etc. Only then can there be true food security.

The government should not take up any Green Revolution in Eastern India unless there is a comprehensive evaluation, including through Kisan Panchayats organized for the purpose, to assess the benefits and harmful impacts of the earlier Green Revolution, including assessing who has benefited ultimately. We want this assessment to evaluate very clearly what is the connection between Green Revolution (and its technologies) and the current indebtedness and suicides of farmers in India. We want the assessment around food security claims, promises and achievements to be made before proceeding further. Past mistakes from the earlier GR should not be repeated.

We also believe that unless a comprehensive review of all agriculture-related policies is taken up, projects like this BGREI will not support farmers in any real manner. This should include the technology approaches, food security policy, land/seed/water policies, credit policy, marketing policy, insurance policy, fertilizer policy, agri-input price regulation policy, disaster relief codes, social security etc.. Unless policy level failures are addressed, we don’t believe that farmers will find any real progress in the country since right now, most of these policies are in favour of industry and stacked against the farmers, especially smallholder, adivasi, women and ecological farmers. Agricultural operations to be treated as skilled labour work and not as unskilled work. All pricing and other policies should be based on such a change.

WE ALSO ASK THE GOVERNMENT TO CONVINCE US WHY THERE IS A NEED TO INCREASE PRODUCTION TO ADDRESS FOOD SECURITY NEEDS WHEN EVEN AFTER RECORD PRODUCTION, MILLIONS CONTINUE TO REMAIN HUNGRY.

LAND:

Agricultural land should not be acquired and diverted for non-agricultural use. Where there is fertile and productive agricultural land, polluting industry should not be allowed. This is because of the diversion of productive resources to such industry and because such industry leaves its polluting effects on large areas.

Regularise and ensure land titles for all cultivators.

PROMOTION OF ORGANIC FARMING:

NREGA should be utilized for making bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides.

We need to create awareness on negative impacts of chemical pesticides and aggressive promotion of alternatives to chemical pesticides and intense awareness building to shift farmers to alternatives.

Provide a free communication system between organic farmers so that communication can be possible.

We need promotion of such farming through various media.

We need to take resource persons who have come to the Jury to present various alternatives (traditional seed varieties, SRI, CMSA, integrated farming etc.) to the grassroots.

SEED, ONE OF THE MOST CRITICAL INPUTS IN OUR FARMING:

Promote conservation of traditional seed varieties and focus on crops other than Rice and Wheat. There should be more and adequate focus on pulses, oilseeds, vegetables and millets.

We need seed banks to be set up in all villages, controlled and managed by women’s SHGs. We believe that the existing institutional mechanisms available within the government should be utilized for this purpose. These seed banks would facilitate agro-diversity based ecological farming in all our fields.

We reject hybrid seeds since they require more inputs to perform and since we would lose control over our seed.

Three of us, who have heard about GM seeds, we are rejecting these seeds in our agriculture.

FERTILISERS:

Saving ourselves from chemical fertilizers is very important.

We want fertilizer subsidy to be phased out in a time-bound fashion. It should be diverted for investments for expanding organic farming.

LIVESTOCK:

Local livestock breeds should be promoted to expand integrated farming and should also be supported with insurance coverage. Some provision for improving cowsheds, especially for the flooring, so that better use of cow urine/dung can be made in organic farming is important.

Livestock should be promoted so that income and livelihood sources for all rural households are diversified, so that inputs for farming are available without much cost and environmental damage is caused in their use and by improving the livelihoods, land alienation may be prevented.

TENANT & SHARECROPPER FARMERS:

We see all around us that tenant and sharecropper farmers do not receive any support and facilities from the government. We ask the government to identify all such cultivators and extend various kinds of support systems, including ensuring that compensation in case of disasters and other failures accrues to them (and not the landlord in whose name the land is).

AGRI-CREDIT:

We believe that our vision for self-reliant farming would mean that there would be no need to agricultural credit for crop loans for cultivators. However, while the transition happens, we realize that there is an interim period when such support is needed.

