Saturday, April 29, 2006


The whole world is enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed –

-Mahatma Gandhi

Agriculture has consistently and for long been recognized as basic to India’s economic stability. Our economy has always been dependant on agriculture and our farmers have acted as its backbone. India’s self-reliance is owed to the hard work put up by its farmers.

Much has changed from the days of Green Revolution. There has been a clear shift in the Government policies towards agriculture. The paradigm has shifted from need based farming to greed based farming.

It is known that the condition of farmers barring Punjab and Haryana is not so pleasing. They are the group who faces almost all the risks of economic policies. 61% of GDP is obtained from agriculture; enough debate has been done in this direction. But the question arises is there any initiative being taken from which marginalized farmers can also take some benefit.

The present study takes an overall view of the agricultural policies in India with special emphasis on the effects of these policies on the marginalized farmers.

New seed Bill (2004)

Based on changes that have taken place in the sector since 1996, the existing seeds Act, 1996 is proposed to be replaced by a suitable legislation. Over the years, the following deficiencies have ben noted in the existing seeds Act:

• Registration of seed variety not compulsory.
• Non-notified varieties are not covered.
• Commercial crops and plantation crops are not covered.
• Certification only through State Seed Certification Agencies.
• No provision for regulation of transgenic materials.
• Penalties for infringement are very mild.
• conduct agronomic trials.
• Accreditation of Organizations for certification.
• Maintenance of National Register of Varieties.
• To regulate the export and import of seeds.
• Exemption for farmers to save, use, exchange, share or sell their seed without registration.
• Accreditation of private seed testing laboratories.
• Enhancement of penalty for major and minor infringement.
• Inclusion of provisions to regulate GM crops and ban on terminator seed.

The revision of existing seeds Act is proposed to (i) overcome its present deficiencies, (ii) create facilitative climate for growth of seed industry, (ii) enhance seed replacement rates for various crops and (iv) boost the export of seeds and encourage import of useful germplasm, (v) create conducive atmosphere for application of frontier sciences in varietal development and for enhanced investment in research and development.
The seed Bill.2004 is under consideration. The highlights of the proposed seeds Act are as under:

1. Compulsory registration of varieties based on agronomic performance data.
2. Accreditation of ICAR centers, State Agriculture Universities and Private Organizations to conduct agronomic trials.
3. Accreditation of Organizations for certification.
4. Maintenance of National Register of Varieties.
5. To regulate the export and import of seeds.
6. Exemption for farmers to save, use, exchange, share or sell their seed without registration.
7. Accreditation of private seed testing laboratories.
8. Enhancement of penalty for major and minor infringement.
9. Inclusion of provisions to regulate GM crops and ban on terminator seed.

Trade Liberalization and related reforms on India’s Agricultural Sector and Food Security:

Indian agriculture has undergone significant changes and transformation during the last fifty years. The underlying factors for these changes were different periods. During 1950s and 1960s institutional reforms like land reforms and development of irrigation and other infrastructure played a major role in out growth. Technological breakthrough has been the prime mover during 1970s and spread of technological changes to wider areas and crops has been the main factor during 1980s. the decades of 1960s and 1970s also witnessed high growth in public investments in agriculture which improved infrastructural base for growth of agricultural output in the country in the following decades.

Since the 1980s, there has been a declining trend in public investments in agriculture and a sharp rise in the level of input subsidies. Both these trends continued in the 1990s. Measures have been taken to promote integration of the domestic economy with the global economy. The process of reforms, particularly trade reforms, further intensified since 1995 following implementation of the WTO agreement on agriculture. There remains a lot of concern about the impact of trade and other reforms on the growth rate of agricultural output, food security, nutrition, regional equity, price stability, farm income, welfare of consumers and producers as affected by changes in prices brought about by reforms.

Impact on production

Agricultural production over time is affected by intersecting influences of technological, infrastructural and policy factor. After mid 1960s, Indian Government started interveining in agriculture sector to create favourable environment for exploitation of technological potential. This was done by creating enabling infrastructure through public investments and by policy changes affecting agricultural marketing, production, processing and trade. During the decade of 1980s public investments in agriculture started falling. Despite this decline, output of agriculture sector showed higher groth rate compared to the previous three decades. This could be made possible by spread of modern technologies to wider areas, increase in crop intensity, crop diversification, increased use of technology enhancing inputs driven by market forces and policy support . the decade also witnessed some improvement in terms of trade in favour of agriculture. However terms of trade (TOT) were made highly favourable to agriculture sector during 1990s by hiking level of cereal prices through Govt. support, trade liberalization, exchange rate devaluation, and disprotection to industry.

