Tuesday, August 31, 2010

HOW THEY KILL POOR FARMERS... (31st August 2010, 0000 Hrs)

Was there really a genuine shortfall in grams and pulses or in that matter food grains in the country’s stock last year? Well, how can it be? Nation’s Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar proudly proclaimed in the parliament that India wastes as much 58,000 crores worth of food grains every year. So the question in everybody’s mind is or should be, why did the prices of food grains rose last year to new heights that the poor man’s dal was snatched away from his plate as the rich relished the delicious dal as their priceless cuisine?

The answer is very simple and not so complicated to understand as it has been projected by our able ministers, be it the AM, FM or even the prominent economist Dr. Prime Minister of the nation. As usual, simple solution to control the market’s price is to create an artificial shortage so that all the rich traders would reap the benefits of the situation and their coffers will overflow in the name of natural calamities, crop failure and what not. However, the poor farmers from both the ends lose to commit suicide – if there is bumper crop, the prices fall and if there is crop failure, his debt will kill him, while the traders and politicians enjoy the situation to stash away more black money in their Swiss Banks Accounts.

Take for example, each time there is an increase in international rates of crude petroleum per barrel, the ruling government, be it Congress or BJP, immediately increases the rates of all the petroleum products to punish the poor so that the few billionaires will make more money from the situation. However, have you ever seen when the international rates fall, there is a long silence and only a small column in dailies will state the obvious and many will not even bother to read that small piece of important information. The government never reduces the prices of the petroleum products when the international rates fall, why?

Similarly, during the sowing season an artificial scarcity of seeds, fertilisers and pesticides are created by greedy market forces so that the poor farmers have to shell out more money to buy their required needs. And when it is time for the harvesting season, government immediately announces that since there is enough buffer stock of food grains, the market is quick to decrease the buying rates of the farmers’ produce, killing them either ways. Honestly, one really doesn’t need rocket science or calculus to understand such a simple reality of life... but then, things are made to look complicated by respective ministers, experts in the fields, market forces and columnists... all hands-in-gloves to force the farmers of the nation to die... if he doesn’t die a natural death due to shocking news, the fear of not able to pay their debts will surely make the farmers hang themselves from a tree or else drink that poisonous pesticides... to let their poor widows and children find means to survive life’s drudgery.

Now that in Vidarbha the rain god has smiled this year with more than 30% rainfall so far, the green fields are blooming to farmers’ delight and prayers to save them from their miseries. However, yesterday when I read in the papers that – “Pulses Prices to fall below Rs.  60/- per kg” – the indication for man-made disaster is all set to rule as it has been since ages as a normal practice for the rich and greedy. And yes, you, I and all of us will have to just pray for the prices to fall, which in no case is going to fall with the ever increasing petroleum products ruling the marquee.

The bumper crop will see the nation exporting pulses and cotton to Western countries at cheaper rates, what with the fall in procurement rates that will be governed by market once the harvesting is done. And once, the buying is over, the farmers will have no choice whatsoever to die in their miseries and destiny. Production this year is expected to go up by one million tonnes in Kharif crops as per Importers Association of India’s President K C Bhartiya. Please read this very carefully, all these while the global prices were higher when the nation was procuring essential food grains from various countries... remember, India exported Sugar at the rate of Rs. 16/- a kilo and at the same time was importing sugar from other countries at Rs.30/- a kilo... when the sugar prices touched Rs. 50/- a kg. I wish to share with you all that my local grocery shopkeeper in Mumbai used to tell me godowns of all the traders were stocked to the brim since the rates were high but the rich traders always created the shortage by giving retail shopkeepers half the quantity of what they demanded... thus the poor customers were and will always be made to shell out more to survive the ever-increasing price rise.

Mr. Bharitya reveals that prices in the international markets have fallen by 15 to 20 per cent in the last two months. Agriculture Ministry Data shows the area under pulses till August 26th 2010 has increased by 22 per cent to 10.9 million hectares because of good rainfall in the country. In the calendar year 2009 – 10 (July – June) pulses production was 14.59 million tonnes and out of that 4.3 million tonnes were in the Kharif season. Wonder of wonders for those who don’t know the fact that India is the largest producer of pulses in the world (and there is no dal available for the poor... who used to eat only dal-roti) and the nation’s requirement is 18 to 19 million tonnes against the current output of 15 million tonnes.

Simple mechanism how they kill the poor farmers of the nation...

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