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Sunday, November 15, 2009

HUNGER ON THE HORIZON : IT IS TIME TO WAKE UP

It is now a fact that unless Public distribution system is revamped and strong measures are taken to augment agriculture sector, as per the strong signals now received, a famine like situation may develop and devastate the country. Assam would not be an exception to this scene. Till now though two neighboring states of Assam, were experiencing famine in the past, there was no record for Assam experiencing such a bleak situation. The time has changed. Assam has now negative growth rate in agriculture sector. It might trigger famine like situation unless government steps in. The world Food Programme, facing a fund shortage and UN has for the first time appeal to individual persons for cash donation for the first time of its existence. The Head of UN Food Body felt if one billion persons of developed world donate just RS. 69/- a week or one euro($1.50) it would be enough to end world’s hunger and famine. So WFP has issued internet appeal to all individual to contribute. If any one want to contribute contact WFP’S Delhi office.

Addressing WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM’ in New Delhi recently, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee admitted:
"There is a need of generating strong domestic demand until the robust recovery all over the world, particularly in the developed world takes place.”
Mukherjee repeated his pledge for massive investments in agriculture sector and infrastructure, and acknowledged that it would not be easy for Asia's third largest economy to compensate for the loss in exports through domestic demand. "It is not easy for us to diversify the market overnight and make up the loss so we shall have to wait for some time," he said.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations has recently issued a report which reveals that currently there are 75 million (7.5 crore) people in the world are victim of famine and if the current crisis of price rise persists this count may reach the total of 920.25 million (92.25 crore )
India at present is facing the very harsh situations where poorest of the poor of our country have to go to bed hungry. But at this crucial time when the country expects some stringent steps from the government’s side, it is defending itself by saying that food crisis is a global problem. It is not interested in finding and disclosing the root cause of this havoc .
In such a situation it is a heartening to note the definite actions taken by Government of Assam to regulate farm products in the state.. In the time of scarcity it is not only production but supply system needs to be strengthened. THE SATE GOVERNMENT AT LEAST MADE SOME EFFORT to boost consumption, eliminating middle men from the market.
Indian government is of course desperate to stave off spiraling food price inflation atleast during this winter season.
Mr. Mukherjee during the meeting of world economic forum assured that none should be worried about the availability of food grains for the government would continue to import food items to meet any supply shortfall and scarcity food.
ASSAM GOVERNAMEN MUST ENSURE THAT PRICE of THREE THINGS must NOT HIT THE ROOF. It must endeavor to contain the price of rice, vegetable and fish. The fish lobby, in Assam, is very strong. THE GOVERNMENT MUST BREAK THE NEXUS BETWEEN SUPPLIERS – MIDDLEMEN AND RETAILERS. UNLESS MIDDLEMEN ARE CONTAINED NO USEFUL PURPOSE WOULD BE SERVED only BY FIXING UP THE RETAIL PRICE .Assam’s population survived famine like situation in the past mainly due to frugal food habits and due to non dependence on outside supplies. With the increase in population food habits have changed and dependence on outside supplies have increased. The government must strengthen public distribution system, crack nexus of middlemen in fish supplies and develop storage space for sufficient food grains and help small growers to produce green vegetables, rice and fish. THE ARRANGEMENT CAN Be MADE TO BRING IN FISH FROM Andhra government’s fishery department and distribute to retailers at pre determined price and also distribute through area wise Kiosk of Assam’s fishery department.
In spite of rising inflation and panic regarding food availability our government still believes that to sustain in world economy we need investment and support of corporate companies. The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister advocates the role of corporate sector in agriculture and says that activities other than food grain production like commercial crops, horticulture etc. have contributed most to agricultural GDP. The council recommends removal of subsidies related to grain procurement and REVAMPING of Public Distribution System.
“The Unprecedented food scarcity is beginning to dictate the rules of a new political order where individual countries are scrambling to secure their own food supplies with little concern for the rest of the world, “says the founder of the Earth Policy Institute, LESTER Brown.

"We are in the midst of the most severe food crisis in the world’s history," Brown said. "This is not your mother’s food shortage... but a chronically tight food situation, a serious and long-term problem.’’
From Africa to Asia, countries are scrambling to buy or lease land overseas to grow crops and feed their people. China, which has to feed the world’s largest population, has taken the lead by contracting land in Tanzania, Laos, Kazakhstan, Brazil and others.

India has set its eyes on Uruguay and Paraguay, while South Korea is looking for farming deals in Sudan and Siberia. Libya and Egypt for their part have been negotiating deals to lease land in Ukraine.

The worry here, according to Brown, is that "the more influential countries would be able to secure food supplies, leaving a number of low-income, less influential countries with no food to import".

1 comment:

anakshi said...

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