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impact of WTO and situation indian agriculture

impact of WTO and situation indian agriculture

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WTO & Agriculture Labour Paper for JSK

(A CED Documentation -compiled for Jan Sangati Kendra by Veena, Nalini, Ajith and John)

Table of contents

1. Development of Indian Agriculture 2. Indian Agricultural Policy & The WTO Regime 3. The Political Economy of Agricultural Modernisation & Liberalisation 4. Agriculture Labour - Situation in India 5. State of Organisation of Agricultural Labour in India

Post independence, population was growing at a much faster rate than food production. This is called for drastic action to increase yield. The action came in the form of the Green Revolution involving expansion of farming areas, double cropping existing farmland using irrigation and using High Yeilding Variety (HYV) Seeds. (Why Green Revolution -by Saby Ganguly )(Enclosure 1)

The 'Green Revolution' of the 1960s was confined to the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh, and to strategic crops, mainly wheat and rice. Over 70% of the country's farmland remains rainfed, whilst a significant proportion of agricultural land (150 million hectares) is now classified as 'wasteland'. (iuf) The liberalisation of the Indian agricultural economy started in 1991. The major impact has been the shift from "lower value" or subsistence food crops to higher value cash crops (like cotton or oilseeds) (iuf). The percentage Share of Cropped area in wheat, condiments, fruits pulse went up while Jowar, coarse cereals, sugarcane went down in 1997-98 compared to 1996-97 ( Table showing distribution of crops 9697, 97-98) (Enclosure 2) Even with a crop like Cotton, Dastakaar Andhra has shown that state policy is

http://www.doccentre.org/docsweb/WTO-AGRICULTURELABOUR/ (1 van 15)8/15/2006 10:29:50 AM

the plant variety protection regulations will scotch a market in second and subsequent generations. A good prospect for wheat has been attributed more to the projected decline in the area under wheat cultivation in the United States. Population Growth and Agricultural Development in India) (Enclosure 5) SEEDS The Indian seed industry is expected to grow very rapidly in the coming years. But a number of farming experts and organisations reject this logic. Thus resulting in higher agriculutral output alongwith increased farm income. population growth may act as the initial point of departure for (a) increased demand for agricultural products. rise in farm output and income would induce demand increases at higher rates for non-grain higher value crop and noncrop (eg dairy . fishery. (Sudhin Mukhopadhyay. they also maintain crop varieties that are a source of genetic diversity for the world's plant breeders and genetic engineers. and (b) increased supply of agricultural labour. Secondly. Even with these trends. seed companies underline that it costs them between $30 and $ 100 million to develop a high-yielding genetically engineered seed variety.doccentre.org/docsweb/WTO-AGRICULTURELABOUR/ (2 van 15)8/15/2006 10:29:50 AM . Critics of terminator technology also argue that poor farmers in the tropics not only produce 15 to 20 percent of the world's food supply . there will be increased use of transgenic crops which are produced only by those companies which can meet the high development costs. Table on Target Growth rate in Value of Output of Agriculture).WTO & Agriculture Labour Paper for JSK in fact giving higher subsidy to cotton required for the big industry.Moveover. ) (Enclosure 6) In defending the Technology Protection System(TPS). which is prevalent in most developing countries. the target of growth rate of the value of wheat output is likley to come down . (Vandana Shiva & Tom Crompton. This in its turn would lead to a series of changes in the agricultural scenario of the country" -higher yield per unit if technology is land saving. whereas different relative rates of labour and capital intensity under labour saving technologies night lead to higher labour productivity also. There are several grounds for expecting that the seed industry will coalesce under the control of a few large companies with foreign interests. Due to low income elasticity of demand for foodgrains and lower value crops. Economic and Political Weekly. The present system of seed saving. Thirdly. Livestock. Tea and Coffee. 1998. meat) agricultural products. smaller companies will find it increasingly difficult to compete because the market is fickle.. at the cost of type of cotton required for handloom or weaver based textiles. Firstly hybrid seed is produced principally by large companies and its use is set to increase following the decline of the public sector for various reasons.22 % whereas the target value of production of cash crops like Sugar cane is planned to go up. (Dead-end seeds yield a harvest of http://www. the IXth Five Year Plan essentially plans for increasing cash crops compared to foodgrains and essential commodities. Over the next two plan ie in the XI th Plan. Monopoly and Monoculture : Trends in Indian Seed Industry by Vandana Shiva. (More on Wheat in India) (Enclosure 3) Also refer to Macro-economic overview of India: Agriculture (Enclosure 4) Population & Agriculture development "At given levels and distribution of income. September 26. makes it difficult for them to gain sufficient returns on their investment. Similar is the case of Fruits & vegetables.

