In continuing my analysis of organic farming, GM crops, and a few other issues to inform my next FF article on agriculture, this post lists a few thoughts from various books/articles. If you have a strong views against any of these issues, please let me know.
By digging up boxes of books lying in the garden shed, I've rediscovered my copy of Eco-Imperialism by Paul Driessen (that I referred to here). I'm pleased that a few extracts of his book are available on Driessen's website for me to share PDF extracts with you (I recommend you buy this book which can be obtained in India from the Liberty Institute).
Sharad Joshi on agriculture (GM, etc., etc.)
"Economic reforms in agriculture should include abolition of all restrictions on the movement, storage, trade, export and processing of agricultural produce, and recognition of futures markets rather than the APMCs as default mode of agricultural marketing, supplanting the CACP-FCI-PDS racket." (Business Line, here)
"Restrictions on export and trade, inadequate storage, processing, transport has kept Indian agriculture mired in poverty." (here)
"If India is to develop drought-resistant and salinity-resistant strains, innovations such as Bt brinjal should not be obstructed." (here)
(and other articles summarised at Liberty Institute. Sharad Joshi is spot on, regarding the barriers that are harming Indian farmers).
C.H. Hanumantha Rao on agriculture
(from his article, "Reform Agenda for Agriculture" December 2002, Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies)
Food security: "Procurement price should be set by the market conditions in competition with the private trade." (p.3).
Removal of restrictions: "Restrictions on movement, storage and processing have outlived their utility [In my view these always had very limited utility anyway] and have become counter-productive, denying fair prices to producers as well as to consumers and inhibiting much needed investments in technological upgradation and modernisation in processing, storage and marketing." (p.2)
"The Essential Commodities Act, Agriculture Produce Marketing Acts, the Small Scale Industry reservation, and so on, need to be thoroughly reviewed with a view to abolishing all legal impediments under these Acts that restrict the entry of big private sector, including FDI, in marketing, storage and processing." (p.2)
Removal of export restrictions: "Most agricultural commodities (cotton, onions, sugar, etc.) continue to be under severe export controls and quotas. These destroy any chance of building up a sustained international market. Exporters should have the freedom to enter into long-term contracts." (p.4).
Normal Borlaug on organic farming
You must have heard of Norman Borlaug? The Nobel laureate and father of the Green Revolution – that saved at least ONE BILLION people from starvation. He wrote thus: “There are 6.6 billion people on the planet today. With organic farming we could only feed 4 billion of them. Which 2 billion would volunteer to die?” (here)
Paul Driessen on GM crops
"Over 34 percent of all US corn and 78 percent of its soybeans are genetically modified, as are many other crops". (here)
Greenpeace co-founder and ecologist Dr. Patrick Moore on GM crops
He underscores the “huge and realistically potential benefits” that GM crops could bring “for the environment and human health and nutrition.” He believes that "the war on biotechnology and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) “perhaps the most classic case of misguided environmentalism” in memory." (here)
Dick Taverne on GM crops
"The public is led to believe that GM technology is not only unsafe but harmful to the environment, and that it only serves to profit big agricultural companies. Seldom has public perception been more out of line with the facts. The public in Britain and Europe seems unaware of the astonishing success of GM crops in the rest of the world. No new agricultural technology in recent times has spread faster and more widely. Only a decade after their commercial introduction, GM crops are now cultivated in 22 countries on over 100m hectares (an area more than four times the size of Britain) by over 10m farmers, of whom 9m are resource-poor farmers in developing countries, mainly India and China. Most of these small-scale farmers grow pest-resistant GM cotton. In India alone, production tripled last year to over 3.6m hectares. This cotton benefits farmers because it reduces the need for insecticides, thereby increasing their income and also improving their health." (here)
"In 2001, the research directorate of the EU commission released a summary of 81 scientific studies financed by the EU itself—not by private industry—conducted over a 15-year period, to determine whether GM products were unsafe or insufficiently tested: none found evidence of harm to humans or to the environment." (here).
Gurcharan Das on GM crops
I think this material (and some more that I've read but have no time to extract sections of, for this blog) have confirmed my views developed over many decades, in relation to agriculture, and this should be sufficient to finalise my FF article in the coming week. I am convinced along with Macaulay that "There is only one cure for the evils which newly acquired freedom produces; and that cure is freedom."
Our agriculture sector is BADLY CHOKED BY REGULATION AND MISPLACED ENVIRONMENTAL FANATICISM. I do not see any future for India if it doesn't reform Agriculture – rapidly. More suicides are inevitable without significant reform, as PRICE signals are totally suffocated by an interfering government, making any investment by farmers a gamble, a game of chance.
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