When it comes to agricultural credit, cultivators should get simple interest loans (and not compound interest as is the case now), that too for long term (we foresee the need for such loans in case someone wants to acquire livestock etc.). As an interim measure such loans should be interest-free. All MFIs and money-lenders should be controlled and regulated if they do not adhere to this new credit policy too.

FARM MACHINERY:

Every village has to be seen as a Unit and human-driven small machinery suitable for smallholdings should be promoted.

CROP INSURANCE:

All crops should be insured under crop insurance. This should include millets and vegetables. This should include tenant farmers; government should insure all crops. Taluka as a unit is not appropriate in all situations. Therefore, any loss at any magnitude should be compensated. Insurance should cover wild beast problems also.

IRRIGATION:

Protective Irrigation should be ensured for all cultivated land in this country. While arranging for such protective irrigation, care should be taken that no negative fallouts emerge from it. Old irrigation systems should be revived with systematic efforts and investments and we are against big dams.

Groundwater exploitation by corporations should be stopped. Groundwater exploitation should be regulated. NREGA should be used to take care of rainwater harvesting.

SUBSIDIES IN AGRICULTURE:

Benefits from subsidies in agriculture should accrue directly to farmers – meaning, that in the name of subsidizing farmers, other entities should not draw benefits. These should not be diverted to companies, traders and contractors.

MARKETS & MARKET PRICES FOR OUR PRODUCE:

Market prices offered to farmers, including MSPs, do not cover even costs of cultivation. All crops are to be supported with procurement. The government should ensure fair and remunerative prices for farmers.

Haat bazaars should be improved with all facilities including short-term storage. We need cash payment against the stock kept in such storage.

Investments should be made on storage facilities for produce at the village level.

We need support to market our organic produce (this is especially so since the chemical and contaminated produce is made to look attractive to consumers).

FARMERS’ COLLECTIVES & UNIONS:

We call upon all farmers in the country and this region to collectivise themselves so that all anti-farmer policies/programmes/laws may be resisted effectively. Such unions should ensure that there is greater awareness of various happenings and developments amongst farmers so that they may act in time.

Collective farming should be emphasized and promoted.

WOMEN FARMERS:

Adequate recognition to women farmers must be accorded. All support systems should be extended to them and investments should be made to bring them together and build their capacities where required.

TREES:

No tree felling should be allowed anywhere in the country unless it is needed. For each tree cut, there should be two trees planted and reared. Any tree planting in farmers’ lands, including roadside planting, should be entrusted to farmers and rights should remain with the farmer. All kinds of species like fruit, neem etc., should be planted here.

INVESTMENTS ON RE-BUILDING CAPACITIES:

Adequate investments should be made on re-building capacities of farmers to take up ecological farming on a large scale.

INFRASTRUCTURE:

Any village that does not have basic infrastructure like drinking water, electricity, road access etc., should be provided the same.

Appropriate infrastructure (roads, transportation support etc.) for harvested materials to be brought to the market. We need a Kisan Bhawan in each block.

SOCIAL SECURITY:

Pension, Life Insurance, Medical insurance, maternity benefits etc. – Constitutional Right – at least legal right.

CLIMATE CHANGE: (prodded by outsiders on whether they have anything to say on it)

Our diversity-based traditional agriculture, our traditional knowledge and insurance might save us to some extent.

========
JURY MEMBERS’ PROFILES

JHARKHAND

Kaushalya Devi (38 years), SHG leader, President of District Dairy Board, from Dhanwe Purana village, Sonaraithadi block, Deogarh district of Jharkhand. Owns 2 acres of land and has studied uptil Matric. In one part of her land, does only organic cultivation. Grows paddy, wheat, maize, pulses, mustard, vegetables etc., in addition to livestock rearing (2 cows). Part of her land is irrigated through a well.

Amardev Singh (40 years), from Hutukdag village of Palamau district of Jharkhand. He owns 7 acres of land with one acre irrigated by well. He grows paddy, maize, pigeonpea, channa and other pulses, til, wheat etc. He uses chemicals in his farming. He is a Kharwar ST farmer.