When reform period is divided in two sub periods viz. 1990-91 to 1995-96 and 1996-97 to 2001-02, which represents sub periods of reform before and after WTO, the growth rates present different picture. It is relevant to divide post reform period in these two sub periods because reforms of first and second sub periods provided different type of economic environment. In the first sub period following 1991, terms of trade became highly favourable to agriculture sector. This happened because of three factors.

(i) Government gave substantial raise to minimum support prices of main cereals (rice and wheat) to bring in some parity between domestic and international prices.
(ii) Agricultural exports were liberalized.
(iii) International price situation was favourable.

After 1995, under its commitments to WTO, India had to remove quantity restrictions (QRs) and liberalize imports. As after 1997 international prices started falling, that started putting downward pressure on domestic prices of most of agricultural commodities. Thus the second sub period during reforms did not remain favourable to agriculture unlike the first phase during 1991 to 1996. this caused adverse impact on growth rate of agricultural output.

Trade and food security:

Since many of the rural poor are subsistence farmers or altogether landless with little or no surplus crop to sell, the higher prices resulting from tariffs become ineffective when times are good and render them completely dependent on food aid during shortfalls. (Food aid often depresses domestic prices, so that even those local farmers that can manage during the bad times benefit less than they should from protectionist domestic policies.)

Food secure countries import more than food insecure countries

Lower barriers – to both developed and developing country markets – can also help countries diversify their agricultural base. Countries with more diverse agricultural sectors tend to be more food secure. Those countries that depend on a single agricultural export face low food consumption (2300 calories per capita/day), high prevalence of undernourishment (36 percent) and a relatively high probability of a consumption shortfall (Table 3). Where agricultural sectors are more diversified, there is a lower probability of such variation. As beneficial as preferential access schemes extended by some OECD countries may seem, they have contributed to narrowing the scope of agricultural production for many developing countries. Though such agreements have offered better market access to certain poor countries for specific products, they have done so at the cost of diversified agriculture. Preferential treatment can also mislead producers into growing crops for which they might not be competitive otherwise, at the expense of other crops. Dependency on a single commodity such as sugar or coffee is a particular challenge for several countries in Latin and South America.

Commodity dependent countries face higher rates of malnutrition.
Per capita food consumption Incidence of undernourishment Probability of consumption shortfall
Single Commodity Dependent Exporters 2314 36% 22%
Non-commodity dependent countries 2285 22% 15%

China 2972 9% 1%

India 2493% 24% 8%
All low income, food deficit countries 2317 19% 16%
Source: Pingali & Stringer, 2003

All policies create winners and losers, including the existing policy environment in developed and developing countries.The losers from the current policy framework—with agricultural trade badly distorted by rich countries subsidies, markets closed by rich and poor country barriers and insufficient attention to the rural poor in developing countries—are the hungry and the poor. The evidence is consistent and overwhelming that reducing distortions in agriculture, increasing
market access, and at the same time creating a domestic policy environment that supports agricultural and rural areas will increase economic growth and alleviate poverty.

The Millennium Development Goals and the Doha Development Round commit countries to reforming their trade and domestic policies in agriculture. This commitment has been made by OECD countries, which maintain high levels of agricultural subsidies and protection against commodities that are vital to the economic well-being of developing countries. The OECD countries must reduce their trade barriers, reduce and reform their domestic subsidies, but if developing countries are to derive benefits from trade reform, they must reform their trade and domestic policies as well. With the long implementation periods foreseen in the Doha Development Round, developing countries have at least 15 years to make those reforms and investments to enable them to take advantage of trade opportunities and to ease the transition. Open trade is one of the strongest forces for economic development and growth. Developing countries and civil society groups who oppose these trade reforms in order to “protect” subsistence farmers are doing these farmers a disservice. But, developing countries and civil society are correct that markets cannot solve every problem, and that there is a vital role for government, for public policies and financial aid. As the Doha negotiators move toward the discussion of modalities, the energies of the international community, developing countries, and civil society would be better used to ensure that developing countries begin to prepare for a more open trade regime by enacting policies that promote overall economic growth and that promote agricultural development. Their energies would be better spent convincing the population (taxpayers and consumers) in developed countries of the need for agricultural trade reform, and in convincing the multilateral aid agencies to help developing countries invest in public goods and public policies to ensure that trade policy reforms are pro-poor.

