Samarthan, GRANITE project partner for Maharashtra, in association with Agriculture Department of the State and Sangamner Taluka Agricultural Produce Marketing & Processing Cooperative Society, organised its second outreach meeting with farmers from Sangamner block of Ahmednagar district on October 11, 2005. 225 farmers from Sangamner (including around 30 women) and adjoining blocks participated in the meeting. The farmers were mainly horticulture growers and potential exporters.
to share the challenges and opportunities these farmers have in the era of globalisation and some background of what might be the possible outcomes of the ministerial conference in December.
- to facilitate the interaction between these farmers and various experts in the field, so that the farmers can face the challenges and exploit the opportunities offered by the international market.
- to know the concerns of grower-exporters and how these concerns can be taken up to policy makers.
Kanawde of the cooperative society welcomed the participants. Vivek Pandit, Chairperson of Samarthan presented a brief introduction of the organisation and the project. He said that Samarthan would advocate the issues of the farmers with the policy makers to make them stand strong in the global market.
Tambe, President of Sangamner Taluka, Agriculture Produce Marketing and Processing Cooperative Society, while addressing the farmers said that globalisation has posed the opportunity to prove our abilities in the global market. The new generation of farmers needs to understand the emerging issues and experiment with new concepts/techniques in farming.
Milind Murugkar spoke on the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA). Giving the reference of the rally of the farmers on Mumbai Port, on October 2, 2005, he pointed out the sensitivity towards the issues of globalisation, subsidies, import duties, etc and added that one needs to enhance the understanding of development economics to understand the issues. He explained:
- the post independence policies for industrial development. Dependence of industrial sector on domestic market and hence, the importance of the purchasing power of the farmers who dominate the Indian economy. Therefore, the development of industrial sectors will not be possible without development of agricultural sector.
- to substantiate his point by citing example of Canada and stressed the importance of good coordination between the market and policies.
- AoA as a procedure for gradually overcoming the hindrances of subsidies and import duties in the agricultural trade.
- about the CARNES and G-20 and possible differences that may come up in G-20 during the Ministerial on the issue of import duties.
- the fact that India has high bound duties and creating a hue over the issue of lowering the bound duties weakens the negotiating capacities of India negotiators.
Abhilash Gorhe made a detailed presentation on Eurepgap certification. He explained:
the process and criteria for this certification.
- various records to be maintained as a part of acquiring certificate. He displayed some of the formats of record keeping.
- the processes leading towards Eurepgap certification and assured the farmers that though the process apparently looks complicated, farmers can easily comply with the norms.
Rajaram Sangle, grower exporter talked on the opportunities available for the farmers. Sangamner has the potential to export good quality pomegranates. He informed about the available technology, government schemes etc. He stressed the importance of cooperation. The district agriculture officer appealed to the farmers who are willing to export the pomegranates to register their names at the registration counter and assured to play the role of facilitator for these potential exporters.
The farmers raised lot of issues concerning government policies, dissemination of policy and scheme related information, need of infrastructure facilities such as laboratories, information centres, etc.
Outcome of the Outreach Meeting
It gave GRANITE an opportunity to get insight into the issues concerning export and helped in identifying areas where intervention is needed at the policy level.
- It gave an opportunity to potential exporters to interact with various experts, which will certainly help them in future.
It helped the farmers to know what is happening at a broader level and how is it relevant for them.
- The involvement and initiate of district agricultural department in the process.