When the farmers' jury gave its verdict
by Sreelatha Menon, December 27, 2009, Business Standard
Who is an agricultural expert? The practising farmer or the numerous graduates who pass from agricultural universities?
For this country, the latter is considered the expert, while the former — who can feel the winds and predict the rains, touch the soil and scan the health of the seedlings in its womb — is nothing more than a labourer.
Not only is he considered unfit to be a teacher and a scholar of the subject and partner in research and policy-making, but is reduced to a life of extreme poverty, having to pull rickshaws or do construction work in the cities every two months, to raise money to invest in the fields. This, again, leads to the question of a country’s seed sovereignty, a matter over which no policy maker is losing sleep.
This month, 30 farmers — women and men — gathered as a jury in Karnataka and quizzed a number of agricultural scientists on the theme of ‘Democratisation of Agricultural Research. The farmers’ jury, or Raita Teerpu, then gave their verdict.
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