Trade reform, by it self, does not exacerbate poverty in developing countries. Rather, the failure to alleviate poverty lies in the underlying economic structures, adverse domestic policies, and the lack of strong flanking measures in developing countries. To ensure that trade reform is pro-poor, the key is not to seek additional exemptions from trade disciplines for developing countries, but to ensure that the WTO agreement is strong and effective in disciplining subsidies and reducing barriers to trade by all countries.

Open trade is a key determinant of economic growth, and economic growth is the only path to poverty alleviation. This is equally true in agriculture as in other sectors of the economy. In most cases, trade reforms in agriculture will benefit the poor in developing countries. In cases where the impact of trade reforms is ambiguous or negative, the answer is not to postpone trade reform. Rather, trade reforms must be accompanied by flanking policies that make needed investments or that provide needed compensation, so that trade-led growth can benefit the poor.


• Interview of various stake holders: Farmers / Distributors / whole sellers etc.
• Media Reports.
• Official sources.

The Survey at a glance:

Following villages were surveyed in the Varanasi district:
• Belwa
• Barhi Nevada
• Kaithi

Various stakeholders ranging from the marginalized farmers, seed distributor, Gram Pradhan, dealers of food grains in mandis were interviewed.

Types of Farming:

1. Bataigiri: This is the most prevalent type of farming in U.P. In bataigiri, farmers who have agricultural land and are not willing to work on their land, give their land for cultivation to others on contract. The contract contains stipulation as to the bearing of expenses on cultivation and sharing of the produce. Usually big farmers give their lands to marginalized farmers for cultivation under this method.
In U.P. there are about 25 lakhs bataigiri workers but unlike Bihar, which has legislation on bataigiri, U.P. does not have any Act to regulate bataigiri. Instead the State Government has introduced corporate farming in which the cultivable land will be leased for a period of 30 years to a company. The company will pay rent for the land leased. Environmentalists and NGO’s have expressed grave concern on this issue. Contract farming will have serious implications in the long run. The corporates will use huge
amounts of chemical fertilisers, which in turn will make the land infertile, and will also adversely affect the already endangered bio diversity.

Bataigiri can further be sub-divided into:
(a) Adhiya: As the name suggests, in adhiya, the owner and the cultivator equally share all the expenses on cultivation. They also share the agricultural produce equally.
(b) Kut: In this type of farming the cultivator has to give a fixed quantity of the agricultural produce to the owner of the land irrespective of the actual produce.
Generally the quantity is fixed as 25% of the expected produce.

Types of Farmers:

1. Big Farmers: Big farmers are those who have large fields for cultivation. They employ labourers, tractors and other facilities for cultivation.

2. Marginalised Farmers: They are those farmers who have small piece of cultivable land. They cultivate on their land with the help of their family.They do not employ labourers on their field. Many of them are doing two works together. i.e, rickshaw pulling, weaving, contract labour, etc.

3. Landless Agricultural Labourers: These are those individuals who do not own any land of their own and for earning their livelihood they work on other farmer’s fields. It is a hard reality that more than 90% of the landless agricultural labourers are Dalits. Another fact that came to our notice during our survey is that out of the total number of landless agricultural labourers two-third are women but due to the patriarchal nature of the society the males are only considered as farmers. Many landless farmers are doing contract labour, pulling rickshaw, etc.

Major Crops:
The major crops of Varanasi are
• Paddy
• Wheat
• Pulses
• Vegetables
• Flowers (Marigold)

Market location of selling crops:

generally marginal farmers sell their crops to ‘sahukar’ as they don’t produce so much that mills would take their crops. Only big framers sell their crops to mills. The farmers of Barhi and Belwa sell their crops to sehkari samiti (Badagaon) it’s a godown.

Market price of crops: (Rs.)
Crops Last year Current year
Govt. Private Govt. Private
Wheat 6:00/kg 6:50/kg 790-820 /quintal 8:00/kg
Rice - 5:50/kg 750-900 /quintal 8:50/kg
Paddy 5:60/kg - - -

Price fluctuates according to season, if there is surplus of production price goes down and if production is low price goes up.

