BHUBANESWAR: In a first of its kind, a ‘’Farmers’ Jury’’, has been held here recently in which farmers’ representatives from seven states participated.
Scientists, farmers, lawyers, activists and government officials congregated to discuss the problems faced by the farmers of the eastern states of India. In the present budget, the Central Government has increased the allocation for Green Revolution from Rs 400 to 1,000 crore. The major concern at the jury was the reluctance of the farmers to use hybrid seeds and chemical fertilisers.
The jury comprised representatives from the farmer groups, chosen by the farmers to express their views. Issues such as lack of seed banks, lack of traditional seeds in the seed banks and lack of alternatives to chemical fertilisers came up.
The farmers expressed their disinterest in hybrid seeds. They also said they do not want to depend on the Government for procurement of seeds every year.
The jury felt the necessity to set up an ‘Integrated Farming System’ that would undertake research to increase production using indigenous farming techniques. The farmers also expressed their preference to bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides. The farmers said that the traditional seeds should be conserved and made available to them.
However, the government officials denied that they were foisting a particular product, like the hybrid seeds, on the farmers. “Whatever product we have in the market, be it seeds or fertilisers, are tried and tested by the government units,” said Satya Prakash Singh of the Ministry of Agriculture. Singh said the farmers have a right to choose seeds and fertilisers.
Umerdra Dutt, a farmer from Punjab, deliberated on the ill-effects of the first Green Revolution on the people of Punjab which still continue to haunt them. The Centre’s decision to go ahead with a second Green Revolution, despite the impact of the first one, is surprising, he said.