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

Rajasthan Sixth Outreach Meeting
Bharatpur District, Rajasthan, August 25, 2006

CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS-CART) convened the sixth Outreach Meeting under the GRANITE project with an active association of Sahyog Sansthan, a local non-governmental organisation (NGO), at Bharatpur, Rajasthan on August 25, 2006. This Outreach Meeting primarily focused on Agriculture Sector.

The participants in the meeting represented the groups of farmers, farm labours, panchayati raj (local self-government) members, self-help groups (SHGs), community leaders, advocates and people working on the issue of female foeticide. There were 30 participants in the meeting.


The prime objectives of the meeting were:
  • to gather existing perceptions at the grassroots with regards to issues relating to agriculture sector in purview of the globalisation and World Trade Organisation (WTO);
  • to identify the anti-poor impact of the existing policies; and
  • to assemble them to a common platform where they could share their present concerns with special emphasis on oilseeds cultivation.


Bharatpur district lies in the most eastern part of Rajasthan.

It forms boundaries with Gurgaon district of Haryana in the north and northeast. Mathura and Agra lie in the east. Dhaulpur district lies in its south and Sawai Madhopur, Dausa and Alwar district in the west. The district has a dry climate. The maximum temperature ranges between 44 degrees and 47 degrees Celsius. Minimum temperature is between minus five and one degree Celsius.

The district is composed of three sub-divisions, viz. Bharatpur, Deeg and Bayana. These sub-divisions have been further divided into ten Tehsils. The major crops of the district are wheat, gram, jowar, bajra, pulses, groundnut, mustard, rai etc. Production of rapeseed and mustard in Bharatpur is the highest in the state after wheat.

Highlights of the discussions

The meeting started with the introduction of all participants. This showed that almost all the attendees were directly or indirectly involved in agriculture. A few of them were studying law but belonging to the farmer families, and who took interest in agriculture. C V Dutta of Sahyog Sansthan welcomed the participants. Madan Giri Goswami, Anutosh Biswas and Swati Dhoot of CUTS International outlined details of the GRANITE project and explained the impact of the international market scenario on the farmers of the developing countries.

Dr N C Pahariya of CUTS International explained the history of the WTO and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB) and Agreement on Agriculture (AoA). He threw light on what India contributed in the formation of GATT and how it got formed into a present structure i.e. WTO, the policies, rules and regulations formed/created for trade purpose. Also, the process of the WTO membership was also explained to the participants.

Further, the objective and the changes visible in the agriculture sector were explained to them. He further informed about a study conducted by him in Bharatpur on the oilseed sector and the results drawn from the same. He emphasised that the production of oilseeds needs to be increased and the cost of production of oilseeds has to be reduced. By examples Dr Pahariya discussed that unless the cost of production is reduced and yield rates significantly improved, oilseed sector would face tough competition.

In reply, the farmers said that they were able to produce 6-7 quintals of oilseeds per hectare. At this, Dr Pahariya explained them about the mission of the National Research Centre for Rapeseed and Mustard (NRCRM), Bharatpur and said that the target set by NRCRM is to produce 20 quintals of oilseeds per hectare. Farmers and others from audience were not aware of this. This target seemed unachievable and surprising to the farmers.

Oil production and cases of its adulteration were also explained to the participants. Processing of oilseeds production and marketing was discussed and it was seen that the lowest in the supply chain i.e. the farmer was the one always exploited. Adulteration practice like mixing of palm oil with mustard oil and selling it at the rate of mustard oil is being practiced amounting to cheating the consumers and creating health hazards.

They were explained the importance of Sanitary and Pyhto-Sanitary (SPS) standards and were told that in present scenario, they have to be efficient enough while carrying out agricultural activities.

While concluding the meeting, CUTS International team floated some suggestions. The prime suggestion to farmers was to make efforts to understand the demands of modern market and adapt quickly to the changing scenario. Suggestion was given to them to get united and represent themselves as a strong body in every common platform.

Voice from the Grassroots

Ram Kishan, Sarpanch, shared the following concerns:

  • Infrastructure being the main problem the farmers are afraid of adopting new techniques for farming.
  • The farmers regularly hear government announcing different policies to benefit the poor farmers and agriculture but have hardly seen any benefit reaching to them. Should the government not bother to find out that actually how many farmers are benefited of these schemes?
  • Small and marginal farmers never get access to good quality seeds on time and it ultimately leads to bad production in spite of lots of efforts made by the farmers during production process.
  • Another farmer, shared the following views:
  • Most of the crops get destroyed getting affected from insects and pests and though they use different pesticides, the concern is that it often doesn’t work. They have now assumed that the pesticides they use are spurious. Also there are different types of insects attacking the crops and it becomes difficult for them to avail a different pesticide everytime. They need guidance on procurement and use of these pesticides.
  • Seeds available at the NRCRM centre as compared to the private traders are substandard. Private traders supply relatively good quality seeds but at high (exploitative) price.
  • The following key issues emerged from Outreach Meeting:
  • Farmers don’t have an adequate information/substantial knowledge on the WTO, AoA, and globalisation;
  • Bharatpur being one of the largest oilseed producing state of Rajasthan is not able to reap any benefits because of huge corruption prevalent on each and every stage;
  • Farmers should adapt themselves to the changes and start to sow crops that are demanded more in the market;
  • Cheating and corruption is rampant in mandis and only resourceful farmer can get access to good seeds and fertilisers;
  • Farmers need to get united in order to voice their demands, rights and concern in the right manner; and
  • Farmers were worried whether these issues will be taken to the concerned body or not. What will be done actually? What will be the benefit for the farmers by providing these details?