Major Risks that Marginalized farmers are facing because of new economic policies:

A Threat on Food Security!!!

1. Use of Multinational Company Seeds:

The various multinational companies have launched their different high yielding seed variety in the market and with the support of distributors and dealers they are misguiding poor farmers to buy these hybrid seeds. It’s threatening the food security of India seriously. These MNC seeds are turning the life of farmers measurable. The gene of these seeds are changed in such a way that it changes the nature of the soil and after using such seeds farmer has to buy the same seeds again from the company as natural seed doesn’t grow after that in the same field because of changed soil nature. MNC’s seeds also require much chemical fertilizers that makes field impotent and farmers automatically comes in the trap of these Multinational Companies. As it doesn’t leave any option for farmers after using these seeds and it becomes compulsion for these farmers to buy MNC seeds as they have very small lands if they don’t use the seeds nothing will grow in that field and their family will die hunger.

To understand and analyze the situation in a better way, various stakeholders were interviewed. A distributor of Pantnagar seeds, Mr. Ashutosh informed that the quality of these MNC seeds is not better than our ‘Sabji Anusandhan Kendra’ but farmers get more attracted towards Multinational Companies because they do good advertisement of their products and distributes free samples in starting before launching there product in the market. So farmers think it’s more beneficial because it gives high yield than the natural seeds and once they use the MNC seeds they come in the trap easily.
A very astonishing information was obtained from him that these MNCs itself buy seeds from ‘Sabji Anusandhan Kendra’ they launch a sample pack of these seeds in the market if they keep 80 seed packets of there company, they mix 20 packets of seeds of ‘SAK’ and distribute to the farmers. ‘SAK’ seeds are made according to the climate of India so it gives better result than the MNC seeds. So the farmers who gets the SAK seeds from sample pack gets good result and those who gets MNC seeds doesn’t get satisfactory result but company spread this massage among the farmer that it must be their fault that’s why it doesn’t give good result and farmers have to believe this when they see other farmers who got high yield using the same seed of same company. So next time they again buy seeds from the company thinking that this year they will get good result. The price of these MNC seeds are also very high than the natural seeds, these MNCs buy seeds from SAK and other local companies at low cost and pack them with their names at high cost. So this is what we called CORPORATE ABUSE.

2. Privatization of Electricity:

Privatization of electricity is directly affecting the situation of marginalized farmers. As in villages electricity doesn’t come properly so farmers have to use generator and it costs them 50 times more. Thus privatization of electricity is also threatening the food security of these small and marginalized farmers.

3. Removing subsidy from diesel:

by the process of globalization subsidies from various items are being reduced or removed. Diesel also comes under these items, and it’s again making the condition of farmers all the more miserable. In the whole process of marketing and the hierarchy from producer to whole seller, farmer is the one who is baring all the risks alone.

4. Bureaucrat’s bias towards corporate:

This year in Varanasi FCI delayed 15 days to buy the grains from mills and in this duration ITC Company bought all the grains from mills at Government rate and selling them at their own price. Sources say this is a nexus between Government officials and the company. So this way these bureaucrats are taking bribe and creating a threat to whole economy of India.

5. Using fertile lands for brick kilns:

In Varanasi, in 20km periphery more than 260 brick kilns are running in fertile fields. The main reason behind this is, the big farmers who are staying somewhere outside the village gives there land to other small farmers on ‘bataigiri’ basis but recently when the President of Bahujan Samaj Party, Mayawati announced that if any farmer is producing grains on a land for more than 1 year will be the owner of that land. “Jo jamin ko jotega boyega wahi jamin ka malik hoyega”. So this made the big farmers insecure of loosing land and they started setting up brick kilns on their fertile land. These brick kilns make lands infertile after sometime and nothing can be grown on that land. So this way many fertile lands have lost their fertility of producing grains and if this could not be stopped right now in long term it’s going to create a threat on food security of India. Many marginalized farmers have also lost their livelihood because of these brick kilns and they have to migrate to different places.

6. Marginalized farmers cannot sell their crops to mills:

The another tragedy with marginalized farmers is mills don’t buy their grains, they prefer big farmers as big farmers sell them a good amount of grains which mills don’t get from small farmers so in such situation small farmers have to go for ‘sahukar’ and sell their crops at unreasonable low rate and after sometime when they again go to buy grains from these ‘sahukar’, they sell them the same grain at high price.