Dave. lowering the sperm count of applicators. PMFAI. 1999. 29 July 2001. around 75 percent is accounted for by insecticides. TWN features. the high prices of HYV cotton crops encouraged tens of thousands of small and marginals farmers in the region to shift from traditional food crops to cotton. fertilisers and pesticides which was possible for the small peasants of Telengana only through loans typically secured with their land or the gold ornaments of their wives. neurological and skin disorders. All over the world better crop protection is used and here the government discourages the use of pesticides". It is to fill this policy vacuum for environmental safeguards that citizens worldwide are calling for a fiveyear moratorium on genetic engineering in agriculture. [C. in the thousands of homes. 2000) [J.D73. 18/05/1999. cardiopulmonary. By switching to the cotton meant costly investments in seeds.[C. Now. (Pestcides and Health Risks by Dinabandhu Bag.less than 800gm per acre against 16 kg per acre in the U. President. A pall of despair and shocks lies over the region today. Economic and Political Weekly.:K34a. Of the total market.0900EPW3381] (Enclosure 10) The Indian pesticide industry is the fourth largest in the world. Pesticides kill peasants instead of pests.S. Economic and Political Weekly.K34a. "Pesticides consumption in India is low.180599TWN ) (Enclosure 12) The food we eat today contains a concoction of banned and restricted chemicals like DDT. Pioneer. The FDA doesnot look at the safety of Bt-crops since such crops are treated as a pesticide. the soil would deteriorate beyond redemption and that the multinational corporations would have a complete control over agriculture of Punjab. March 6-13. September 16. (Globalisation and Threat to Seed Security: Case of Transgenic Cotton Trails in India by Vandana Shiva. and Chairman and Managing director. ( Anita Kanekar. The EPA which is supposed to look at safety of pesticides treats genetically enginnered crops which produce pesticide as a conventional crop. There is. Ashok Emani and Afsar H Jafri.20032001PIO] (Enclosure 9) PESTICIDES The promotion of high yielding varieties(HYV) that marked the green revolution has led to the largescale use of chemicals as pesticides. dreams lie shattered amidst the ruin of thousands of families. ( Low capacity use dogs pesticide units by Ramnath Subbu. We want the government machinery to educate farmers about the use of pesticides through scientific programmes. Increase in the use of chemicals as pesticides can result in various health and environmental problems like pesticides poisoning of farmers and farm workers.org/docsweb/WTO-AGRICULTURELABOUR/ (3 van 15)8/15/2006 10:29:50 AM . The Fears of Monsanto. etc. The Indian Legal Framework has to anticipate consequences that may follow and take anticipatory steps to ensure that the small farmer and the consumer have adequate of the law. said Mr.. where at least 180 debt-ridden cotton farmers committed suicide in a short spell of just 3 months. . therefore no agency guaranteeing the safety of genetically engineered crops. miscarriages. Aimco Pesticides Ltd. recently. UNESCO courier journalist) (Enclosure 7) Biotechnology and genetic engineering in agriculture is evolving in a total regulatory vacuum. [C.doccentre.29072001H] (Enclosure 11) Over the past decade.Pradeep Dave.. foetal deformities. K34b.) (Enclosure 8) There are pleas for rejecting biotechnology/Gm seeds on the grounds that after the first few years of good crops. According to Mr. ( Sanjiv Chopra. 20/03/2001.WTO & Agriculture Labour Paper for JSK revolt by Ethiranjan Anbarasan. The Hindu. benzene http://www.

