Jul. 27, 2012
Indian Organic farming experts launched a scathing attack on central and state governments for promoting the fertilizer and pesticide companies at the cost of farmers. The five experts said that even though there was clear evidence that use of pesticides was the basic cause of agrarian crisis, government was encouraging farmers to use more of it.
G V Ramanjaneyulu, executive director of Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA), told that 10 lakh farmers living in 10,000 villages are doing organic farming in 35 lakh acres without using chemical pesticides and fertilizers with the help of Andhra Pradesh government. "These farmers are earning far more than what they used to when they were using chemical fertilizers. In last fiscal year, Bihar had a record production of rice and potato using organic farming. This is a clear evidence that organic farming does not reduce production."
Ramanjaneyulu further said that several studies had pointed out that the use of chemicals have poisoned food and groundwater. "There are 67 pesticides that are banned in all countries except India."
The expert further pointed out that while use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers increased the cost of production, the price of crops was not increasing. "As a result farming is no longer a sustainable occupation."
Ramanjeyulu pointed out that the price of fertilizers was increasing every year. "In 2008 a bag of phosphate costed Rs200 but now it is Rs1,200. But the government has not increased the subsidy."
M S Kairon, ex-chairman of Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) said that Indian government was promoting US pattern of agriculture without giving a thought. "The total cost of cotton produced by US last year was $3 billion. Against this US government gave a subsidy of $4 billion to farmers. What more evidence does our government need," he asked.
Agricultural expert Ramesh Thakre said that there was an acute shortage of fertilizers in the country. The government was simply not considering this fact. Manohar Parchure, member of Organic Farmers' Association, said that world would run out of Phosphorus and Potash in another twenty years. "Unless we start planning from now, a switchover at the last moment won't be possible." Datta Patil, director of social organization YUVA and farm activist Kishor Tiwari also highlighted the plight of farmers caused as a result of excessive use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.