7. Problem of Irrigation:

farmers are facing a great problem of irrigation. As most of them have small scattered lands so it becomes difficult to irrigate them at one time because electricity is not available all the time and very few of them have their own pump set. They have to buy water from others, they pay Rs. 10-15/-per hour for the water and if they use generator in the absence of electricity they have to pay Rs.60/- per hour so for small farmers it becomes a pathetic condition. Still many of them are dependent on rain.

Other problems of farmers:

8. Unawareness:
The one of the major problem with the farmers is their unawareness. They are not aware of the facilities that Government is providing them. In Belwa it was found that only 2-3% farmers are using credit card and many of them use this credit for fulfilling their other household needs. So after 6 months when they cannot return the amount they again come in the trap of indebtedness.
Many Indian seed companies are selling their non-certified seeds using the name of Pantnagar seeds Distributors are selling these non-certified single tag seeds in the market and taking good commission from these companies for selling their products in the market. Farmers are being cheated because of lack of information and awareness.

9. Indebtedness:

Almost all the marginalized farmers are in debt. Whatever they grow that is not sufficient for them to manage one whole year with that meager amount of grains and it’s not possible for them to store vegetables for long time and if there is excess production of potato or any other vegetable they have to sell them at low cost and when again after sometime they go to buy the same thing they have to purchase that at double or triple price. The input they give to produce grains or vegetables costs much more than the output they get. So in such situation they have to take loans from the ‘sahukar’ for the preparation of next crop.

10. Migration:

Many of these marginalized farmers and landless have migrated to other states or cities in search of livelihood.
*** Contract Farming: In this type of farming the corporate buy the lands from farmers and bear all the expenses of farming to have the crops produced by these farmers. They give chemical fertilizers and use multinational company seeds in their fields to get a high production from the field. After completing contract they leave the infertile field back with the farmers. The present U.P Government is planning to introduce contract farming without assessing its overall impact on the land and farmers.

11.Cash crop farming: facts!!

Some farmers have realized that cultivation of wheat and paddy is no more yielding profits, they have shifted to cash crops like medicinal and aromatic plants many of them are also doing Horticulture. Traditional farmers are bearing all the risks of Government policies.Government policies have given no respite to even those farmers who have shifted to horticulture. When we spoke to one such farmer (Vallabh) in Kaithi he expressed his annoyance with the Government policies.
Farmers like Mr. Vallabh are shifting to cash crops as they have understood that cultivation of wheat and paddy is no more profitable. Mr. Vallabh first tried his hand in growing husks, which is used by companies in ‘isabgol’ – an ayurvedic medicine for constipation, but he realized that his produce was getting much lower price then what the market price was.
Then he started growing medicinal and aromatic plants like citronella and lemon grass. Soon he realized that the there was no help coming from the Government in this area also. For medicinal and aromatic plants Government has set up a Central Institute for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) in Faizabad for testing the quality of the oil extracted from the produce but like all other Government departments the attitude of the authorities is uncooperative. While the private companies like Perfumers India Private Limited takes few minutes in testing a sample, CIMAP takes around 2 months to test a sample. Private companies make payments immediately whereas payment on sale to Government agencies may take months.
The leaves of citronella plants give citronella oil on distillation. This oil can further be fractionally distilled to break it into 16 compounds, one of them being six hexanol oil.
In 1 litre of citronella 13-14ml of six hexonal is found. which is sold at Rs 3000/litre in international market. It is found in very small quantity so generally companies don’t give that part to the farmers. But there are a lot of farmers who bring citronella leaves for fractional distillation so this way a good quantity they store with themselves and sell at high price.

The fractional distillation process requires a distillation plant, which costs around Rs 20 thousand. The small farmers cannot afford such huge expenditure and there is no Government agency to distillate this oil and give them their rightful due. As a result the farmers are forced to sell citronella oil to private companies at a price of around Rs 275 per litre.
Some farmers have shifted to horticulture growing flowers and vegetables but the problem with cultivating flowers is that there is no assistance from the Government in this regard and the demand for flowers fluctuating. Moreover if the flowers are not sold immediately they wilt and the farmer has to incur losses.

Reasons for Shifting to Cash Crops:

• Increase in price of diesel.
• Seed monopoly of multinational companies.