K34a. Business Standard. As far as farmers rights is concerned. Hindu. The draft bill however essentially maintains the same provisions on breeder rights. use. exchange.121099BS] (Enclosure 14) Irrigation Irrigation has been seen as a panacea for agricultural growth. This was earlier rejected by India. The Kosi canal system provided no irrigation water and increased vulnerability to flood. By adopting the IPM technology on rice. they have not only saved on pesticides but also improved conditions for restoring the ecological balance in this rich agricultural belt. dieldrin. and the increasing availability of high yielding seeds offered possibilities for agricultural development. The Kosi canal irrigation system was under construction across village lands. which eventually found their way into humans through the food chain. Tasting Toxic. there are other reasons as well for the failure of interest in this technology to endure without official patronage (Going off pesticides. Besides the lack of necessary follow-up action on the part of the promoters. It left behind enormous toxic loads of contaminants in the environment. The use of a biochemical is often the same as what is traditional to local communities somewhere. A Passage to Bihar. However.Tewolde Egziabher) (Enclosure 16) The introduction of plant variety protection imposed by Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) forces all states to conform with existing practices of granting breeders' rights ny allowing registration of "essentially derived varieties" which could be previously commercialised by anyone. lindane and many others. Agricultural development was limited. And the food is their route to the human body. 12/10/1999.org/docsweb/WTO-AGRICULTURELABOUR/ (4 van 15)8/15/2006 10:29:50 AM . most of whose genes are now in laboratories in the west. (Rajesh Rangarajan. share or sell their farm produce of a protected variety. the act does no more than protect the farmers right to save. The BIHAR TIMES ) (Enclosure 15) PATENT AND PRIVATISATION OF GENES The Person who discovers a gene is. Most projects however are notorious for not fulfilling its planned target or cost beneficial level performance. (Gerry Rodgers.K34a. It does not take into account that Indian farmers have traditionally been breeders of new varieties from the existing traditional stock. 5/04/2000 [C. is it not then plagiarism? Is the patent office that has allowed it then not legalising robbery? (Patenting life is owning life by Dr. The Indian Government indicated that it wanted to devise its own legislation for the protection of plant varieties. 25/02/2001. It all began with the Green Revolution. conferred ownership of it a patent ! In patenting life is owning life. Plant Variety Protection Act and TRIPS agreement by Philippe Cullet.doccentre. the farmers gave up this practice and reverted to pesticide use soon after the projects under which they took to it were over. But in 1981.25022001NIB] (Enclosure 13) India had adopted the environment-friendly integrated pest management (IPM) approach for combating pests and diseases as a cardinal principle of its plant protection strategy way back in 1985. aldrin. which saw indiscriminate use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. If a company patents that traditional use as its own invention. http://www. in most cases. in effect.WTO & Agriculture Labour Paper for JSK hexachloride (BHC). we found the situation little changed.New Indian Express. The rational were that food security is a basic need whose fulfillment should not be governed by private commercial interests and that information in agricultural management had always been shared freely among farmers and the farming community. [C. [C. Result : functional disorder and disease.

It also calls for public ownership of a country's biological resources in order to stop bio-piracy and establish the rights of of local communities. Policies based on this approach are characterised by monocultures. They are sentient beings who serve human communities through communities through their multidimensional role in agriculture. Gene Campaign is a national level organisation in India .org/docsweb/WTO-AGRICULTURELABOUR/ (5 van 15)8/15/2006 10:29:50 AM . The new livestock policy has been framed in this paradigm of machines and monocultures. in remote areas and processed in cooperative owned plants.either milk or meat. particularly women. sustainability and equity. in which dairy accounts for the lion's share.) (Enclosure 19) DAIRY INDUSTRY Hitherto development of dairy has concentrated on Cooperatisation. Consequently the pressure is on the small farmer. The biological wealth of developing nations is under attack from MNCs who are demanding patent rights as an instrument of access and control for one of the most sought after raw materials of the world. commitments on market access. a la AMUL. some heavily subsidised. concentration and centralisation. On the other hand. DAIRY The indigenous approach to livestock is based on diversity. It opposes the privatisation of the world's genetic resources and is working to help secure the rights of the custodians of these resources: tribal communities and farm men and women of the developing countries. decentralisation. (Enclosure 18) AGRI-BUSINESS SECTOR Today. It is serious attack on principles of diversity. extemally driven projects.05042000H] (Enclosure 17) Gene Campaign has been lobbying against the government's draft of the sui generis legislation and proposing recognition of farmers as breeders.A policy of ecocide of indigenous cattle breeds and A Policy of Genocide for India's Small Farmers by Dr. non-sustainablity and inequality. recognition of bio-resouces as an economic resource and a Community Gene Fund. programmes and policies emerging from industrial societies treat cattle as one-dimensional machines which are maintained with capital intensive and environmentally intensive inputs and which provide a single output . so that the milk is produced in by small farmers. (The new Livestock policy . about one fourth of the GDP in agriculture is accounted for by the allied sectors.WTO & Agriculture Labour Paper for JSK K34b. Our cattle are not just milk machines or meat machines. decentralisation. literally squeeze the milk out of their cows. Factory style operations as developed in EU countries and New Zealand.doccentre. The WTO provisions force liberalising trade and government policies to augment world import demand for dairy products. and pose a threat as they could dump excess production at cheap rates. Vandana Shiva. reduction of domestic support and subsidies on exports for the removal of distortions in the domestic market. http://www. sustainability and equity in the livestock sector.