WEST BENGAL

Mahadeo Das (38 years) from Khaserveri village in Singur, West Bengal. Used to own 4 acres of land – now has 16 decimels’ land. Grows paddy and vegetables on his irrigated land and takes 4 crops a year. His farming is chemical-based.

Gouri Mondal (40 years) from Indraprastha village, 24 Parganas (South) district of West Bengal. Owns 5 beeghas of land, out of which 3 beeghas is cultivated through organic practices. Her farming is rainfed, where she grows paddy and pulses in a relay cropping system, with the help of 2 farm ponds.

Maino Pauria (37 years) from Bhoorkuda village in Purulia district of West Bengal: No education. 3 beeghas of rainfed agriculture on which they grow paddy, wheat, pulses, mustard etc. One farm pond on the land also provides fisheries. For two years now, she has been taking up only organic farming. She also takes up agricultural labour work in addition to broom-making and selling, poultry and livestock rearing. She is an adivasi farmer.

CHATTISGARH

Anasuya Korram (39 years): From Khondra village in Bilaspur district. Does not own any land herself and stays with her maternal family which owns 3 acres of land, all of which is rainfed. Paddy, chickpea etc., are the main crops grown. Their cultivation is organic. She is a Gond.

Bhagoli Ram (57 years): From Bindra Nawagarh village in Gariaband district. They own 6 acres of land, all of which is unirrigated. The family grows millets like kodo, in addition to paddy, blackgram and other pulses. Their farming is chemical-based.

ASSAM

Dalimi Medhi (40 years), from Phakatpada village, Baksa district of Assam: 10 acres of land – all rainfed and organic. She grows paddy. She is a SHG leader and is educated till Class X.

Satyonarain Das (39 years), from Amayapur village of Baksa district of Assam: 9 acres of land with one acre irrigated. He raises fish and broiler chicken in addition to growing bamboo, betelnut, coconut, paddy. He is the President of All Assam Farmers’ Club and takes up chemical farming. He studied upto Higher Secondary.

BIHAR

Usha Singh, from Sakri Saraiyya village of Muzaffarpur district of Bihar. 5 acres of land, with 3 acres irrigated. She grows paddy, wheat, vegetables, potato etc. She is a graduate and her farming is chemical-based. She is associated with an organization called Hanuman Prasad Grameen Vikas Seva Samiti.

Vidya Bhushan, Bihar: From Sabli village of Gopalganj district of Bihar. 3.5 acres of land which is all irrigated with a tubewell. A socialist activist who was an MLA once. He grows wheat, paddy, potato, pulses, oilseeds, vegetables and mango trees in chemical-based farming. Intermediate Pass.

EASTERN UTTAR PRADESH

Jaiprakash Singh (47 years) from Tadiya village of Benares district, Uttar Pradesh. 5 acres of irrigated land on which he grows paddy, pigeonpea, wheat, greenpeas, potato etc., over 3 seasons. He cultivates with organic practices in 4 acres and with chemicals in one acre. He is also a seed breeder.

ODISHA

Joseph Tete (40 years) of Lepeikani village of Sambalpur district. Owns 4 acres of land, out of which around 70 decimels gets irrigated with a well. He grows paddy, chilli, potato, vegetables etc., in his chemical-based farming. He is from the Kharia community (ST).

Radhika Sisa (about 50 years) of Bapanpalli village of Malkangiri district. She is a dryland farmer – 5 acres of land. She grows rainfed paddy, millets, pigeonpea, cowpea etc. She is a Koya farmer.

============

A 3-day Farmers’ Jury on Future of Agricultural Development & Improvement of Livelihoods in Eastern India, in the context of Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India

Venue- Adivasi Exhibition Ground, Unit-1,

Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Date – 15th -17th March 2012.

DAY 1: MARCH 15TH 2012

10.30 am – 10.40 am

Welcome

Shri Debjeet Sarangi, Living Farms

10.40 am – 11.00 am

What is this Farmers’ Jury and how will it run?

