Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wheat For The World

My Farm: PUSA HD 2733 Wheat Variety - a Director of Agriculture, Phillippines, visited us to see this.

By Manuwant Choudhary

India's Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is unfit for the top job for two reasons - he has never been a farmer nor has he ever been a businessman.

I recall Dr. Manmohan Singh as India's very successful finance minister in the early 90s at one of his last Bombay public meetings at the Indian Merchants Chamber said how his mission was that he had been unable to liberalise the agriculture sector.

I felt, like many other liberals, that Dr. Manmohan Singh was the right man to cure India of its problems.

But now looking back I have to admit that we were all wrong.

Dr. Singh is only a loyal Congressman, but he has no vision for India. Hence, it is not surprising that while India deals with `unacceptable' rates of inflation, the government simply has no solution to the price rise.

All that he knows is how to pump the taxpayers money into all the wrong places - from oil companies to public sector banks to NAREGA.

I got an opportunity to be a farmer for a season and there was simply no labour available. (They were all digging dirt when they could be harvesting wheat).

This compelled me to purchase a reaper instead and get the job done. There is simply no money in agriculture. You can call it subsistence farming where a farmer with small land-holdings grows potatoes to feed his family and maybe carry a sack to the market.

Its not surprising why farmers in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh have committed suicides in such large numbers.

And then there are city dwellers (including neo-liberals) who believe the farmers should also be taxed.

But I still hold agriculture to be India's main challenge.

India can feed the world and get rich while doing so.

But we must first get rid of socialism.

I wonder when will Bombay run for Freedom?

And we have been experimenting for long.

After the Bihar-Bengal famine in the early 1900s a very rich individual donated all his money to build a research centre in the poorest district of India - hence PUSA was built in Samastipur getting its name from Mr. Pitts of USA - to solve the food problem.

As an autonomous institute under British rule it did commendable research but after its take-over by the Government their experiments have been kept within their own laboratories. The farmers living near PUSA can be counted as the most backward in India.

But for a year now the scientists have begun working and want to see their experiments succeed on the farms as well.

We came in touch with Mr. Govind Singh, a very active young man originally from Gwalior - and he is the officer in charge of introducing zero-tillage method in Bihar (where one saves the cost of cultiavtion as well as retain crucial soil nutrients). Mexican levellers first level the fields completely so that the plants get uniform water.

So at my farm he introduced HD 2733 PUSA Wheat Seeds, which is not hybrid variety - but gives a high yield.

The photograph you see above is taken at my farm and a week ago the Director of Agriculture from the Phillippines came to see it - my farm has never looked so green.


Barun Mitra said...

Would very much like to know about the economics of your wheat growing efforts. India is typically among the world's largest producer in many crops - rice, wheat, sugar, cotton, onion, etc. But in terms of yield (kg/Hectare), we lag far behind in almost every corp.

Today, we are all very concerned about the shooting price of onions. The retail price of onion had doubled over the past month, to over Rs 60 per kg. But the yield of onion is a dismal, 16,000 kg/Hc (2008-09 season). While according to FAO, the yield in South Korea is over 65,000 kg/Hc, and in the US, it is over 50,000 kg/Hc.

indiavikalp said...

thnx barun,

yah am sure it will not be as high as the western countries but definitely better than average indian yields plus the farmer saves from the change in agriculture when you do sowing through zero-tillage the seeds are uniformly its better than traditional methods where the farmer would throw the seeds in the air, picked up by birds and squirrels !

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