For antiaquaculture activists. Aquaculture Floods Indian Villages. (Enclosure 24). and users.April-June 2001) (Enclosure 21) Aquaculture Shrimp cultivation is sweeping India like one of the cyclones that occasionally pummels communities along the country's 4.WTO & Agriculture Labour Paper for JSK The cost of production of milk in India is close to the lowest in the world. namely.)Varsha Varde. Protests over aquaculture in India -by Martin Khor. Traditional Indian companies in this sub-sector of agricultural inputs have become a soft target for MNCs. lifting import restrictions. Financing Agriculture . In 1994 and 1995. These homegrown companies may soon become amenable to agree to let the MNCs use their marketing and distribution network which they painstakingly created and developed over decades. the ban buys time to strengthen the opposition movement. Reminiscent of the "Green Revolution. will find low cost acquisition of these networks extremely useful in facilitating their smooth entry in this vast and diverse market. Financing Agriculture . proponents have dubbed India's explosion of export-oriented shrimp farming as the "Blue Revolution". particularly the new entrants. ( WTO and its impact on Agri-Business Sector by Dr.(Mrs. high profitability and a strong international market have all contributed to the country's aquaculture boom.by Gary Cohen (Enclosure 22) Liberalisation of the economy.doccentre. cooling equipment etc. ( Support Protests against Industrial Aquaculture in India). This development has dangerous consequences for the environment. (How the financial interventions can reduce the impact of WTO on Indian dairy by Shiv Kumar Gupta. but the prices of dairy products are among the highest. They can now influence Indian farmers more effectively with more products in their armory without fear of imitation. "The temporary ban by Supreme Court's order on shrimp farm construction offers hope that their traditional livelihoods will be spared amid India's rush to transform its economy into one dominated by exports and transnational corporations. a trade worth US$1 billion. To stem the international onslaught.030 kilometer coastline. shrimps constituted about 70% of the seafood exports to the United States. farming communities.April-June 2001) (Enclosure 20) AGRI-BUSINESS WTO has come to the rescue of the MNCs in India in the form of a triple booster dose. They can freely import not only raw materials but also finished goods and they can prohibit their typically Indian counterparts from reverse-engineering their new innovative products." the fertilizer. indicating who has been licking the cream till now.org/docsweb/WTO-AGRICULTURELABOUR/ (6 van 15)8/15/2006 10:29:50 AM . reducing import tariff and imposition of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). MNCs. organize an international consumer boycott and prepare a legal case against further conversion of farmland into shrimp farms". the industry has called for the support of financial institutions to finance intermediary processing facilities like milking equipment.and pesticide-intensive commercial agriculture that has transformed the Indian countryside in the past 30 years. (Enclosure 25) http://www. (Environmental impact of shrimp culture by A Rajagopal) (Enclosure 23) The National Fishworkers Forum has been protesting the proliferation of such farms and also heavy trawling activity which is threatening the livelihoods of coastal peoples.

land. Our experiences teach us that the privatisation of land is leading to more debt. Under WTO: q q relaxation of quantitative restrictions non-tariff/phyto/sanitary by importing countries will expose Indian farmers to world market prices. This view feels that the Indian farmer will be jolted out of their "reverie" under the shadow of the protective cocoon of Government Support. We will not cede the ownership of our common heritage and the basis of all of our lives to the transnational corporate sector. The four major elements of the World Trade Agreement in the field of agriculture are: q q q q Market access Domestic support Export subsidies Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights For India TRADE LIBERALISATION is likely to open opportunities for exports. The patenting of life forms. water and genetic resources. The Challenge is to http://www.doccentre. The principles and policies of the WTO are based on Ricardo's concept of comparative advantage. which gives private ownership and control over genetic resources and even human genes. We are not fooled by the program to privatize land and water as a way of getting investment and development." Bangalore Declaration of the Via Campesina (Enclosure 26) INDIA'S AGRICULTURE POLICY and THE WTO REGIME : The World Trade Agreement of 1994 brought agriculture for the first time in world trade history within its policy framework.WTO & Agriculture Labour Paper for JSK Bangalore Declaration of the Via Campesina "denounce the policies of the World Bank. is absolutely unacceptable. the IMF and the other international institutions which fraudulently implement so-called `rural development policies' that are really designed to rob us of our common heritage . more hunger and more injustice for peasant families. The privatisation of natural resources is concentrating these common goods in the hands of the wealthy who use them for luxuries while basic needs are not met. We call for genuine and just agrarian reform.org/docsweb/WTO-AGRICULTURELABOUR/ (7 van 15)8/15/2006 10:29:50 AM . but poses threat of q q q stiffer competition greater uncertainties under new world order price fluctuations..

