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24 October 2014
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FARM MARKETS
Uttar Pradesh to set up 2000+ mandis
The State government proposes to reduce the distance that farmers must travel to take their produce to market to an average of 7 kms, and help boost farmers' incomes.
Agriculture Policy | U.P.
May 2011

CIVIL SOCIETY
The Anna Hazare phenomenon
The television cameras and news reports tell us how dramatic the India Against Corruption campaign's rise to national consciousness has been. The story of how it unfolded is even more interesting.
Society
April 2011

OBITUARY
The Norman Borlaug I knew
"When people fail to recognise farmers' role in feeding the country, be sure there is something terribly wrong happening", he once told me.
Food security | History
September 2009

OPINION: FOOD SECURITY
Food for all? Not through the NFSA.
The National Food Security Act proposes to lower ration prices, but would also reduce the quantity of grain that is given to each family.
Food security
July 2009

         

OPINION
New language, old crisis
It is ironic that 'Conservation Agriculture' the new wave from agriculture scientists, requires so much new technology, and focuses so little on existing knowledge of conservation techniques.
Agriculture
March 2009

ECONOMY
Corporates look for rural gold
Business honchos are descending on the rural markets, expecting to make a killing from whatever is left in the pockets of India's poor, led by an NCAER forecast of robust sales growth here.
Economy
January 2009

OPINION
A stimulus package for farmers?
With 60 per cent of India's population directly engaged in agriculture, the real stimulus to the economy can come only if the focus shifts to agriculture.
Agriculture
December 2008

TRADE IN AGRICULTURE
Outsourcing food production
The political economy of food is being rewritten, with countries and companies moving to acquire large tracts of farmland and secure their interests.
Trade in Agriculture | Food security
November 2008

GM FOODS
Pause before you eat
The Bt gene in brinjal does not increase productivity. But what it is surely about to do is bring India's first genetically altered food grop to your dining table.
GM Foods
September 2008

US FARM BILL 2007
Protection at home, preaching abroad
In clear disregard for the ongoing multilateral negotiations, the United States is attempting to protect its already heavily fortified agriculture further.
Agriculture trade
September 2007

IMPORT SCRUTINY
Weeding out wheat
US participation in India's wheat procurement cannot be at the cost of India softening quarantine standards.
Agriculture trade
June 2007

ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
Growing credibility gap
Purdue University and the World Bank are cleverly using economic models and simulated 'welfare gains' to push for market access in developing nations.
Trade
April 2007

TEXTILES AND COTTON
Lessons from the cotton debacle
For 40 years, nearly 17 million cotton growers have been subsidising the textile industry. If only these farmers had got the right price for the cotton they produced, the number of their suicides would have been far less. Instead, cotton prices have been on a steady decline thereby acerbating the farm crisis.
April 2007

WTO DOHA ROUND
Under pressure, India makes U-turn
At a two-day international seminar on "Saving Doha and delivering on development" that concluded at New Delhi on 13 March, India's Commerce Minister Kamal Nath provided ample evidence of India's willingness to go along with the rich and industrialised countries.
Trade
March 2007

FDI IN RETAIL
Big box retail will boost poverty
The Prime Minister, citing no credible evidence, says small shopkeepers will not be hurt by the entry of large foreign retailiers into the country. His party president, on the other hand, is asking him to go slow on this front. Will this lead to a different course in the government's thinking, or is this simply a smoke-screen.
Poverty
February 2007

SEZs
The new Maharajas
What is it like to be a modern-day Indian prince? With the proliferation of Special Economic Zones everywhere, the laws of the land are being redefined to bring in the reality of the royal tag for the rich and beautiful. For the rest of the country, sub-Saharan Africa is the only comparison.
December 2006

POLICY
Reviving Agriculture
In what appears to be a desperate move to prop up agriculture growth, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called for reversing the declining trend in investment in agriculture. But his approach may end up compounding the already existing crisis, writes Devinder Sharma.
Agriculture policy
November 2006

TRANSGENICS
Has the Bt cotton bubble burst?
Cotton farmers around the country are following Andhra Pradesh's lead in skipping both pesticides and Bt seeds. And there are no pests. Why? There are 28 predators of the American bollworm, cotton's main enemy. If you stop spraying pesticides, these beneficial insects devour the bollworm, notes Devinder Sharma.
GE/GM
October 2006

