Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Mr.Nicholas Parke of In Motion Magazine, an on line magazine from United states interviewed me when I was in Maputo, Mozambique last year attending La via Campesina convention. My views are now published in the magazine and available on line. Please follow the links to read my views.
Also you can reach several other interviews from the conference from this page (still a few more to add):
Fall in crop area to hit sugar
21 Jan 2009, 0114 hrs IST, Jayaraj Sivan, TNN
CHENNAI: Sugar production in Tamil Nadu is likely to fall by a whopping two lakh tonnes in the current season October 2008 to September 2009
going by the estimate of the office of the commissioner of sugar.
Sugarcane cultivation, which is normally carried out in more than six lakh acres across the state, has fallen by 60,000 acres this year. Farmers in Tamil Nadu
are aggrieved that when their counterparts in Gujarat, Orissa and several other states get more than Rs 1,500 per tonne for sugarcane, they are forced to sell their crop at Rs 1,050 per tonne - the state advisory price (SAP) fixed by the government. Also, while the cooperative mills buy sugarcane at SAP, private mills are not bound by this price. They need to pay only the statutory minimum price (SMP) of Rs 811.8 per tonne fixed by the central government.
It is a different matter that most private mills pay farmers more than the SAP up to Rs 1,270 per tonne to encourage them to continue cultivating sugarcane. Over the years, there has been a steady fall in the number of farmers taking to this crop, said S Kannaiyan, organizing secretary of Tamil Nadu Farmers' Association.
On the ways to deal with the problems that plague this sector, Kannaiyan said, "To make sugarcane cultivation economically viable, farmers should be paid at least Rs 1,500 per tonne. Next, the mills should accept the yield in the 11th month of cultivation, when it gains maximum weight. And finally, the mills should make payments the moment they receive the produce. In Tamil Nadu, many mills delay the procurement by five to six months. Hence, farmers are not able to harvest and replant in time. Also, some mills delay payments. There are mills which owe farmers up to Rs 40 crore. Because of all these, many farmers have given up cultivating sugarcane."
Atulya Misra, commissioner of sugar, said, "We expect a fall in sugar production this year because sugarcane yield is likely to fall from last year's 223 lakh tonnes to 183 lakh tonnes in the current season. In the previous years, we used to get complaints from farmers that sugar mills were delaying accepting their produce. But we do not foresee that problem this year, primarily because sugar mills will be struggling to achieve their full capacity production owing to short-supply of sugarcane."
On the delay in payment by some private mills, Misra said, "As regards private mills, we can only ensure that they pay the SMP. If they do not make the payment within 14 days of accepting sugarcane, we can take action against them. We do not get any such complaint. But if any mill offers farmers a price higher than the SMP, and delays payment of the differential price what is promised over and above the SMP - we do not have powers to recover that."
Lift curbs on sugarcane movement, demand
21 Jan 2009, 0104 hrs IST, Jayaraj Sivan, TNN
CHENNAI: Sugarcane farmers in Tamil Nadu are demanding that the restrictions imposed on the movement of their produce within the state be lifted.
Tamil Nadu, like many other states, has been restricting the movement of sugarcane by creating a command area for each of its 37 sugar mills. Maharashtra is the only one allowing free movement of sugarcane within its territory. Restrictions are imposed to ensure that farmers who cultivate in a particular command area do not take their produce to another command area. This is aimed at ensuring full capacity utilization of every mill. To implement this, the commissioner of sugar issues periodical notifications.
As per a recent notification, even farmers who have not registered with sugar mills should first approach the mills to sell their produce. The mills can purchase them in order to achieve 100% capacity utilization of the factories.
In case the mills do not need the sugarcane produced by farmers, they are authorised to issue a no-objection certificate (NOC) to move the commodity out of their command area (jurisdictional boundary stipulated by the government) to another mill. But the NOC has to be issued within 14 days of the farmer expressing his desire to supply the produce to the factory. However, if the mills do not accept the yield and also do not issue the NOC within the stipulated 14 days, then the farmer has to seek the intervention of the commissioner of sugar to obtain the NOC from the mill.
Such a regulation will have a catastrophic effect on sugarcane farmers in the state, noted S Kannaiyan, organizing secretary, Tamil Nadu Farmers' Association. He told TOI: "In Erode district, one of the largest producers of sugarcane in the state, about 17,000 farmers who cultivate the crop in as many acres supply their produce to indigenous crushers, who produce country-made sugar. It makes better economic sense too to sell to such cottage industries, because they pay more than what sugar mills give. By asking every farmer to sell to sugar mills, the government is strangulating them."
T Subbu, a farmer in Erode, said, "Many sugar mills do not accept the produce in time. Selling the yield to outside market is the only option left under such circumstance. We want the government to withdraw restrictions on movement of sugarcane as otherwise it will spell doom for the farmers and more people will give up cultivation."
Senior advocate NGR Prasad, who has handled batches of cases relating to the issue, said the Sugarcane Control Order empowered the authorities to impose such conditions on farmers in order to ensure that the mill concerned is not starved of sugarcane.
FAILURE OF MONSANTO'S BT COTTON. BT-TECHNOLOGY FROM MONSANTO AND SEEDS FROM RASI SEEDS.
Monsanto’s BT Cotton crops and the seeds these cotton was sold by Rasi seed company in Perundurai and Gobichettipalayam blocks in Erode district, Tamil Nadu were failed. Nichampalayam is a small village where small and marginal farmers traditionally cultivate cotton for several decades. They cultivated BT cotton this year by sowing RCH 2 BT and Jabardasth –RCH 530 –BT II hybrid seeds from Rasi seed company. These seeds were produced by the company by using Monsanto’s Genetic engineering technology.
Leafs of the cotton crops became red after two plugging and all the plants lodged. The plants dried within a week after lodging. Total yield was only around 5-6 quintals per acre. Farmers met heavy economic loss. Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam complained to Erode district collector on 30.01.2009. Based on our complaint Scientists from Tamil Nadu Agriculture University (TNAU) and Central Institute Cotton Research ( CICR) inspected the failed cotton fields in Perundurai and Gobichettpalayam blocks in Erode District.
The scientists inspected the field on 3rd of Februry, 2009 and submitted a report after 10 days. I have accompanied the scientists during their field inspection. They did not take the soil or the affected plants for the inspection. They asked some complicated questions from the farmers like how many leaves and bolls in a plant and how many bolls were expected by the farmers as yield etc.
The scientists in their report said that the reddening of the leafs and lodging of the plants were due to the deficiency of nutrients in the soil and deficiency of micro nutrients particularly magnesium. They have simply put the blame on the farmers. The report came not as the outcome of their scientific research but their loyalty to their Boss Monsanto, because the University is carrying out researches in favour of Monsanto. TNAU is funded by World Bank. US Aid , Monsanto , Rockefeller foundation etc. These are the institutions and International financial Intuitions funding Indian Agricultural research instructions to transform research in favour of the Transnational Agri business companies.
Here are some of the news coverages by The Hindu
The link for the Hindu news on the failed BT Cotton crop and complaint.
The link for the Hindu news on S.Kannaiyan’s press release.
The link for The Hindu News on the scientists visit.
The link for the Hindu report on the scientists report
For more pictures by Kannaiyan please follow the link.