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News                                                                                                   AgriTech indiA  January 2018       9

         Suggestions for                                                                                 ‘Farm reforms, job


         India’s Seed Policy                                                                             creation to be priority’

                                                                                                                                 apprenticeship  training  and
          – Krishan Bir Chaudhary                                                                                                incentivising  employers  keen
                                                                                                                                 on  engaging  apprentices”)
                                    information and native                                                                       were  key  with  regard  to  job
                                    traits, or on varieties or                                                                   creation.
                                    traits stemming from                                                                            In  the  farm  sector,  the
                                    traditional/classical                                                                        plan is to ensure that farmers
                                    breeding, regardless of                                                                      are not just producers but are
                                    whether they are in older                                                                    part of the entire value chain,
                                    or newly bred varieties.   be incentivised and   not allow new genetic                       he said.
                                 •  Farmers’ rights over seeds   supported under the   engineering technologies                     The   government   is
                                    should be legally granted   PMPKY.              such as Oligonnucleotide                     compiling   a   list   of   all
                                    perpetually.         •  The government should   Directed Mutagenesis                         successful farm experiments in
                                 •  India was the land of over   set up an organic & native   (ODM), Zinc Finger                 the country that have resulted
              haratiya Krishak Samaj   2, 00,000 rice varieties;   seed exchange portal   nuclease, CRISPR/Cas,                  in  a  substantial  jump  in  the
              organised a seminar   today not even 2000     for farmers under the   etc in India.                                income  of  farmers  involved
          Bon November 27 at        varieties are grown in   ministry through which   •  All information and   Rajiv Kumar       in those projects, so that they
          India International Centre,   India. The government   farmers may become   patents related to      otwithstanding   a   can, in turn, be replicated and
          New Delhi. The following   should have program    aware of other native   development of any new  Ncomfortable  victory  in   scaled  up  through  about  ten
          resolutions were adopted   to conserve this rich   varieties and increase   GMO include the raw   Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh   pilot projects.
          as suggestions for the    biodiversity heritage.   their incomes by selling   data, should be made   polls, the NDA government at   In  the  exports  sector,
          Government’s Policy on Seeds   •  Each of the 17 Agro-  high quality native   accessible to the public   the Centre — taking note of the   the  government  is  studying
          & IPR.                    climate zones of the    varieties seeds.        and for other independent   BJP’s  lacklustre  performance   supply-side   constraints,
          •  Farmers have the first   country should have   •  After witnessing the   scientific analysis at least   in  rural  areas  in  Prime   especially the labour-intensive
            right on seeds. The     community owned seed    failure of Bt Cotton,   one year.            Minister  Narendra  Modi’s   ones,  with  a  view  to  increase
            government should       banks, which are owned   India’s first GM crop, the   •  All GM research being   home  state  as  well  as  the   employment.   Meanwhile,
            recognise this right as   by the farmers and    government should ban   funded by public money,   development  mandate  in  the   another   senior   official,
            paramount and ensure all   government. These should   Bt cotton seeds as they   should disclose all   hill state — will ‘prioritise and   requesting  anonymity,  said
            seeds remain in farmers   store the native varieties   have failed to decrease   technology, genes and   expedite  agricultural  reforms   “Unlike in the U.P. polls where
            hands.                  of the area and provide   the pesticide use or   other raw data to the   and  employment  generation’   the  BJP  scored  a  landslide
          •  Farmers should freely   the seeds as cheaper costs   increase production. They   public.    initiatives from now on.  victory,  voters  in  Gujarat
            have all rights to breed,   to local farmers.   have also been directly   •  Greater public resource                 have  given  a  complicated
            sell, exchange and buy   •  The Government further   responsible for the   should be directed to   ‘Reforms to continue’  message.  First  it  has  to  be
            seeds.                  to tackle problem of    creation of vast rural debt.   research, development   “This  victory,  in  the   analysed  politically,  and  then
