Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Food Security

the entire bloody issue of the monthly periodical i am reading right now is filled with how we are such a food-insecure and malnourished country and how so many steps need to be taken simultaneously if we want to progress, remove poverty etc etc. how we need to produce more and more food and so on. introducing GMO crops is being sold as one of these steps.


YES India is a malnourished nation. Yes we have failed to deliver even something as basic as food to our people.

BUT if you want to improve that, go forward THIS way. in THIS sequence. do NOT make laws in some ridiculously arbitrary manner, laws which you are not going to be able to adhere to. (food security bill, i am looking at you.)

1. improve your procurement, storage and delivery systems. 40% leakage of foodgrains is criminal negligence. choose whatever you want to, universal or targeted PDS. just make sure you target those who are the neediest.

2. increase total irrigated area. introduce small-scale community managed systems like check dams and rainwater harvesting for agriculture rather than behemoths like the sardar sarovar or river linking projects which end up achieving nothing.

3. increase access to rural credit so your marginal farmer can actually buy that 50 kilo bag of fertilizer he needs without having to sell his soul to a private moneylender. empower SHGs and co-operative networks for the same. teach the farmers how to do it.

4. educate farmers. teach them. train them. give them soil health cards and teach them how to use the same. send them information about weather and soil on their cell phones. improve organic linkages between agricultural universities and marginal farmers.

5. improve electricity and roads in rural india.

6. Take into account changing consumption patterns of people. people will NOT live their lives out on grains. they WILL move towards fruits and dairy products. account for that in your precious calculations.

and FINALLY, once you do ALL of this and yet fall short of you may go for GMO crops. NOT BEFORE.