Kavitha Kuruganti, ASHA

11.00 am – 11. 35 am

Presentation on BGREI, its objectives, strategies and plans

Dr K S Rao, Head of Dept – Crop Production, CRRI, Cuttack

11.35 am – 12.05 pm

Translation & Questions

12.05pm-12.40pm

The vision & plan of Govt. of India, with regard to BGREI.

Dr. Satya Vir Singh, Consultant(Agronomy), BGREI & GOI representative

12.40 pm – 01.05 pm

Translation & Questions

01.05 pm – 02.35 pm LUNCH BREAK

02.35pm – 03.05pm

Translation & Questions

03.05 pm – 03.40pm

Chemicalisation of Eastern Indian Agriculture: What does the future hold?

Shri Gopikrishna, Sustainable Agriculture campaigner, Greenpeace India

03.40pm-04.05pm

Translation & Questions

04.05 pm – 04.40pm

Program & Policy of BGREI with special reference to Odisha

Shri Gyanendra Nath Mohanty, Jt Director-Agriculture, Govt of Odisha

04.40 pm – 05.00 pm

Translation & Questions

05.00 pm – 05.35 pm

Folk varieties of rice : concerns with hybrid rice

Dr Debal Deb, Centre for Inter-Disciplinary Studies

05.35 pm – 06.00 pm

Translation & Questions

DAY 2: MARCH 16TH 2012

09.30 am – 10.15 am

Hybrid Rice and its advantages

Shri Ashish Haldar, Syngenta, Kolkata

10.15am-10.45am

Translation & Questions

10.45 am – 11.30 am

Green Revolution and its aftermath in Punjab

Shri Umendra Dutt, Kheti Virasat Mission, Punjab

11.30 am – 12.00 am

Translation & Questions

12.00 – 12.45 pm

Presentation on Fact Finding on Hybrid Rice and Hybrid Maize in Odisha

Shri Debjeet Sarangi

12.45 pm -01.15

Translation & Questions

01.00pm – 02.00 pm LUNCH BREAK

02.00 pm – 02.45 pm

System of rice intensification and farmers’ empowerment

Shri Jagdish Pradhan, Sahbhagi Vikas Abhiyan and formerly, Member, National Farmers’ Commission

02.45pm – 03.15pm

Translation & Questions

03.15 pm – 04.00 pm

My personal experience of changing my agriculture

Ms Meenakshi, women’s self help group member and farmer, Srikakulam

04.30 pm – 05.00 pm

Translation & Questions

05.00pm – 05.45pm

Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture: Experience of smallholder livelihood improvement in Andhra Pradesh

Shri K Ramachandram, official of CMSA/SERP, Andhra Pradesh

05.45pm-06.15pm

Translation & Questions

6.15-7.00

Agrarian distress in Odisha & Second Green Revolution

Shri Saroj Mohanty, Paschim Odisha Krushak Sanghatan

7.00-7.30

Translation & Questions

DAY 3: MARCH 17TH 2012

09.30 am – 10.15 am

Biodiversity based integrated farming for sustainable livelihoods in Eastern India

Shri Ardhendu Chatterjee, DRCSC, West Bengal.

10.30am-11.00am

Translation and Questions

11.00 am – 03.30 pm

JURY INTERNAL DELIBERATIONS

Discussion amongst various participants in smaller groups

03.30 pm – 04.30 pm

JURY’S VERDICT

04.30 pm – 05.00 pm

Overseers’ observations on the entire process

Sashi Prabha Bindhani, Lawyer

05.00 pm – 05.30 pm

Wrapping up

Ms Hemlata Sahu, MSKPP, Chattisgarh

by Kavitha

Farmers’ Jury on “Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India” begins in Bhubaneswar

8:40 pm in News by Kavitha

A 3-day Farmers’ Jury on Future of Agricultural Development & Improvement of Livelihoods in Eastern India, in the context of “Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India”

Venue- Adivasi Exhibition Ground, Unit-1,

Bhubaneswar, Odisha

 

JURY MEMBERS’ PROFILES

 

JHARKHAND

 

  1. Kaushalya Devi (38 years), SHG leader, President of District Dairy Board, from Dhanwe Purana village, Sonaraithadi block, Deogarh district of Jharkhand. Owns 2 acres of land and has studied uptil Matric. In one part of her land, does only organic cultivation. Grows paddy, wheat, maize, pulses, mustard, vegetables etc., in addition to livestock rearing (2 cows). Part of her land is irrigated through a well.