          •  Government should      seeds should expand     A direct consequence has   and innovation of strains   backdrop  of  concerns  over   only discussions will begin at
            empower the Plant variety   the Pradhan Mantri   been the 310,000 farmer’s   and breeding techniques   demonetisation   and   the   a bureaucratic level for policy
            Protection and Farmer’s   Paramparagat Krishi   suicides in the India   that align with organic   implementation  of  the  Goods   reform actions.”
            rights act to ensure    Yojana to include a     since ’95. CICR-Nagpur   production, rather than   and  Services  Tax  regime,   The  official  added,  “But,
            that breeder rights’ are   program of participatory   Ex Director Kranthi also   genetic engineering.   is  a  huge  shot  in  the  arm   we are in a state of perpetual
            maintained, but at the   seed breeding with the   admitted the same.   •  Herbicide Tolerant (HT)   for  the  reform  credentials,   readiness  when  it  comes  to
            same time famers should   help of organic farmers,   •  The Ministry should   variety of seeds should be   reform  resolve  and  reform   reforms  and  on  any  policy
            not be forced to register   agriculture universities   accept the conclusion   banned and a permanent   reinforcement  of  the  [NDA]   including  on  Foreign  Direct
            their native varieties.   and regional agricultural   of the Parliamentary   moratorium should be put   government.  Therefore,  the   Investment.”
            No MNCs should be       departments. Each       Standing Committee on   on them.             reforms  will  continue,”  Rajiv   Yet  another  official,  also
            given breeder rights over   zone should have many   Science and Technology   •  HT GMO Mustard   Kumar,  Vice  Chairman,  NITI   asking not to be quoted, said in
            farmers’ evolved native   decentralised breeding   report 301 on “GM crop   should be banned and   Aayog, told.      the financial sector, the current
            varieties of seed.      centres that multiply and   and its environmental   never allowed to be   He  said,  “Priority  areas   priority  concerns  protection
          •  Seeds should remain in   breed native varieties.   effect” 2017 and ban GM   commercialized.   are likely to be the mission to   of the common man’s savings
            the Essential Commodities   •  As climate change is   crops.         •  An authority to check   ‘double the income of farmers   and  the  focus  was  hence  on
            Act, as over 60 percent of   causing disruption in   •  Enable and increase   contamination and genetic   by 2022’ as well as employment   the  Financial  Resolution  and
            Indian livelihoods depend   our agricultural produce,   efforts to provide   pollution a liability   generation in sectors including   Deposit  Insurance  Bill,  its
            on them.                government should start   safer, healthier, more   authority should be set   housing and exports.”  controversial  ‘bail-in’  clause
          •  No patents should be   the process of increasing   effective and sustainable   up under the polluter   Mr.  Kumar  added  that   and addressing concerns over
            given over seeds and    the sale of locally     alternatives to Bt Cotton   pays principle, which   revamping  of  the  National   depositors’  money  in  case  of
            Article 3 (J) of the Patent   produced native seeds   by ensuring conservation   criminally prosecutes   Skill Development Mission and   a  lender  failing,  as  well  as  a
            Act, 1970 should be     through co-operative    of biodiversity,        genetic polluters and   an  emphasis  on  the  National   proposed  law  at  the  Central
            empowered.              societies. Native seeds   documenting and       makes them responsible   Apprenticeship   Promotion   level to effectively regulate chit
          •  MNCs that transgress   have proven to stand    protecting indigenous   for the destruction   Scheme   (for   “promoting   funds and to prevent fraud.
            Article 3 (J) and extract   droughts, floods, climate   varieties and organic   of biodiversity and
            royalties claiming patents   change etc and are the   producers.        spreading poisons on
            should be heavy fined and   only option we have to   •  Support and reward   Indian fields.
            barred business in India.   make our farmers and   organic seed producers   •  The government in light
            The Indian government   farms climate proof.    and breeders with       of the pesticides deaths in
            should also take legal   •  To decrease dependence   policy and market based   Maharashtra ban Round-
            measures against them   on MNCs and chemical    incentives.             up and Basta.
            suo motto.              inputs, each village and   •  Establish GM-free zones   •  The government should
          •  No patents should also   block should have seeds   to conserve genomic   take cognizance of the
            be granted in the future   banks, compost units, cow   integrity, especially in   contamination of cotton
            on genetic resource,    shelters and processing   centres of origin of any   fields in Maharashtra
            which should remain     units for seed and other   given species. For India,   to Andhra Pradesh by
            freely exchangeable and   farm produce.         these should be applied   Monsanto with Roundup
            available to the farmers.   •  Organic and Native   to mustard, brinjal,   Ready Flex Bt. Cotton
            No patent should        Seeds Farmer Producers   sugarcane, rice, etc.   and start a criminal
            be given on genetic     Companies (FPO) should   •  The government should   proceeding against them.


