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.


Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Friday hoped that the recently signed lndia-US accord on knowledge initiative in agriculture will help increase farm production and productivity. He said that for implementation of these initiatives \"we would require a change in our research and research management paradigms.\"
Food subsidy Bill to be reviewed in May, says Pawar
by Ashok B Sharma, The Financial Express, 25 March, 2006
On his visit to the US, the prime minister made a deal on nuclear energy and another on agriculture. Because of the furore over the former, the latter seems to have gone unnoticed. It should not be. India has asked for US help to develop drought-resistant crop varieties, reduce post-harvest losses, take information about improved technologies directly to farmers and provide training in sanitary and phytosanitary standards. Training to improve food standards will be welcome since India is very poor in this regard. Indian exports are returned, sometimes because buyers use phytosanitary standards as a protectionist tool but also because the products are contaminated or substandard.
Deceptive Sense Of Bounty
by Suman Sahai, THE TIMES OF INDIA, 12 September, 2005