Quotations for consideration:
- “Everything else can wait but Agriculture” - Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
- “Agriculture not only gives riches to a nation, but the only riches, she can call her OWN!” - Dr. Samuel Johnson.
- “Whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.” - Jonathan Swift .
- Adequate Agricultural / Horticultural production through sustainable practices is essential to meet the demand of food for our ever growing population.
- Keeping Agro costs low means increasing Farm productivity, and in view of the Population shift to Urban areas and the resulting increased costs of scarce Agricultural Labour, increasing mechanization. Also migration of youth seeking Urban employment leaves the land in care of the very old or the very young. Hence requiring changes in tenancy and ownership rules.
- Food prices are projected to increase 50-100% over the next 10 years. Hence using arable land for other than Food production (eg: for Fuel - Ethanol and Bio-diesel from edible oil seeds such as Palm or Soya) is being short sighted.
- GM Technology has many benefits, but the danger of un-intended Hybridization in adjacent crops, increasing resistance of the pests to the chemicals used, the vulnerability of crop mono culture and increased dependence of farmers on the GM seed producers due to the ‘Terminator’ gene added in by the seed companies only to protect their own commercial interests, and also on newer chemicals, are all ever present in GM Technologies and need to be addressed before allowing wide spread application of such technologies.GM crop technology can surely be developed without the ‘Terminator’ gene, thus making the farmer a partner rather than just a customer to be taken advantage of.
- Many International Organizations such as IFAP / UNCTAD/ UNEP have determined that neither GM Technologies nor large scale Industrialized Farming can alone meet our future food needs. Only sustainable Agro practices of “Small Farmers, improving on traditional knowledge and maintaining Plant diversity can do so.” Ofcourse new technologies, including good GM Technology, will help and ‘Small’ would mean economically sized as appropriate to the location and type of soil.
- 60% of Population is employed in Agriculture. But this number is fast reducing due to migration to urban areas. Hence requiring mechanization which could also add to rural employment.
- “We are wasting over 30,000 Crores worth of Agricultural produce every year because Farmers do not have access to appropriate information and because of lack of Infrastructure, Grain storage, Cold storage chain and links with Industry”. - Subodh Kant Sahai , Minister for Food Processing Industries.
- India’s land usage- Agriculture-59%, Urban & Industrial - 8%, Forests - 22%. India has the highest arable land to total land ratio at 49% in the world. USA - 18%, China - 14%, Canada