Traditional Farming: “Shifting towards compost”

Farmers have now realized the after effects of using hybrid and terminator seeds, how it changes the soil nature and makes it impotent. So they are again getting inclined towards compost ( green fertilizer) for saving their lands. They have understood that using natural seeds is a good and only option for them now because these MNC seeds require a lot of chemical fertilizers which gradually reduces the field potency. And after using these seeds in the field a natural seed doesn’t grow in that field again and every year the quantity of chemical fertilizers have to increase to produce something in that field because each time soil reduces its potency.

Impact of Green Revolution:

The use of high yielding variety seeds and shift to cash crops destroyed traditional farming.
The disastrous effect of these measures was felt in the long run and it includes the following:
• Crop yields decreased.
• Soil fertility declined.
• Dependence on chemical fertilizers increased.
• Ecosystem severely damaged.

Effect of Globalization and Liberalization:

The NDA Government had removed the quantitative restriction on the import of agricultural products. Subsequently the western countries had increased subsidy on the agricultural produce in their country. As a result of this imported fruits and vegetables have flooded Indian markets and there has been decrease in price of Indian produce.

Effect of Privatization:

• Fertilizers: Public sector companies produced one-third of the fertilizers used in Indian agriculture. Due to privatization and reduction in subsidies the prices of fertilizers have increased considerably.
• Price rise in pesticides.
• Electricity charges have also increased.
• Water/Irrigation: The most important thing for a marginalized farmer is availability of water for agriculture. With privatization irrigation equipments have become dearer.
• Multinational dairy farms

Plant Variety Protection and Farmers Rights Act:

India adopted Plant Variety Protection and Farmers Rights Act. It provides for registration of new plant varieties instead of allowing plant patents. It also secures the right of the farmers to save and reuse or exchange the seeds of the protected varieties as well as the breeders right to use them for development of new varieties. However the controversial Seed Bill is likely to undo some of the farmer friendly provisions.

Idea of Futures Trading - A mockery of the marginalized farmer:

In the present era of economic liberalization, the Union Ministry of Agriculture is asking farmers to take on futures trading in commodities so as to get higher prices for their produce. At a time when more than 16,000 farmers have committed suicide in the last few years throughout the country, the government's intention to introduce futures trading in rice, wheat and other commodities shows the complete bankruptcy in finding alternatives.
In India, the average land holding size is 1.47 hectares, and only five to ten per cent of the farming population has land holdings exceeding 4 hectares. To expect these farmers, who continue to survive against all odds year after year, to go online and trade seems to be a wild imagination of a stockbroker that has been accepted by apathetic official machinery.

Government Policies and Negligence:

• The Government has introduced whole lot of national laws and policies on agriculture to make India WTO compliant but it has failed to adequately protect the interest of our farmers.

• Irrigation policies are being implemented according to the whims and fancies of the irrigation department.
• Maintenance of canals is poor because of which a lot of water is wasted due to percolation from the canals.
• Tube wells have not been bored deep so they are running dry.
• Erratic electricity supply has also affected the running of the tube wells.
• Increased use of machines has also affected the availability of fodder for farm animals.


• Government should take proper action to stop the marketing of non- certified seeds.

• Subsidy should be given on agriculture-concerned items.

• Using fertile lands for brick klin should be stopped immediately.

• Such type of technology should be promoted that can help small farmers. i.e, small tractors so that it can be used in small fields.

• Natural local seeds should be preserved.

• Seed policy should be pro farmer.

• The provision in the proposed Seed Bill relating to the use of GM (genetically modified) seeds should be done away with.


Marginal farmers account for 90% of the total agricultural sector. In the past few years it is estimated that the Indian farmers have lost Rs 1.16 crores per year due to the fall in the prices. Incidents of farmers committing suicides are on the rise and the situation is alarming. Farmers' suicides will end only when we are willing to confront the real villain - the misplaced faith in industrial farming.

Blindly aping the World Bank model of agriculture, Karnataka and Andhra had pumped in huge finances to push an industry-driven agriculture that has not only exacerbated the crisis leading to an environmental catastrophe but also destroyed millions of rural livelihoods.

No one has the political courage to point a finger at the real villain - the industrial farming model that shifts the focus on cash crops and thereby plays havoc with sustainable livelihoods.

