Monday, August 1, 2011

Globalisation and Kerala Agriculture

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Kerala situation is different from other states of India or even the global scenario with regard to developmental sectors. The Kerala model is characterised by high life quality indices even at low GDP, this was made possible by deliberate strategies taken by the communist government in the development of Agriculture, Industry and service sectors of Kerala. The literacy status and impact education system on developmental sectors is also immense especially introduction of innovations and new technology. Kerala society is well educated and aware critically analysing each changes in science, technology and politics. There is a well decentralised and democratic government system, good public distribution system and strong local self governance and timely and unbiased elections and responsive voters.

The agriculture scenario of Kerala is also special. For one thing Kerala is blessed with diverse Climatic conditions and relief/ elevation in the small piece of land making it possible to grow a wide range of crop plants. The westernghat region of Kerala is a biological hotspot for genetic diversity of a number of plants. The cropping system prevalent in Kerala is homestead agriculture where the farmer has a piece of land in which his house hold crop field, livestock etc are integrated in a system approach. The land holdings are comparatively small, as a result of bhooparishkaranam by 1st ems government which despite of its disadvantages brought about equality among the people and justice to those once discriminated by religion and cast. Also today most of the cultivators are part-time farmers and diverse crops including a major chunk of tree crops are cultivated.

40% of land is under plantation crops and in this 20% of this in households. Since major cropping system is homestead system there is direct impact of policies in the households and farming community. The land use and cropping pattern is peculiar and responsive to tradable commodities and directly affected by the global prices. The effect of globalisation and liberalisation was different for different regions, different crops and different classes of society and in different time periods. In General Globalisation followed by Liberalisation and De-regularisation brought about two major changes in Kerala Agriculture 1. We were unable to attain food security and 2. There was a decline in price of the plantation crops / cash crops.

Food Insecurity


In general:-

1. Paddy cultivation was not remunerative to the farmer
a. Lack of own land
b. Lack of agricultural credit
c. Low price in the market
d. Low productivity
i. Lack of HYV
ii. Poor management
iii. Cultivation practices not compatible to the environmental conditions
e. High cost of inputs
i. Ill effects of green revolution
ii. Unscientific use of chemical fertilizers and plant protection chemicals
iii. Deterioration of Soil and water bodies
f. Labour intensive cultivation
i. Unavailability of skilled labourers
ii. High wages
g. Pest and disease incidence
i. Lack of resistant varieties
ii. Unavailability of new variety - knowledge and seeds to farmers
h. Difficulty of weed management
i. System of leaving fallow after kharif crop or in summer season
ii. Introduced weeds
iii. Speciality of rice ecosystem and problem of chemical application
i. Difficulty in mechanisation
i. Low capital availability
ii. Small land holdings
iii. Unavailability of technology
iv. Unavailability of machines
v. Unavailability of skill
j. Lack of technology and its implementation
i. Unavailability of good quality HYV seeds
ii. Lack of knowledge of new practices like single seedling method

2. Loss of paddy fields
a. Reclamation for buildings
b. Converted to garden lands
c. Unscientific and non ecofriendly practices

3. Reluctance of young generation to take up agriculture as a profession

Impact of globalisation and new development policy:-

1. Government was forced to walk off development sector
a. Subsidies insufficient
b. Exploitation of private input companies
c. Exploitation by middle men in marketing
d. Loss of good market
e. Low support price
f. Post harvest losses
g. Poor public distribution
h. Decrease in risk bearing capacity of farmer

Other contributors:

1. Reluctance for investment in agriculture sector

2. Lack of initiative and involvement from
a. Government
b. Scientific community
c. Common people/Farmers and other stake holders

3. Hidden interest of monopolies in the possession of Kerala agriculture and land, genetic resources

4. Changing governments

5. Social mayhem
a. Liquor
b. Mafias and Quotation teams
c. Attacks towards women

Ideally in order to achieve complete justice

1. the land should be completely brought under the ownership of government
2. the farmers should be given a fixed and reasonable wages for his contribution in the production

Steps towards it:

1. The dignity of agriculture as a profession should be upheld
2. Everyone should become a part-time agriculturalist
a. Kitchen gardens
b. Terrace cultivation
c. Homestead cultivation
3. Scientific innovation
a. High yielding, disease and pest resistant, Tolerant to abiotic stress varieties
b. GM crops which have better nutritional quality
c. Better machinery
d. Better cultivation practices
e. Organic cultivation
f. Integrated pest, disease, weed management
4. Involvement of Public sector
a. take up distribution of certified seeds
b. Assure credit availability
c. make machinery available for farmers
d. Collect harvest from farmers
e. Give good price to farmers
f. Processing
g. Value addition
h. Proper storage
i. Packing
j. Marketing
k. Export
5. Government policies
a. Empowerment of landless, poor and marginal farmers
b. Subsidising farming sector
c. Support price
d. Margin free markets
e. Crop insurance
f. Recognition to farmers
g. Empowerment of cooperatives
i. In Seed, fertilizer, plant protection chemicals production
ii. In agricultural credit
iii. In post harvest technology
iv. In marketing

Decline in price of the plantation crops / cash crops


In general:-

1. Low quality of planting material
2. Poor management practices
3. Lack of mechanisation
4. High labour cost
5. Lack of proper processing and marketing facility for the produce
6. Lack of knowledge on new technologies

Impact of globalisation and new development policy:-

FTA and Incompetence of our produce in global market

By Free Trade Agreement (FTA) the concept of domestic market is replaced by global market and the produce from other countries and being accumulated in our markets without regulations or tariff. Other countries like America give high rates of subsidies for agriculture and use new technologies and are able to produce large quantities of produce and able to sell at lower prices. On the other hand our government is forced out of production sector, subsidies are removed, funding for domestic research are not sufficient and our technologies not up to the mark or unavailable to the farming community.

Goals and Steps:

1. Agricultural Innovations
a. Development of new varieties
i. High yielding
ii. Disease and pest resistant
iii. Tolerant to climate change
iv. Fertilizer responsive
v. Higher nutritional status
vi. Better quality
vii. Better keeping quality
b. Removal of senile palms and re-plantation
c. Proper training and pruning practices
d. Better agronomic practices
e. Judicious application of fertilizers and plant protection chemicals

2. Government Involvement

a. Distribution of quality planting material
b. Provide agricultural credit
c. Start processing units in public sector
d. Strengthen domestic market
e. Subsidy
f. Market stabilization
g. Fix minimum support price
h. Facility to collect and store farmers produce
i. Ware house facilities
j. Processing, value addition and export

Role of Education

h. Include agriculture in school curriculum
i. Revise curriculum and critically analyse contribution of KAU
j. Improvement extension

What KAU can do?

KAU, Kerala Agriculture University can have a leading position in the changes being made and to be made in Kerala agriculture sector. The mandate of KAU itself is Teaching, Research and Extension. The problem KAU is facing at the time being is essentially lack of resources eg. Sufficient fund for research. The Agriculture graduates are often un-employed or under employed even though they are valuable keys to agricultural improvement as technical and extension personals.