*Indian Farmers Vs Globalised Capital - Day 1*
Tom Wakeford reports daily as Andhra Pradesh farmers put World Bank/DFID plans for their agriculture on trial. The Citizens Jury started Tuesday 26. Read the intro online at: http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/indfarm.htm
Prajateerpu - Citizens Jury
N.B. These extracts are taken from notes from a simultaneous translation. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, the full video record of the proceedings should be consulted (via IIED, London) for the actual quotes.
Some selections from the evidence provided by witnesses to the jury, together with interrogation by the jury.
These two witnesses were supporting the Government of Andhra Pradesh's Vision 2020.
The Joint Secretary for Agriculture, Government of Andhra Pradesh
"Want to achieve this vision in ten years not twenty."
"We advise farmers only to use the minimum chemicals necessary, which can be determined only after soil analysis by scientists".
Questions & Answers with jurors:
Q: What happens when get injured by pesticides that are used inapproriately? Sometimes we even get killed by their adverse health effects. Will you give us compensation? What about all those jeeps coming to our villages and persuading us to use their pesticides. Why can't you stop them?
A: Pesticides are like cigarettes. People get addicted them and use more and more. Only then are they injurous to their health. They need to be educated not to become addicted. We can't stop firms going round the villages marketing their product. If you feel they have cheated you, you should register a complaint with the police.
Q: Why does your Government support finances for tractors and not bullock carts? In my village there used to be 10 tractors, now there are twenty. And the big farmers can get big loans for tractors, we cannot even get small loans.
A: Tractors can do in one day what used to take one hundred days of labour. Of course we should have them. You can of course continue to use bullock carts, but we need tractors because it saves money on labour.
N V Rao
Part of Vision 2020 Committee of Government of Andhra Pradesh Former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad.
Before the Green Revolution we had to go with a begging bowl to other countries for food. You farmers have done so well with the technology we have given you in the past, it is time to give you something new that will help keep increasing production. This is GM crops.
Q (woman from Warangal District)
This hybrid maize will yield OK for the first couple of years but then our yield declines. We have tried the seeds you recommended in the past. You never give us warning about the lack of market for the crops you recommend.
A You have the choice - you can grown export crops if you want. The choice is yours.
In America only 2% of pop rely on agri. We should also be like that.
Q But the middlemen (sic) always take the profits. We sell our crop for 4 rupees a bag and buy it back a few months later when we need it for 40 Rs a bag.
Q We've had terrible rains the last 4-5 years. People say they will be bad in future years as well. We have nothing to eat.
A I will take this up with the Government.