Staff Reporter

Government has intervened to create corporate monopolies: Vandana Shiva

Don’t cut import duty on products which

our farmers could produce

NEW DELHI: The food crisis in the country is not a sudden emergence but a creation of deliberate policies and laws that have over a period practically taken away its food security, Navdanya founder-director Vandana Shiva said on Wednesday.

“India has witnessed a very high increase in prices of essential commodities and all kinds of reasons are being thrown around. The government has intervened at every step to create corporate monopolies in the food system, from seed to domestic production and trade, to food processing, to liberalised imports, export-oriented agriculture, to corporate retail. While its intervention unleashed forces driving up food prices, the government is now throwing up its hands and saying it cannot do anything about the escalating food prices,” she told a press conference here.

Adverse factors

She listed the major factors which were pushing up prices: “Integration of food economy with the volatile speculation-based financial economy driven by agribusiness; climate extremes caused by climate change; large-scale diversion of food growing land to export-oriented cash crops; imports that are no longer affordable; dismantling of the public distribution system; entry of large corporate houses creating monopolistic conditions; and government intervention on behalf of corporations.”

Several measures available with the government to reverse the trend included biodiverse ecological farming, which increased food output while lowering the cost of production, and stopping policies that encouraged unnecessary imports, besides stopping reduction of import duty on products which Indian framers could produce.