18 September, 2020

"Import Of Food, Or Of Unemployment?"

Prof M.S. Swaminathan, architect of the Green Revolution, says India has compromised its food security by acceding to the WTO. The poor farmer faces a wipeout, he stresses

"Import Of Food, Or Of Unemployment?"

Will food imports hit our economy?
Food imports are of two kinds - raw and processed. Imports of raw foodgrain, pulses, fish and milk will badly hit farmers, fishermen. The cost of producing food in India, despite low labour costs, is rising steadily. In the West, automation is pushing costs down. We produce 75,000 million tonnes of milk - it forms the livelihood for 80 million women owning just one buffalo or two cows. For the same output, the West deploys 100,000 people. Our fishermen don’t own cold-storage chains; they’ve to sell their catch the same day. Processed food imports will ruin micro enterprises.

Food security is linked to national sovereignty. You can’t have Pokhran and also let people starve. That’s what’s happening in North Korea. We must make our choices now. If not, farmers will move to urban slums, impoverishment will spread and inequity will grow at an incredible speed.

Why do imports always dominate wto talks?
The wto talks are conducted on the basic premise that trade - and not aid -...



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