but they have not flooded the market because domestic prices remain lower. Liberalizing export controls and commodity prices has further reduced the urban bias against agriculture. At the same time. compared to the industrial sector. Target Growth rate in Value of Output of Agriculture During the Ninth Plan and over the Perspective http://www.3% and 5. ( see for basic features of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA). These targets have been determined keeping in mind the commodity-wise level of expected demand both domestic and external . 1999 WTO & Globalisation : Frequently Asked Questions. April-June 2001.) Indian Agriculture Policy Follows WTO The 1991 Economic reforms have begun a process of change. Financing Agriculture .doccentre. The gainers include farmers with the capital to buy new technology and inputs and those with the ability to switch to the production of cash crops that enjoyed higher prices over food crops. Quota etc. Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures. WTO Consultant) (Enclosure 27) Given the objectives of removal of the incidence of poverty and unemployment and of ensuring food and nutritional security.WTO & Agriculture Labour Paper for JSK q q q adjust the internal economy to external stipulations adapt according to external threats and opportunities balance the interest of farming community. The losers include the small farmers and landless labourers whose incomes declined as a result of mechanization. ( Trade and Development Centre : India Case Study .Inhouse Journal of Agricultural Finance Corporation Ltd. Dumping. The targeted annual growth rates in the value of agricultural output for the Tenth and Eleventh Plans are 5. The export sector has grown rapidly as a result of these reforms. there are signs of progress. Small farmers continue to be marginalized. the value of agricultural output is targeted to increase at annual rate of 4. they have resulted in hardships for many small farmers and the urban poor.5% in the Ninth Plan. 2001 & Oct.Inhouse Journal of Agricultural Finance Corporation Ltd. However. Liberalization has increased the price of inputs such as fertilizers significantly.org/docsweb/WTO-AGRICULTURELABOUR/ (8 van 15)8/15/2006 10:29:50 AM .Agricultureby Sidhhartha Prakash. JulySept. and explanations of concepts like Quantitative Restrictions. Wages have not increased and consumption levels have fallen as a result of growing inefficiencies in the public distribution system. Cairns Group. not everyone has benefited. Financing Agriculture . attaining a high growth reate in agriculture in the Ninth Plan. consumers and effective use of untapped resources The reforms have opened up trade in agriculture and given a boost to exports which have been growing at 20% per year since 1991. whose production has declined. Reference: Review of Agricultural Progress : Trends.and the domestic supply possibilities.1% respectively. Blue Box.-Dec. Although the pace and impact has not been as significant. Production has shifted away from food crops to cash crops such as fruits and vegetables which offer higher returns. Tariff. Blue Box. Imports are being allowed in. Developments and Outlook for Future by Bhaskar Barua.

64 3.75 4. which permits us to impose quantitative restrictions on the import of agricultural commodities.27 a) Foodgrain 3.75 3.07 2) Livestock 6.40 2. Frontline.16.00 6.00 6.30 5.05 3.01 7.63 8. Feb.04 8.36 a) Milk Group 7. Discussing the grave implications especially for millions of small and marginal farmers in India.16 c) Sugar Cane 4.82 3) Fishery 6.73 i) Rice 2.08 2.08 3.S. 2001.Issue 03. stockholding for food security. (Enclosure 29) http://www. investment subsidies and agricultural input subsidies for low income and resource poor families.50 8.85 5. as well as for those involved in small-scale agro-processing and agri-business activities.89 b) Meat & Poultry Group 7.00 7.07 d) Fruits & Vegetables 7. Swaminathan characterised the World Trade Agreement of 1994 as "an unequal and unjust trade bargain" for Indian agriculture.59 7.32 7.00 1." Several exemptions from the calculation of domestic support were provided.50 4.85 1.16 6. The two major categories are "Green" and "Blue" Boxes.doccentre. domestic food aid.07 ii) Coffee 5.73 ii) Wheat 3. M.00 4) Total Agriculture 4.54 4.93 5.16 6.89 e) Other Agricultural Products 2.org/docsweb/WTO-AGRICULTURELABOUR/ (9 van 15)8/15/2006 10:29:50 AM .10 -----------------------------------------------------------Taken "Food Requirement and Agricultural Growth" Extract from the Ninth Plan.64 iii) Coarse Cereal 2. (Enclosure 28) Prof.57 2.WTO & Agriculture Labour Paper for JSK Period (in Percentage) ------------------------------------------------------------Commodity IX Plan X Plan XI Plan ------------------------------------------------------------1) Agricultural Crop 3. he came up with the innovative and important suggestion that India should press for a "Livelihood Box.50 c) Other Livestock Products 2.04 of which i) Tea 5. Volume 18 .00 8.68 7. For a Livelihood Box.00 6. These include policies which provide services or benefits to agriculture or the rural community.50 5.20 2.82 4. Article 6.25 8.43 iv) Pulses 3.31 3.1 of the Agreement on Agriculture lists eligible items for inclusion under Green Box subsidies.50 7.66 b) Oilseeds 5.16 6. M S Swaminathan. 03 . where dispassionate analysis indicates that such imports will kill livelihood opportunities for small and marginal farmers and landless agricultural labour.

