(Dr. krishan Bir Chaudhary)
The Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh in a recent communication to the Planning Commission & the Ministry of Agriculture, expressed his anguish on agricultural research being carried out by I.C.A.R., the premier agricultural research institution of the country.
Agriculture in India is passing through a phase of complete decay and deterioration. Once at the alter of our national economy and a major source of livelihood to more than 70% of the peasantry and the rural folks, holding great promise to turn the country into a super economy.
But sadly enough, the ruinous state of agriculture today, clearly the precipitating effect of the folly of fallacious and misconceived application of alien technology in agriculture by a coterie of self seeking agro-scientists has created the whole mess.
It is such a pathetic state of affair that instead clearing the spoils and evolving correctives to rejuvenate Indian agriculture, they are rather in a mood of celebration and self-aggrandizement. Celebration over the debris of Indian agriculture fills all sensible Indian with digust and despair because unmending as they still are, their borrowed concept of agricultural research that laid the foundation for the formulation of agricultural planning and policies for raising production was basically misconceived, erroneous and not amenable to or conforming to conditionalities of Indian agriculture.
Their scientific misdemeanor resulted in large scale destruction of genetic biodiversity, destruction of soil structure, rapid spread of incidence of various plant diseases and pests with the introduction of crop varieties like the dwarf Maxican Wheat. Unscrupulous promotion of chemical agriculture over years alarmingly eroded the fertility status of soil.
Today, the very sustainability of Indian agriculture is at stake and our farmers are being driven towards economic subjugation, struggling hard to survive under the adverse impact of monopolistic globalisation. The deterioration in Indian agriculture can be traced back to the early sixties when the proponent of high yielding crop varieties, Dr. M.S. Swaminathan and another agricultural scientist Dr. M.S. Randhawa, the great promotor of chemical agriculture in India swayed high hold on research planning and policy making process of the Govt.
Massive infusion of agro-chemicals into the soil to raise production induced soil infertility, heavily depleted undergrounnd water reserve and in states like Punjab some rivers have virtually gone dry. Who is responsible for this plunder?
What we need today is wholesome and healthy foods but what we actually consume is the store houses of hazardous, injurious and poisionous chemicals in the form of food grains. The water is contaminated, environment is polluted and the equilibrium of natural life support system and the agro-ecological balance have been badly disturbed.
Even the Supreme Ccourt has taken serious note of the findings of poisionous pesticides in soft drinks but there is no sensitization at any level over the traces of chemicals even in mother’s milk and the pesticidal residues in our food grains.
India has plenty of elite plant materials. It is a matter of serious investigation as to how and why our agro-scientists and bureaucrats never thought of producing vigorous, nutritive, high yielding and quality hybrid seeds from abundantly available elite plant materials through clonal propagation? The answer is simple. For reasons best known to them and to serve their own interest, they are more inclined in superimpossing alien varieties, requiring high doses of chemical fertilizers, agro-chemicals and water.
Sadly, the spoil game is not yet over. Now a bigger and more catastrophic situation, even more horrific than the recent Tsunami is sneaking into our agro-system with the introduction GMOs and Terminator technology. But a deaf and dumb system under the dispensation of the likes of Dr. Swaminathan and Dr. Randhawa, there seems little hope for an escape from the onslaughts of alien technologies.
Instead applying correctives to bolster the agro-eco system, these technologies are being pursued even more vigorously and ambitiously, quite unmindful of the plunder they will cause to Indian agriculture. Why and for what? Is there any answer?
(Editorial : Farmers' Forum Magazine)