Devinder Sharma points out that the dominant economic growth model promotes the industrial farming model that created the global food crisis in first instance: soil health devastated, excessive mining of groundwater drying aquifers and a food chain contaminated by chemical pesticides.
Undeterred by this, business leaders from 17 private companies – including Archer Daniels Midland, BASF, Cargill, Coca-Cola, DuPont, General Mills, Kraft Foods, Monsanto, Nestlé, PepsiCo, SABMiller, Syngenta, Unilever, and Wal-Mart – announced the launch of a global initiative at the World Economic Forum at Davos in the last week of January a ”New Vision for Agriculture”.
The initiative is backed by the United States Agency for International Development [USAID]. Administrator Rajiv Shah said at Davos: “We are witnessing an unparalleled opportunity right now for innovative, large-scale private sector partnerships to achieve significant impact on global hunger and nutrition.”
The Indian Agricultural Produce Market Committee [APMC] has amended the 2005 Act so that not only wheat and rice but fruit, vegetables and grains no longer go to rural markets [mandis – pictured]. More about the system here.
Sharma fears: “the procurement system is set for a breakdown . . . It is actually passing on the control of food into the hands of a few big players, who can then manipulate the prices at will. The nation needs to understand the dangerous game being played.”
His recommendation: “the network of mandis have helped farmers realise a fair and better price for their produce.
This system needs to be improved and strengthened, not dismantled”- good advice for all countries.
Source: Devinder Sharma, Ground Reality at 3/01/2011 and published in Governance Now, New Delhi, March 1-15, 2011.