This basically means labour costs. In India.WTO & Agriculture Labour Paper for JSK Five years after the World Trade Organisation (WTO) came into existence. Karnataka). credit. early capitalist. fertilisers. to semi colonial systems. And yet. The Government's focus remains very clear. the Ministry of Agriculture is aggressively pushing for the second phase of reforms. Modernisation of Agriculture was to lead to changes in relations of production from a feudal system to capitalist mode. could make use of Government Support. This is because costs of inputs like seeds.. fertilizers have brought in. with food production increasing in the US and in the European Union. or mines contracting as in ( Samantha). undaunted by the negative fallout from the implementation of the WTO's Agreement on Agriculture. under the chairmanship of a known votary of the free trade paradigm. Sharad Joshi. is no longer a hidden agenda. India's march to complete dependency on food imports. Only the Big farmers. semi colonial. for instance. are getting globalised and thereby competitive. colonial influence and uneven development meant that complex relations developed. The entire effort of the free trade initiative is to destroy the foundations of food self-sufficiency so assiduously built over the years. Humanscape article) have been connected to pauperisation and indebtedness which so called government support in form of part subsidies for seeds.org/docsweb/WTO-AGRICULTURELABOUR/ (10 van 15)8/15/2006 10:29:50 AM . To them. All signs are that as globalisation of the agricultural http://www. In the US. therefore. or for captive plantation for Industry ( as in Birla Rayon. The marginal farmers have in fact been further marginalised under the new regime of modern agriculture and green revolution.doccentre. And Land? We are already seeing land alienation and displacement of local populations on an unprecented scale for development projects (as in Narmada for both power and irrigation). And incidentally. factors such as caste. It has already constituted a task force. The case for liberalisation of Agricultural Trade rests on two premises which have been contested. After all. the focus is only on how to find bigger and reliable markets for exports. mainly those who are producing for the market. to submit a report on the implications of WTO's Agreement on Agriculture on Indian agriculture by February next. transport etc. (WTO and Indian Agriculture: The End Result is Zero by Devinder Sharma) (Enclosure 30) POLITICAL ECONOMY OF AGRICULTURAL MODERNISATION & LIBERALISATION Historically. food production is slated to multiply in the years to come. pesticides. Some even see it as a "comparative advantage" where opportunity costs of production are low. all the real politic of trade issues are challenges to be overcome by what is being called the Emerging and Transitional Economies. agricultural exports are the second biggest export earner for America.. The new seed-fertilizer technology especially those arising from the Green Revolution has resulted in the increase in land rents and lower labour wages( in real terms). a) Increased Trade means increased economic growth b) Economic Growth promotes social well-being or vibrant civilisation. In fact most farmer suicides ( refer to article on suicides which connect to credit. the anticipated gains for India from the trade liberalisation process in agriculture are practically zero. During the mode of production debate in the 60s and 70s (Get articles) indicated the relations were characterised variously semi-feudal.