 

  1. Amardev Singh (40 years), from Hutukdag village of Palamau district of Jharkhand. He owns 7 acres of land with one acre irrigated by well. He grows paddy, maize, pigeonpea, channa and other pulses, til, wheat etc. He uses chemicals in his farming. He is a Kharwar ST farmer.

 

WEST BENGAL

 

  1. Mahadeo Das (38 years) from Khaserveri village in Singur, West Bengal. Used to own 4 acres of land – now has 16 decimels’ land. Grows paddy and vegetables on his irrigated land and takes 4 crops a year. His farming is chemical-based.

 

  1. Gouri Mondal (40 years) from Indraprastha village, 24 Parganas (South) district of West Bengal. Owns 5 beeghas of land, out of which 3 beeghas is cultivated through organic practices. Her farming is rainfed, where she grows paddy and pulses in a relay cropping system, with the help of 2 farm ponds.

 

  1. Maino Pauria (37 years) from Bhoorkuda village in Purulia district of West Bengal: No education. 3 beeghas of rainfed agriculture on which they grow paddy, wheat, pulses, mustard etc. One farm pond on the land also provides fisheries. For two years now, she has been taking up only organic farming. She also takes up agricultural labour work in addition to broom-making and selling, poultry and livestock rearing. She is an adivasi farmer.

 

CHATTISGARH

 

  1. Anasuya Korram (39 years): From Khondra village in Bilaspur district. Does not own any land herself and stays with her maternal family which owns 3 acres of land, all of which is rainfed. Paddy, chickpea etc., are the main crops grown. Their cultivation is organic. She is a Gond.

 

  1. Bhagoli Ram (57 years): From Bindra Nawagarh village in Gariaband district. They own 6 acres of land, all of which is unirrigated. The family grows millets like kodo, in addition to paddy, blackgram and other pulses. Their farming is chemical-based.

 

ASSAM

 

  1. Dalimi Medhi (40 years), from Phakatpada village, Baksa district of Assam: 10 acres of land – all rainfed and organic. She grows paddy. She is a SHG leader and is educated till Class X.

 

  1. Satyonarain Das (39 years), from Amayapur village of Baksa district of Assam: 9 acres of land with one acre irrigated. He raises fish and broiler chicken in addition to growing bamboo, betelnut, coconut, paddy. He is the President of All Assam Farmers’ Club and takes up chemical farming. He studied upto Higher Secondary.

 

 

BIHAR

 

  1. Usha Singh, from Sakri Saraiyya village of Muzaffarpur district of Bihar. 5 acres of land, with 3 acres irrigated. She grows paddy, wheat, vegetables, potato etc. She is a graduate and her farming is chemical-based. She is associated with an organization called Hanuman Prasad Grameen Vikas Seva Samiti.

 

  1. Vidya Bhushan, Bihar: From Sabli village of Gopalganj district of Bihar. 3.5 acres of land which is all irrigated with a tubewell. A socialist activist who was an MLA once. He grows wheat, paddy, potato, pulses, oilseeds, vegetables and mango trees in chemical-based farming. Intermediate Pass.

 

 

EASTERN UTTAR PRADESH

 

  1. Jaiprakash Singh (47 years) from Tadiya village of Benares district, Uttar Pradesh. 5 acres of irrigated land on which he grows paddy, pigeonpea, wheat, greenpeas, potato etc., over 3 seasons. He cultivates with organic practices in 4 acres and with chemicals in one acre. He is also a seed breeder.

 

ODISHA

 

  1. Joseph Tete (40 years) of Lepeikani village of Sambalpur district. Owns 4 acres of land, out of which around 70 decimels gets irrigated with a well. He grows paddy, chilli, potato, vegetables etc., in his chemical-based farming. He is from the Kharia community (ST).