GLOBALISATION AFTER 9/11
The 'Free trade' explosion
With the World Trade talks in limbo, the focus remains on aggressively pushing on the bilateral front. What could not be achieved through a multilateral trade regime, is now being pursued by the US through bilateral and regional deals. Devinder Sharma connects the dots.
Trade | Devinder Sharma
September 2006

WTO HONG KONG MINISTERIAL
Much ado about nothing
For the sixth time in a row, the trade ministers of the developing world have been duped to believe that agricultural trade is for development. Despite making loud noises and fuming over injustice, the faulty framework that underlies the WTO remains very much in place, says Devinder Sharma.
Agricultural trade
December 2005

WTO NEGOTIATIONS ON AGRICULTURE
Theatre of the absurd
How can 'drastic cuts' in trade subsidies lead to no reduction? Simple: fudge the language. Economic jugglery and clever wording cannot, however, conceal the horrible effects of US and EU subsidies on livelihoods and food security in the developing world. The G-20 must simplify the terms of trade.
Agriculture Trade
November 2005

AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGIES
The politics of farm technologies
Much of the agrarian crisis is the result of unwanted and cost-intensive technologies that have been forced on the farmers. Scientists were unknowingly trying to promote the commercial interests of the seed, tractor and the pesticides industry. And we don't need to repeat this error.
Agriculture Policy
October 2005

GENE PATENTS
Rice in a private grip
Swiss biotech corporation Syngenta has tightened its monopoly control over rice. Seeking global patents over thousands of genes in rice, the multinational based in a country that produces no rice itself, is set to own the world's most important staple food crop.
GE/GM crops
September 2005

G-8 SUMMIT
Who will make hunger history?
With an estimated 24,000 people succumbing globally to hunger every day, more than 120 million people could perish by the year 2015 from this shameful scourge. In Gleneagles, however, the leaders of the world's richest economies did not even provide lip-service to the hungry and malnourished.
August 2005

KALAM AND SWADES
Conflict of approaches
President Kalam's vision for rural development is at odds with Ashutosh Gowariker's Swades where Shah Rukh Khan charts a simple location-specific path to village development. The two different routes to achieving the same objective bring out the conflict in our understanding of the rural crisis.
June 2005

AGRICULTURAL SUBSIDIES
Hold economists accountable too
Eight months before the upcoming WTO ministerial of December 2005, prominent economists are closing ranks to dwarf sustained criticism of agricultural subsidies in developed nations. Devinder Sharma asserts that the continued undermining of food self-sufficiency in developing nations is economic lunacy.
Trade in agriculture
April 2005

BT COTTON
No pesticides, no Bt cotton, no pests!
6 years ago, Punukula village in AP was no different from many other cotton farming regions. Pesticide overuse and environmental poisoning were rampant, and so were pests. But by 2004, the village had successfully charted a simple escape route. Devinder Sharma looks at the lessons.
Andhra Pradesh | GE/GM
March 2005

NEW FOOD LAW
Food safety bill may hurt hawkers
The central government has proposed the Food Safety and Standards Act to 'harmonize' existing food laws. Devinder Sharma agrees the old exploitative laws must go, but says the new bill may deliver unfair advantage to the food industry over dhabas and hawkers.
Consumers | Health | Laws
February 2005

REROUTING FARM SUBSIDIES
Ahluwalia echoes World Bank's line
At a conference on the eve of the 2005-06 Budget, Planning Commission vice chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said he is advocating redistribution of farm subsidies into road construction and improving land use. Devinder Sharma warns that Ahluwalia continues to bank upon the World Bank's flawed understanding.
Agriculture policy
January 2005

STANDING UP TO TSUNAMI WAVES
Tsunami, mangroves and market economy
The Tsunami of 26 December did not invade several coastlines around the Indian ocean to the degree it did many others because of mangroves and coral reefs. Mangroves offer double protection, but India has seen their rampant cutting down in favour of tourism and shrimp farming, says Devinder Sharma.
Forests | Tsunami relief
January 2005