The view was put forward by Gail Omvedt. Does Productivity Growth in Agriculture Make the Rich Richer and the Poor poorer? Chapter 11: Impacts of Increasing Agricultural Productivity on Equity: The Case of the Green Revolution. and Kavita Philip). artisans are being marginalised. labour intensive agriculture to one which is dependent on its trade value in the market! Given population changes. and moving to the urban-rural contradiction. Omvedt's plea seem to ask for modernisation within the decentralised production and consumption paradigm. demand for and supply of labour shifts simultaneously. that liberalisation would free the farmers of internal (government & vested interest) controls. fishermen are loosing their livelihood. Despite robust critique of Omvedt's position (SAPs. (Enclosure 32) her plea for abandoning the traditional owner-worker contradiction based politics. led by Shard Joshi. Such a modernisation has been denied to the periphery as the State in the name of subsidies has paid for development of infrastructure. And once alienated. and pressure on land. She argues that the new social movements like the environmental movement. These movements are not organised around class but around overlapping communities. The continued use of export subsidies and other forms of domestic support for big agribusiness in the US and the EU allows massive dumping of underpriced agri-food products in developing countries. and ultimately for non-agricultural sectors to develop in tandem. needs to be taken into account. What is needed is for demand for labour (caused by more intense modern agriculture) to exceed growth in labour supply. hopefully will give a level playing field to the periphery to develop. Most civil society organisations especially NGOs has in response retreated to promoting the traditional and going back to earlier system. the women's movement and dalit and civil society organisations are voicing a new critque of the State and articulating new models of development. and is consolidating globally.doccentre. The New liberalised regime. {H&R. As the mainstream economy is firmly entrenched.WTO & Agriculture Labour Paper for JSK sector progresses. under which they have been suffering and not getting fair returns. More than anything else this reveals the logic of agricultural restructuring under the WTO. it is making deep inroads into the periphery. valued only in exchange rather than use terms! Thus the true meaning of Emerging and Transitional Economies is the transformation of a a by and large self-sufficient. (Enclosure 31) In India an unexpected supporter of reforms.org/docsweb/WTO-AGRICULTURELABOUR/ (11 van 15)8/15/2006 10:29:50 AM . At the same time access to markets in the South is secured through the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) imposed by the IMF and World Bank which have forced small farmers and peasants away from food selfsufficiency and sustainable agriculture. Tribals and farmers are being displaced from their lands to development and infrastructure projects. Therefore the importance of rapid diffusion of appropriate technology to offset the effect of growing population and labour force. Ciarán ó Faoláin.336}. technology and production support. came from Shetkari Sangathana. Dust.p. Hayami & Ruttan. The systematic destruction of local capacity for food self-sufficiency and sustainable agriculture through the http://www. and acting as a predator on the periphery. and Hot Air: Gail Omvedt and Liberalization by Balmurli Natrajan. land besides becoming alienated from local populations will be tradable. In many LDCs the shift in supply of labour has outpaced shift in demand caused by (slow) technological progress.

Economic Times. Tushar Mahanti.H10. IUF-A/P) (Enclosure 33) AGRICULTURAL LABOUR Agricultural labour households (ALH) are defined according to Rural Labour Enquiries as those that derive over 50 percent of their total household income from wage paid manual labour in agricultural activities.H10.org/docsweb/WTO-AGRICULTURELABOUR/ (12 van 15)8/15/2006 10:29:50 AM . Land reform might have acted as the catalyst for higher agricultural production.there were many more who did not share the benefits of land reforms directly. only 13 percent own above one hectare. This clearly shows that modernisation has resulted in alienation of land from the marginal rural labour households. The Left Front claims this achievement in agriculture as the result of successful implementation of the land reform policy. the proportion of rural labour owning land is as low as 6 and 12 percent respectively. 29/07/2001 [C. the agricultural labourers in the state are fighting a grim battle for survival where wages are concerned.an increase of 89 paise over five years.29072001ET] (Enclosure 36) http://www. and inputs .5 percent in 1991. 19/6/2000. But despite such bountiful agricultural production.2 percent in 1981 to 24.( Sowmya Sivakumar.67 in 1991-92 . Consider the experience of West Bengal: The state's remarkable rise in agricultural production is a common knowledge: total foodgrains production has increased steadily since the beginning of the eighties and has continued to do so in the nineties as well. Agricultural prosperity doesn't really reflect on labourers' life. Non Agricultural rural employment increase by 63 per cent from 22. Less than half the rural labour households have land.including seed .WTO & Agriculture Labour Paper for JSK consolidation of the power of agri-food TNCs. In states like punjab and Haryana where the green revolution has taken place and the areas most likely to go global. Tushar Mahanti. the World Food System. and of those who do. Share of agricultural labourers in the total main workers in the State has declined from 25.08092001ET] (Enclosure 34).5 % from Rs 13. There economic conditions have.19062000ET] (Enclosure 35) The average daily real wage for the State has increased by a marginal 6. ( The WTO.while importing heavily subsidised agricultural products that are the same as the traditional crops originally displaced. [C.47 lakh in 1991.78 in 1986-87 to 14. There has surely been improvement in economic conditions of those who were fortunate enough to share the vested land distributed in the countryside and also those who were registered as bargadars. Economic Times. Education Programme Organiser (Indonesia). Bengal farm labour gains little. Proportion of agricultural labour households on the rise. Overall. Orissa. with ever rising cereal prices. worsened further or stagnated at best. But then not every one was equally fortunate -. but it has not succeeded in changing the distribution pattern of such gains in favour of the rural poor. not proportional to increased agricultural prosperity.doccentre.42 lakhs in 1980 to 36. 8/9/01 [C. and the Politics of Harmonised Destruction by Gerard Greenfield.H10. where over 50% own land. The conversion of land use to non-traditional agri-exports creates a paradoxical situation of increased dependency on TNCs for access to markets and distribution. Rajasthan and UP. there was a significant increase in the proportion of such households over the two decades "73-74 to '93-94 in the 11 major states. Economic Times. as compared to so called backwards states of Madhya Pradesh. in fact.