          Farmers refuse to take out                                              Tea brands in West India have an

          potatoes from cold storage                                              edge over their national rivals


            eikh  Mofizul,  a  potato                                                umbai-based  Amar  Tea,   compared  to  HUL,  which   the  general  trade  to  beat  the
                                                                                                         still  has  weak  distribution  in
          Sfarmer in Purba Bardhaman                                             Mwhich makes the Society   Gujarat,”  says  Parag  Desai,   national leaders.  Director,
                                                                                 brand,  has  a  market  share  of
                                                                                                                                    Karan
                                                                                                                                           Shah,
          district  of  Bengal,  has  been                                       40  per  cent,  and  is  ahead  of   Executive Director, Wagh Bakri   Society Tea said: “We are now
          spending   sleepless   nights                                          FMCG  stalwarts  such  as  HUL   Group.         looking  at  our  Society  brand
          these days. He had lost about                                          and  Tata  Global  Beverages  in   The  Rs.  1,100-crore  tea   of teas like a start-up and will
          Rs. 2.80 lakhs he had invested                                         Maharashtra.            company  has  pitted  each   be giving the MNCs a run for
          in  potato  farming  with  the                                            The  family-run  company,   of  its  brands  against  HUL’s   their  money  with  our  one-
          price of the tuber plummeting                                          which  is  more  than  100  years   products.   minute  teas  and  other  FMCG
          owing  to  overproduction.  In                                         old,  is  now  setting  up  cafes   For   instance,   in   the   products. Today our shares of
          2016-17,  1.15  crore  tonnes  of                                      under  ‘Tea  Terminal’  as  it   premium  segment,  it  has  its   Society  tea  is  ahead  of  HUL’s
          potato  was  produced  in  the                                         believes it has a hold on the tea   own Good Morning competing   Red  Label  and  Tata  Global’s
          State  which  was  considerably                                        market in the State.    against  HUL’s  Yellow  Label   brand’s in the general trade in
          higher than the 90 lakh tonne                                             Another  regional  brand,   and  Taj  Mahal,  while  in  the   Maharashtra.”
          produced the previous season.                                          Wagh  Bakri,  a  market  leader   popular  segment,  it  has  Mili   According   to   Jagdeep
            “I   have   mortgaged   among  thousands  of  farmers   crop from the cold storage as   in  Gujarat,  with  a  45  per  cent   teas pitted against HUL’s Red   Kapoor,  Managing  Director,
          jewellery  and  some  of  my   incurring huge losses owing to   they did not have the money to   share, claims its distribution is   Label.  Samsika   Marketing
                                                                                                            “We  have  made  sure  that
          lands  for  growing  potato  this   the fall in potato prices. From   pay for the rent. One has to pay   more  robust  than  HUL  in  the   we have brands to compete in   Consultants: “Regional brands
          season  and  now  with  the  fall   the usual price of Rs. 14 per kg,   about Rs. 80 per sack of potato   State. It is also building its tea   every tea segment against HUL   are  in  a  position  to  grow
                                                                                 brand on the back of its 15 cafes,
                                                                                                                                 vertically  as  they  understand
          in  price,  I  have  no  way  to   the farmers were getting just Rs.   kept in the cold storage.  something  which  the  national   and  Tata  Global  Beverages.   the  taste  of  the  region  better
          retrieve the property,” Mofizul   1 this year. Apart from Purba   Accusing  the  Trinamool   brands have been unable to do.  With  our  reach  across  45,000   than  the  national  brands.  In
          told.  Having  lost  all  hopes  of   and   Paschim   Bardhaman,   Congress  for  the  crisis,  the   “We  have  been  market   outlets, we are by far the market   the  F&B  space,  it  is  regional
          retrieving  his  investment,  he   potato  was  cultivated  mainly   Pradeshik   Krishak   Sabha,   leaders  in  Gujarat  for  more   leader in the State,” said Desai.  products such as tea, spices and
          had  decided  not  to  take  back   in the districts of Hooghly and   peasant  wing  of  the  CPI-M,   than a decade, and my job is to   The  25-year-old  Society   to some extent even cigarettes
          the  4,500  kg  of  potato,  which   Bankura.  said it would burn potatoes at   make sure we can sustain these   Tea  brand,  from  the  Rs.  500   that  tend  to  dominate  with
          he had put in cold storage.  The  potato  farmers  were   Moshagram town.  shares.  Today  our  teas  have   crore Amar Tea, is also betting   their  brands  more  than  the
            Mofizul  was  just  one   unwilling  to  take  out  their            better quality and price points   big  on  its  extensive  reach  in   national players.”
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