Grassroots Reachout & Networking in India on Trade & Economics (GRANITE)

Karnataka Second Outreach Meeting
Haveri, Karnataka, September 02, 2005

The second outreach meeting under the GRANITE project was held at Haveri, Karnataka, on September 02, 2005 with the active coordination of the Environment and Consumer Protection Group, Haveri.

The meeting was inaugurated by G G Hegde Kadekodi, President of Citizens Protection Forum, Sirsi, who spoke on several issues like the proposed amendments to the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act, contract farming and the Seed Bill 2004. Highlighting the basic concepts of contract farming, he explained its disadvantages, for instance, the multinational companies (MNCs), not the Government will decide the rates for farm products under contract farming. He also criticised the Government’s throne to push through the Seed Bill 2004, which is pro-seed industry and against the interests of the farmers.

Besides, K N V Giri represented Consumer Rights, Education and Awareness Trust (CREAT).

Following are some of the opinions expressed by the participants:

Channabasappa, a farmer representing Organic Farming Resource Centre, Haveri

Ever since the Green Revolution, there has been increased usage of hybrid seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. As a result, land has lost its fertility thereby resulting in lower yield. Now, there is a compulsion to use seeds, which cannot be reused, or seeds that will not germinate for the second time. The only solution against this problem is to begin organic farming.

S S Bevinamarad, Principal, SJM College, Haveri

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement has been signed without thinking about its consequences. Had intelligence been used properly, this situation would not have arisen. There is a need for change and development, but at what cost? As long as globalisation helps to improve the well-being of the farmers, it should be welcomed.

S B Basagalli, a farmer, Agadi Village, Haveri District

In 1966, the Seed Act was introduced. As a result hybrid arrived. Jowar reached along with this development. More importantly, the Government took the responsibility of supplying seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. This led to the emergence of Agricultural Universities. But these universities neither helped the farmers nor the economy.

Farmers do not need any subsidy. All they require is good price for their products and marketing facilities. The prices are to be fixed on scientific basis taking the input cost and the livelihood of the peasants.

Madhuri Devdhar, Consumer Protection Forum, Haveri

Most of the problems faced by the farmers are due to the lack of support from the politicians and the Government. Besides, farmers are not united. As a result, MNCs are trying to enter from the backdoor. Haveri has become a centre for testing Bt. Cotton by Monsanto. The experience of other countries by using genetically modified (GM) food should be an eye opener for Karnataka and India.

Srikant Kulakarni, a farmer, Hirekerur, Haveri District

Farmers are in a peculiar condition. Farm inputs are from MNCs, but the output is ours. With signing of WTO agreement, we are at the mercy of multinational companies and big business houses. As a result of Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), even wormy culture has been patented. Farmers have to protest the present policies of the Government.

Dattatreya Raikar, President, Geleyara Balaga, Hirekeruru, Haveri District

WTO has been opposed since it was signed. We even opposed the views of experts like M S Swaminathan. But nobody cared. There is a need for a unified battle against the anti farmers policies of the Government. We need the support of organisations like CREAT.

Sumangala, Agriculture Officer, Haveri

The new technologies in agriculture are encouraged only to improve the productivity of the farm products. Hybrid seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and other farm inputs are used to improve the crop output. By using these modern techniques, our productivity can be improved. Farmers should understand this in right spirit. The Government has implemented the Integrated Pest Management programme to overcome some of the deficiencies of modern farming techniques.

Dharmaraj, President, Watershed Development Association, Ranebennur

Water crisis is a direct result of modern farming techniques. Traditional farming needs less water whereas modern farming uses water more than two or three times. Though I started growing Bt cotton, now I have stopped it because it consumes huge amount of water. There is an urgent need to oppose the WTO agreement by all farmers and agri-workers.

Dyamannanavar, Agricultural Officer (Retd.)

Hybrid seeds and fertilizers conquered the Indian farmers on the false promise of high yield and productivity. As a result of using modern fertilizers not only land loses its fertility climatic changes conditions also occur. We are paying heavy price for these mistakes.