The ground realities are far removed from the rhetoric and the statistics that have bred immunity against compassion. We are all part of a global food system, which perpetuates poverty and deprivation. The food industry makes tall claims of churning out nutritious diets, and millions are dying of obesity and related problems. The claims of improved technology for agriculture ignore the stark realities - increasing indebtedness, growing poverty, resulting in human suffering and hunger. Our 'solutions' are really the causes for the problems in the first place; and behaving like an ostrich is not going to eclipse hunger and death from the politico-economic radar screens.
Policy makers, agricultural scientists, academicians and even the civil society groups must first accept the fundamental flaw that forces farmers to their deaths - the misplaced idea that industrial farming can be successful in a nation where the majority of the population makes its livelihood off the land under conditions of extreme inequity. Economic gimmicks like announcing free electricity and enhancing bank credit are like the proverbial Emperor's clothes.
The time is ripe that the Government of India starts appreciating the immense potential inherent in organic agriculture and abstains from opening the Pandora’s box of genetic engineering on the pretext of triggering a second green revolution in the country.


Marginal Farmers under debt

Name Village Debt
Halla Barhi 40,000/-
Durgawati ,, 4,000
Ramkhelawan ,, 2,000
Santraj ,, 2,000

For Marginalized farmers

Cost of cultivation of paddy on 1 Bigha land:
Item Amount (in Rs.)
Seeds 350
Fertilizers 500
Irrigation 300
Pesticide 200
Total 1350

Approx. produce =9 quintals
Government rate =Rs. 550 per quintal
Profit on selling =550*9= Rs. 4950
In case of marginalized farmer ploughing, harvesting etc. is done by himself.
In reality the produce is not sufficient to meet his own need or cover the cost of his labour, which is not included here.

For big farmers
Total expenditure: (Crop: paddy, Land: 1 bigha)

Preparing field for nursury Rs. 200/-
Ship keeping (Rs. 1/- for one ship) Rs.100/-
Compost Rs.100/-
Ploughing field Rs.100/-
Irrigation Rs. 60/-
Again ploughing field Rs. 100/-
Fertilizer Rs.100/-
Hybrid seeds Rs. 1060/-
Irrigation Rs. 100/-
Field preparation Rs. 500/-
Irrigation Rs. 150/-
Labour (20) Rs.1200
Fertilizer Rs.1000/-
Weediside Rs.2000/-
Harvesting Rs.1200/-
Threshing Rs.1200/-
About 12 quintal paddy will produce
from 1 bigha land

Rs. 9070/- (approx)

Govt. rate of paddy is Rs.560/- per quintal
12*560= Rs. 6720/- income
Thus, selling price doesn’t cover the production cost.

Stages of Seed Production
Nucleus Seed

Breeder Seed

Foundation Seed

Certified Seed
Breeder Seed to Foundation Seed
1. Obtaining allotment of Breeder seed from G.O.I., ICAR and G.O.U.P.
2. Lifting Breeder seed from allotted institutes.
3. Quality Testing to ensure full quality control before releasing to farmers.
4. Distribution to identified growers for producing foundation seed.
5. Field inspection of foundation seed growers by the expert monitoring team.
6. Arranging rouging, plant protection measures etc.
7. Arranging field inspection by Certification Agency.
8. Collection of field samples from the inspected & approved fields for quality testing.
9. Processing raw seed of duly inspected & approved fields.
10. After processing, sampling by Certification agency.
11. Packing and storage.

Foundation Seed to Certified Seed
1. Production of own foundation seed through Breeder seed obtain.
2. Lifting foundation seed from the allocated/producing institutes.
3. Quality Testing before releasing to farmers.
4. Distribution to identified growers for producing Certified seed.
5. Field inspection/monitoring of Certified seed growers.
6. Ensuring rouging, plant protection measures, cultural practices etc.
7. Arranging field inspection by Certification agency.
8. Collection field samples from the inspected fields. Intake of inspected field samples at Processing plant for quality testing.
9. Processing raw seed of inspected & approved fields.
10. After processing, sampling by Seed Certification agency.
11. Packing and storage.

1. G.O.I Notified Seed Testing Laboratory equipped with all the modern seed testing equipment.
2. 20000 seed sample testing capacity in a year.
3. Adequately qualified staff.
4. Sampling done.
(a) At Breeder seed procurement.
(b) At field level of Foundation seed, Certified seed plots.
(c) At processing plant before actual processing.
(d) At packing level.
(e) Random sampling at all levels for ensuring compliance.
(f) Random sample inspected by Central Seed Laboratory G.O.I for Quality Assurance.
5. Vigorous field inspection and monitoring by the Expert team.