Corporate Farming: Sabotaging a System

(Dr. krishan Bir Chaudhary)

It is outrageous and totally unacceptable. Thinning out of the euphemistic smoke screen reveals the ugly face of the sinister design of the agri-business multinationals and corporate houses to cast their gripping hold on India's farmland.

Colossal and enormous loss that will be inflicted by contract or corporate farming on our traditional agro-system, social-cultural ethos, growth factors, biodiversity and the eco-system is beyond comprehension, making it absolutely difficult to reverse the situation. Sabotaging and dismantling a system that sustained the life and times of a vast majority of our polity and provided sustenance to the agro-rural segment of our society for centuries will usher India into a state of economic subjugation.

Alluring unsuspecting simple farmers by eulogizing corporate farming as the panacea for their socio-economic emancipation, the corporate sector will fasten their grip on India's farmland, turning the source of sustenance and livelihood for the peasantry into a market driven entity.

Farmers leasing out their land on contract to the corporate sector will get reduced to the status of bonded wage earner in their own farm. Small and marginal farmers having less than two acres of land holding, facing various natural and man-made constraints, still manage to sustain their livelihood from their family farms.

It is highly erroneous to think that market driven commercial venture like corporate farming can ever be trusted as a dependable source of a rewarding venture to the farmers. Diabolical policy on the issue will further debase the agro-rural segment.

The situation in the countryside is already extremely dismal and the policy back-up to promote corporate farming which is not at all compatible to our traditional farming pattern, will in course of time devastate a system that is still alive and contribute significantly to country's economic growth and development.

Growth and development of agriculture should be all about sustainability, self sufficiency and self-reliance. But policies being pursued defies all logic and reflect cynicism that despite abundance of resources, India has been destined to become a food importing nation. Something seems to have seriously gone wrong.

There is urgent need for the policy makers to peep into the causes of failures and re-fixing of priorities by bringing agriculture in the center stage of economic growth and development, otherwise the way we are moving, nothing can check us from becoming a satellite nation. Just a very pertinent question that must be put to those who are not the least-concerned over the growing command of multinational agri-business companies on seed trade in the country.

Seed the basic input but exorbitant price charged by MNCs has made it unaffordable and inaccessible for our small and marginal farmers. But perhaps revitalization and reactivation of public sector seed companies are not the priorities of our policy makers.

Corporate farming howsoever luring it may seem to be, but ultimately it will prove to be counter productive and harm the farmers and the consumers alike. It is nothing but sugar coated sweet poison. Corporate farming is not the answer to farmers' problem.

Instead the government should provide all growth inputs and incentive to the farmers like quality seeds at affordable rates, assured irrigation, remunerative minimum support price and enhanced subsidy, security from exploitation by middle men, assured market so that they are not driven to go for stress selling of their produces.



(Editorial : Farmers' Forum Magazine)