The first consultation of the National Commission on Farmers was on cotton, where we brought together the farmer and the user. Our aim was that everyone in the cotton sector should prosper.
|M S Swaminathan |
Chairperson,National Commission on Farmers
Since small farmers are involved in cotton farming, the economics will not work, unless the productivity is increased. Research must ensure that farmers in rainfed areas benefit. So, the challenge is to magnify the power of very small producers through collectives. We also need to change our import-export policies so that this linkage improves.
|Vijay Jawandhia |
Nagpur-based farmer leader;
one of the founders of Shetkari Sangathana
The problem in the cotton trade is that the industry, and not the farmers, dictate prices and policies. There have been instances when international prices were high and cotton exports were banned and when global prices came down, imports were liberalised.
I want to explain why suicides by cotton farmers were noticed after 1994. That was the time when the World Trade Organization regime started. The rupee was devalued, petroleum prices increased. In globalisation’s first phase, our low-cost economy became a high-cost economy. The fifth-pay commission saved our salaried class. But no commission was set up to increase remuneration for farmers.
Your (background) paper has rightly cited the example of China. We follow Chinese policies in almost every area. But why don’t we provide the kind of protectionist measures China provides to its cotton farmers? We appreciate that textile prices have to be competitive, but not at the cost of the farmer.
|C D Mayee Chairman, |
Agricultural Scientists’ Recruitment Board
While talking about the research agenda, too, we need to be very critical. For example, is their any necessity for the public sector to develop Bt genes? Or, for that matter, hybrids? We have the same old hybridisation programme, the same fertiliser agenda.
| Gujarat’s productivity has increased from just over 175 kg per hectare (ha) in 2000-2001 to more than 722 kg per ha in 2005-2006, the highest in the country. If we all accept that the so-called illegal Bt has worked this wonder, which has made Gujarat’s farmer wealthier by Rs 5,000 crores, why are we banning Navbharat-151 (the strain that brought about the cotton revolution in Gujarat), while releasing varieties that farmers grow to commit suicide. |
| The cotton requirement for a shirt is 5 to 20 grammes, so paying a higher price to the farmer won’t really hit the textile industry. In fact, with increased exports more profit can be earned and shared. |
Our research agenda has not changed in the last 20 years. We need drastic changes now.
|G V Ramanjaneyulu |
Executive director, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture
But in India, 16 million farmers producing cotton get hardly us $10 million in subsidies. How can they adopt the same technology? This is the fundamental question. Today, the shirt I am wearing or the food you eat
- Despite ban, HTBT cotton widely cultivated in Maharashtra
- Climate change blamed for Pakistan’s steep drop in cotton production
- Farmers’ association demands compensation for crop damage
- Maharashtra launches survey on wet drought in Vidarbha
- World Environment Day 2013: Environment pays as state goes heavy on industrialization
- Bt Cry toxin expression profile in selected Pakistani cotton genotypes