Congratulations, it is an eye opener to other states that are thinking of such schemes.
In Hyderabad, the government...
Thanks. You have raised a very pertinent issue. My family is a great lover of Makhana and we use it in different ways. Slowly...
Being a cotton farmer is tough. The farmer is caught in a vortex of indebtedness accentuated by discriminatory international trade regimes, skewed tariffs and faulty extension services. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra have thus seen a spate of farmers' suicides.
In terms of total costs -- labour, machinery and transport -- the farmer has been a loser. Their losses have been greater after the introduction of Bt cotton. Productivity has gone up after its introduction. But the market is stacked against farmers. us, eu and Chinese subsidies are ranged against them. India, in contrast, imports cheap cotton, in particular, the extra-long staple variety. Textile magnates gain, farmers lose.
Indian farmers problem get compounded when input costs increase. This is where Bt comes in. The evidence is that it has increased productivity, but only in irrigated areas. In rainfed regions -- like Vidarbha -- farmers have bought expensive Bt seeds but have not benefited. Ironically over 50 per cent of Bt cotton was cultivated here.
Even in Punjab, where yields have increased, farmers don't benefit because prices do not increase. The trick is to increase yields without increasing input costs. Gujarat, where farmers use pirated seeds, gains because it does that.
Inappropriate technology compounds farmers' problems. The cotton grown in India is not native to the country. In the 1860s, Indian varieties made way for American cotton, since the latter suited spinning machines in Lancashire. The American variety covers around 70 per cent of the cotton area today. It is not suited to Indian conditions. The problem was compounded after independence, when scientists evolved hybrids of American varieties.
Crop failures became more frequent because more than 65 per cent of cotton is grown in unirrigated areas, while American varieties need more water.
The government's answer is pumping money into schemes for inputs -- the benefits of such bounties are cornered by companies, not farmers. Unfortunately, the government does not think of increasing support prices.