ANDHRA PRADESH

Scientists told to help farmers

Staff Reporter

KHAMMAM: The collapse of the agriculture universities and the agriculture extension system called for a greater role from the science-based organisations to help the Indian farmers who are in for a severe crisis, according to P. Sainath, Ramon Magsaysay Award winner and Rural Affairs Editor, of The Hindu on Saturday night.

Addressing the 10 th state-level conference of the Jana Vignana Vedika here, he called for steps help revive the local seed that was healthy, pest resistant and needed less irrigation.

He observed that the agriculture universities were working rather for the multinational seed companies such as Monsanto and not for the farmers.

The Maharashtra government too was acting more as a dealer for the Monsanto and the farmers were left with hardly any one genuinely concerned about them.

He said that the science-based organisation like the Jana Vignana Vedika should come forward to shoulder greater responsibility towards the farmers. He pointed out that cotton accounts for about five per cent of the total crop area in the country, but so far as the consumption of pesticide was concerned it was as high as 55 per cent.

The farmers who were not in need of the pesticides and chemicals and who could not even understand their usage, were being made to buy them.

There was some thing seriously wrong with the system. He said that Bollgard I and II were expected to save the farmer a great deal on the pesticides. But the ground reality was different.

The farmers growing BT cotton were still opting for pesticides.

For whose sake is the Polavaram project being built, he questioned.

The development process in India was one way or the other beset with the interests of the contractor Raj.

He said that the primitive tribal groups living on the river bank were facing the risk of displacement and it would have severe repercussions. It was not the issue of damming alone.

It could even mean the death of the great river.

He said that the poor in India would pay a high price for the environmental degradation.

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