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Updated: September 8, 2013 10:40 IST

‘MNCs control what is sown and reaped’

Staff Correspondent
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B.V.kakilaya inspired orations by P.Sainath Rural Affairs reporter with The Hindu on Corporate hijack of Indian Agriculture in Mangalore on Saturday. Photo: R. Eswarraj
B.V.kakilaya inspired orations by P.Sainath Rural Affairs reporter with The Hindu on Corporate hijack of Indian Agriculture in Mangalore on Saturday. Photo: R. Eswarraj

Rural journalist Sainath blames corporates for rising cost of farming

The farmer has been sidelined to the role of a labourer, with multinational corporations controlling most of what is sown and reaped, says P. Sainath, Rural Affairs Editor, The Hindu.

Delivering a talk on ‘Corporate hijack of Indian agriculture’ at the maiden B.V. Kakkilaya Inspired Orations here on Saturday, the senior journalist who has covered rural India for the past two decades, says: “Corporations control everything except direct ownership of land.

Seed, pesticide, marketing, markets are owned by a handful of companies, while input costs – gas, water – are being privatised.”

Because of this, he says, the cost of farming has increased, citing his own research in Vidharba, where the cost of sowing one non-irrigated acre of land for cotton is more than Rs. 15,000, up from Rs. 2,500 10 years ago. However, farmer incomes have not caught up, he says.

Mr. Sainath, who shot to prominence for his reportage on farmer suicides, says these suicides were linked to the shift to commercial crop – sugarcane, vanilla, coffee, and cotton in particular – which are controlled not by market forces but the corporations that monopolise the market.

“Neo-liberal policies since 1993 have transformed agriculture from food crop-based to cash crop, export-oriented agriculture… we are becoming dependent on the West for sources of nutrition,” he says.

Food corporations

The food corporations find themselves in the Fortune 500, harvesting hunger and thirst, and it wasn’t a coincidence that their profits rose when riots linked to prices of food were happening elsewhere in the world, he says.

At the event, the third edition of the Kannada translation of his book, Everybody loves a good drought, was released.

Rural reporting

Earlier during a talk on rural reporting at Mangalore University, Mr. Sainath rues the marginalisation of rural India in mainstream media.

“The media now takes events they think is compelling to the public and makes it important, like Sanjay Dutt’s dress in Jail, for example.

They have stopped taking what they think is important and make it compelling… like the stories of rural India… like the water and food crisis,” he says. Mr. Sainath says unlike two decade ago, a full-time labour and agriculture reporter has disappeared from the media.

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How long we will continue to beat the drum...MNCs MNCs. Fact remains that in all walks of life tchenologies are making difference to the human beings. Indians too need access to technologies to improve their improve food security, Physical security, Energy security, Water security. It is very easy and fashionable to criticise everything but very difficult to come with a solution. a good high quality debate with open mind can do a lot better for the society.

Posted on: Sep 9, 2013 at 11:31 IST

Most of the ills afflicting the country including agriculture are
rooted in the dog in the manger economic planning. Our economic
planners with a city centric western bias have been completely
misreading predominantly rural India. While they understand economics,
the need for other social sciences play in the decision they make, is
hardly appreciated by them. Growth and GDP are promoted making
consumerism center to engine of growth. Greed is the driving force of
consumerism. Problem with greed, as Manu says “desire is never
satisfied by obtaining the objects of desire. It grows more and more as
does the fire to which fuel is added. Gandhi in his great genius
instinctive understood this vital aspect when he promoted village
industries and neighborhood industries with a missionary zeal. But he
is hardly remembered by the present rulers except during the ceremonial
gathering during one day on Oct 2, to hypocritically pay respect to the
“father of the nation”.

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Sep 8, 2013 at 14:03 IST

India needs more people like Sri Sainath

from:  S N Reddy
Posted on: Sep 8, 2013 at 11:20 IST

his voice speaks truth, yet harsh ones. his lecture at IIT B was an eye opener for most of us who were quiet happy with the proceedings in some of our so called 'developed' states.

from:  pushkar
Posted on: Sep 8, 2013 at 11:06 IST
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