PATENTS AMENDMENT
Death knell for low cost medicines
Medicine prices nationwide are likely to go up soon, including at public hospitals and dispensaries. Domestic manufacturers will withdraw critical but cheaper medicines as India gets ready to fulfill WTO obligations. Devinder Sharma argues that this is the beginning of a scientific apartheid.
Economy | Health
December 2004

EU AGRICULTURE SUBSIDIES
Entitled to subsidies!
According to the European Union's plans for agricultural reforms, subsidies received by farmers will now become their entitlement until 2013. The big businesses that get most of these subsidies are quite happy; meanwhile the subsidies continue to create starvation and death in the developing world, notes Devinder Sharma.
Trade in Agriculture
October 2004

Against the grain
Every time new procurement prices are set, an impression is generated that the increase in prices will send the economy into a spin. But compare the cost of agriculture subsidies to government salaries or the cost of trade policies that favour imports over domestic produce, and one sees a different picture, says Devinder Sharma.
August 2004

Faulty frame, savage reality
If you raise the price of your product and offer a discount on the higher price, some people will get taken in by such 'sales'. The WTO has just pulled off this kind of scheme, and negotiators from developing countries, India included, have much to answer for. Devinder Sharma dissects the newest deal on trade in agriculture.
Trade in Agriculture
August 2004

Tax India, fail Bharat
The agriculture sector requires massive public investments. But to say that such investments have to be made through credit reforms alone is step-motherly treatment. Devinder Sharma points out the deeper flaws in the thinking behind Budget 2004-5.
Opinions | Devinder Sharma
July 2004

The policy has no clothes
Farmers' suicides will end when policy makers, agricultural scientists, academicians and even the civil society groups first accept the fundamental flaw that forces farmers to their deaths - their misplaced faith in inudstrial farming. Devinder Sharma says the proposed relief measures won't have the desired effect.
Agriculture Policy
July 2004

Once again, fooling the world
Removal of agricultural subsidies should be a pre-requisite to further movement on the WTO agricultural negotiations. The current proposals from negotiators in the developed countries completely sidesteps this, and instead tries to cement their personal legacies.
Trade in agriculture
June 2004

India becoming a GM trash bin?
A casual approach to regulate the most-controversial technology is seeing India becoming a favoured destination for the biotechnology industry that is virtually on the run from the US, European Union and Australia. Devinder Sharma on the recent approval given for commercial growth of another Bt cotton variety.
GE/GM issues
April 2004

Rural poor to pay for urban elite
New Delhi's policy-makers are busy bartering the millions of jobs in agriculture for the far fewer ones with outsourcing firms in the cities. Devinder Sharma is dismayed that the government of India doesn't protect the economic interests of its own citizens.
Trade
March 2004

Devinder Sharma is an award-winning journalist, writer, thinker and researcher respected for his views on food and trade policy. His writings focus on the links between biotechnology, intellectual property rights, food trade and poverty. He is a regular contributor to leading national print publications.

RECENT RELEASE Click to read the back cover

EARLIER ARTICLES

- Rice is now Oryza syngenta
- Turning farmers into brokers
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- Not much to feel good about
- Busy exploiting hunger for GM
- Charity in the name of science
- Flogging a dead horse
- Rigged results, failed promises
- No GM please, we are British
- WTO: End of the road?
- The great trade robbery
- Man and cow - a new equality of species
- Disquiet before Cancun
- 34 universities, 81 institutes, failure
- Abandoning agriculture
- From Pomato to Protato
- Eliminating hunger or the hungry?
- Pests, pesticides and science
- Making agriculture attractive
- A scientific fairytale
- Supressing criticism
- Zero Tolerance to Farm Subsidies
- The GM potato hoax
- Feeding the farmers
- Produce and Perish
- More food, more hunger
- Patently absurd - atta's turn
- Fighting hunger
- It's mustard, this time
- ICAR lapses into a coma
- Drought - lessons from America
- Famine as commerce
- Drought - a case of mistaken priorities
- The great genetic scandal
- The hungry will have to wait
- Another tool for biopiracy
- A tale of two dons
- The stains of a revolution
- Budgeting against the farmer
- The algebra of poverty
- UNenthical behaviour?
- Clash of civilisations
- WTO (We Take Over)
- Stepping on a booby trap
- Free and fair trade?
- Starving the world of good sense

 

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