 

  1. Radhika Sisa (about 50 years) of Bapanpalli village of Malkangiri district. She is a dryland farmer – 5 acres of land. She grows rainfed paddy, millets, pigeonpea, cowpea etc. She is a Koya farmer.

 

 

 

Date – 15th -17th March 2012.

DAY 1: MARCH 15TH 2012

10.30 am – 10.40 am

Welcome

Shri Debjeet Sarangi, Living Farms

10.40 am – 11.00 am

What is this Farmers’ Jury and how will it run?

Kavitha Kuruganti, ASHA –

11.00 am – 11. 35 am

Presentation on BGREI, its objectives, strategies and plans

Dr K S Rao, Head of Dept – Crop Production, CRRI, Cuttack

11.35 am – 12.05 pm

Translation & Questions

12.05pm-12.40pm

The vision & plan of Govt. of India, with regard to BGREI.

Dr. Satya Vir Singh, Consultant(Agronomy), BGREI & GOI representative

12.40 pm – 01.05 pm

Translation & Questions

01.05 pm – 02.00 pm LUNCH BREAK

02.00 pm – 02.35pm

Our vision for future of agricultural development and farmers’ livelihoods in eastern India

Ms Anuradha Talwar, Paschim Banga Khet Mazoor

Sangh

02.35pm – 03.05pm

Translation & Questions

03.05 pm – 03.40pm

Chemicalisation of Eastern Indian Agriculture: What does the future hold?

Shri Gopikrishna, Sustainable Agriculture campaigner, Greenpeace India

03.40pm-04.05pm

Translation & Questions

04.05 pm – 04.40pm

Program & Policy of BGREI with special reference to Odisha

Shri Gyanendra Nath Mohanty, Jt Director-Agriculture, Govt of Odisha

04.40 pm – 05.00 pm

Translation & Questions

05.00 pm – 05.35 pm

Folk varieties of rice : concerns with hybrid rice

Dr Debal Deb, Centre for Inter-Disciplinary Studies

05.35 pm – 06.00 pm

Translation & Questions

DAY 2: MARCH 16TH 2012

09.30 am – 10.15 am

Hybrid Rice and its advantages

Shri P K Jena, Syngenta, Odisha*

10.15am-10.45am

Translation & Questions

10.45 am – 11.30 am

Green Revolution and its aftermath in Punjab

Shri Umendra Dutt, Kheti Virasat Mission, Punjab

11.30 am – 12.00 am

Translation & Questions

12.00 – 12.45 pm

Presentation on Fact Finding on Hybrid Rice and Hybrid Maize in Odisha

Shri Debjeet Sarangi, Living Farms

12.45 pm -01.15

Translation & Questions

01.00pm – 02.00 pm LUNCH BREAK

02.00 pm – 02.45 pm

System of rice intensification and farmers’ empowerment

Shri Jagdish Pradhan, Sahbhagi Vikas Abhiyan

02.45pm – 03.15pm

Translation & Questions

03.15 pm – 04.00 pm

My personal experience of changing my agriculture

Ms Meenakshi, women’s self help group member and farmer, Srikakulam

04.30 pm – 05.00 pm

Translation & Questions

05.00pm – 05.45pm

Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture: Experience of smallholder livelihood improvement in Andhra Pradesh

Shri K Ramachandram, district level official of CMSA

05.45pm-06.15pm

Translation & Questions

6.15-7.00

Agrarian distress in Odisha & Second Green Revolution

Shri Saroj Mohanty, Paschim Odisha Krushak Sanghatan

7.00-7.30

Translation & Questions

DAY 3: MARCH 17TH 2012

8.30am-9.15am

Vision for agricultural transformation for Eastern India

Dr S S Nanda, Dean of Extension Education, OUAT

09.15 am – 09.45 am

Translation &Questions

09.45 am – 10.30 am

Biodiversity based integrated farming for sustainable livelihoods in Eastern India

Shri Ardhendu Chatterjee, DRCSC, West Bengal.

