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Mon Sep 23, 2013, 11:21 AM

India's Food Security Act: Myths and Reality [View all]

By Vandana Shiva

Source: Aljazeera

Monday, September 23, 2013


Excerpts:

Reforms not working

However, both the food crisis and the economic crisis are a result of the so-called reforms. More people are denied their right to food because, on the one hand the livelihoods of small and marginal farmers are being destroyed to carry out the reforms of corporatising the agriculture sector, with corporate seeds and chemical products, and corporate procurement instead of public procurement. The result is debt, hunger and despair.

One out of every four Indians today is a victim of hunger. And half of the hungry are farmers who cannot eat what they grow, either because they are planting cash crops such as cotton; or they're growing costly crops such as rice, wheat and corn, which they have to sell in order to repay the loans they get to buy seeds, fertilisers, etc.

That is why lowering the cost of production and increasing the livelihood sustainability of small and marginal farmers must be the first step in building food security. However, the Food Security Act is totally silent on production, procurement, and farmers' livelihood and food rights. This in my view is its biggest failing.

The silence on production makes many people feel that the Food Security Act could increase India's dependence on food imports. We are already spending millions of dollars in importing and subsidising pulses - grain legumes - and edible oils. Until the Green Revolution, India was the biggest producer and exporter of oilseeds and pulses.The Greed Revolution which is based on rice and wheat production has destroyed our self-sufficiency in pulses and oilseeds, and the globalisation and libralisation of the food trade has made it worse. We need to introdruce tariffs on imports of edible oils and pulses, both to give our farmers a level playing field, and to reduce our trade and budget deficits.


Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/indias-food-security-act-myths-and-reality-by-vandana-shiva.html

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