Sunday, February 25, 2018
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ALLAHABAD: A two-day seminar on 'Agrarian Change and Small Farmers' organized by the GB Pant Social Science Institute concluded on Monday. The seminar explored alternative ways of addressing issues concerning marginal-and small farmers who comprise 90% of all farmers in the country and contribute 43% of the total value of agricultural output.

Chief guest and environmentalist Dr Vandana Shiva spoke on biodiversity conservation in order to maintain the food sovereignty of India. She advocated that small farmers are able to produce more nutritious food as compared to retail chain of food supermarkets. She criticised genetically engineered food and focused on seed, land, water and knowledge to attain the food sovereignty.

Prof HM Desarda, former member, Maharashtra State Planning Board and member executive council, University of Hyderabad presided over the function. He advocated the Swadeshi in culture as well as in food. He showed concern for commoditification of human relations. He argued that due to vagaries of monsoon on one hand and wrong agriculture practice on the other there is a deep distress, migration and tragic suicide of the farmers. One solution, he emphasized, is to launch a concerted national movement of watershed development which can enhance the productivity and incomes substantially as demonstrated by the experience of the villages where watershed work are meticulously implemented.

Introducing the main theme of the symposium, institute director Prof Pradeep Bhargava raised the issues of ecological, food and agricultural security for Indian farmers. He said food and culture are intensively related, therefore, there is a need to empower small and marginal farmers. Prof Bhargava raised questions on the effectiveness of the proposed National Food Security Bill.

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