10.30am-11.00am

Translation and Questions

11.00 am – 03.30 pm

JURY INTERNAL DELIBERATIONS

Discussion amongst various participants in smaller groups

03.30 pm – 04.30 pm

JURY’S VERDICT

04.30 pm – 05.00 pm

Overseers’ observations on the entire process

Prafulla Das- Principal Correspondent of The Hindu

Sashi Prabha Bindhani, Lawyer

05.00 pm – 05.30 pm

Wrapping up

Ms Hemlata Sahu, MSKPP, Chattisgarh

by Kavitha

“HYBRID RICE IN ODISHA: WHAT’S IN IT FOR SMALLHOLDERS?”

8:45 am in News by Kavitha

Criticising the Union Government’s “one-size-fits-all” approach to Green Revolution in Eastern India, which emphasizes the promotion of wheat and rice, and that too (proprietary) hybrid rice, a Fact Finding Team of ASHA (Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture) asked for the budgets for this to be recast immediately, to support sustainable agriculture initiatives based on agro-diversity and farming systems approaches. Terming the promotion of proprietary hybrid rice in these states as a terrible wastage of precious public funds, ASHA questioned the scientific or other basis on which hybrid rice promotion is taking place in BGREI. “It is apparent that the Government of India, with its centralized planning and guidelines is not taking into account local situations and vulnerabilities when it prescribes a particular approach to Green Revolution in Eastern India. It is also apparent that no lessons have been drawn from the failures of, and crises created by, the earlier Green Revolution”, said the Fact Finding Report.

The Fact Finding Report points out to the special conditions and vulnerabilities of rice growers in states like Odisha – rainfed conditions, smallholdings, increasing use of chemical inputs and thereby, costs of cultivation, inadequate procurement and marketing support, high levels of tenancy and the state’s vulnerability to natural disasters and said that hybrid rice promotion in the state of Odisha cannot be done prescriptively without looking into these special conditions.

The Fact Finding Team, after interacting with ‘beneficiaries’ of the government program on promoting hybrid rice and other cultivators, reported that claims about increased productivity with hybrid rice are not turning out to be true on the ground. It is only in the case of big farmers who have resources and are able to take up timely management with optimal inputs that yields could be higher. Further, yields alone cannot be the basis of promoting hybrid rice and a more holistic assessment of promoting this technology is needed. For instance, marketing drawbacks with hybrid rice, seed prices being higher, the fact farmers do not prefer consuming hybrid rice and so on. The fact that smallholders cannot bear the increased riskiness that hybrid rice poses should also be looked into given that a vast majority of farmers here are in fact smallholders.

The Fact Finding report, based on its rapid appraisal in the field, notes that it is clear that hybrid rice holds no solutions for a vast majority of Odisha’s farmers – not in terms of farm economics, not in terms of environmental sustainability and not even in terms of productivity improvements. The report emphasizes the importance of on-farm diversity that will minimize risks for smallholders of Odisha, especially in the face of increased climate variations. ASHA urges the Government of India to stop wasting precious resources on tried-and-failed models of Green Revolution (on worse terms now with proprietary hybrid rice) and focus support on climate-resilient, resource-conserving, farmer-controlled, economically-viable farming.

The report also notes that the state-level SLSC meeting took note of some issues related to hybrid rice in the past (8th SLSC meeting on 3/6/2011). It is recorded that it was suggested that impact assessment should be done taking into account the adoption of hybrid varieties by the farmers at their own cost in the area where the demonstrations were conducted earlier and subsequently discontinued. ASHA’s information from seed dealers indicates an adoption of just 1% in districts like Bhawanipatna. Therefore, the obvious question is: why and on what basis is the Government of India promoting schemes to expand proprietary hybrid rice markets, for whose benefit? The Fact Finding Report also has a Note from Dr Debal Deb, Centre for Inter-Disciplinary Studies on performance of folk rice varieties vis-à-vis HYVs in Kharif 2011.

(Press Release put out on February 17th 2012).

Report can be downloaded here.

For more information, contact:

Debjeet Sarangi, Living Farms: 09938582616
Kavitha Kuruganti, ASHA: 09393001550

Ps: For more information from official sources on “Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India” initiative by Government of India, visit: http://bgrei-rkvy.nic.in/