Further the transfer of surplus labourers from the agricultural sector is so small that agriculture remained the principal reservoir of surplus labour. Subject to this floor. There are no unions in the unorganized sector and therefore no collective bargaining.29 1991 315. (for Legislation. The basic framework of wage policy. Ghosh's point to the slow growth of employment opportunities for the rural workforce (NSS survey). An Agricultural Workers Bill was prepared in 1997 but kept in the files. Policy.org/docsweb/WTO-AGRICULTURELABOUR/ (13 van 15)8/15/2006 10:29:50 AM . Neglect of the Agricultural Workforce) (Enclosure 38) Today. to what extent do labour legislation protect the Indian agricultural labourers? Despite as many as 12 legislation and 14 welfare schemes operating in the country (see box 1). Sadly. Schemes and Status of Agricultural Labour. is never enforced. developed in India. In 1999 another modified version of the bill was prepared and the story of negligence continues. The then Cabinet Committee just passed the bill and nothing has happened since then. lack of proper indexation and weak enforcement rendered statutory minimum wages http://www. the preparation is continuing but it is never tabled in Parliament. can be described as follows.69 1988 296. The ministry has envisaged alternative strategies such as creating ?Welfare Fund' by enacting yet another ?comprehensive' legislation for agricultural workers.72 Source: MANPOWER PROFILES /IAMRI (Enclosure 37) Ajith K.doccentre. Union Ministry of Labour while analysing the effectiveness of existing Acts and welfare schemes in its Annual Report for the year 1999-2000 pointed out that the existing Acts and welfare schemes have not adequately protected the interest of agricultural workers. UNORGANIZED SECTOR EMPLOYMENT ( MILLIONS) 1973 217. In fact. Irregular revisions.17 1994 344. The workers went on dharna in 1998 to pressurise the government to table the Bill. New Agriculture Policy favouring exports coming in and its effect on Labour and employment see: M V Srinivasan.WTO & Agriculture Labour Paper for JSK WAGE POLICY The unorganized sector is made up of jobs in fields in which the Minimum Wage Act is either not enforced at all or only marginally. Statutory minimum wages have been largely ineffective in influencing wages in unorganized sectors. wage determination in unorganized sectors was left to market forces. The government sought to set a floor to the price of labour in the entire economy by statutorily fixing minimum wages for workers in the unorganized sectors.48 1978 249. The legislation.46 1983 278. unless strongly backed by workers organisations on issue basis. the plight of agricultural labourers is pitiful.

NEW DELHI (Enclosure 39) STATE OF ORGANISATION There are only a few rural/agricultural worker's unions. Those who want to compete are being forced to use more fertilizers http://www. Another consequence of liberalization. The significance of the numerical preponderance of the non-industrial proletariat needs to be seriously considered.IUF(Enclosure 40) Implication on the labour Movement : firstly. It also indicates the low degree of socialization of production whose implications for the political programme of the working class need special consideration. secondly. Besides. their party political priorities either limit their capacity to organise democratically at the grassroots level or reduce their will to cooperate beyond their own immediate area or national trade union centre. minimum wages exist but are not enforced. Subramanian (Enclosure 41) Farmers are being encouraged to produce paddy and maize to cater to the needs of the growing middle class. national legislation for agricultural workers is weak or non-existent. When norms vary so much. It is obvious that there is a great responsibility on the workers of the more concentrated sectors to organise themselves and provide leadership to the large majority of unorganized workers. national legislation for agricultural workers is weak or non-existent. As a result. minimum wages exist but are not enforced. at the expense of basic food crops.org/docsweb/WTO-AGRICULTURELABOUR/ (14 van 15)8/15/2006 10:29:50 AM .N. They also have the responsibility of taking up the causes of the marginal farmers and tribal people and winning them over to the cause of socialist transformation. Objectives such as prevention of exploitation are much too vague to be useful. ( South Asian Research & Development Initiative (SARDI) Report-June 2001) (Enclosure 37) One of the Land and Freedom Report by IUF says that the traditional forms of trade union organisation developed in the formal sector simply do not work amongst workers who have no stable relationship with an employer. instead of the farmers. This in effect implies that capitalist development is yet to displace precapitalist forms of production and that socialization of production that forms the basis for socialist revolution is still a distant goal. there was no well-defined basis for fixing minimum wages. costs have risen for agricultural labourers. that petty producers (non-wage earners) account for nearly 40% of the productive population. Due to the poor quality of organisation. is that the margins of profits are going to markets. Thus.doccentre. and wages remain well below the secondary or tertiary sectors.WTO & Agriculture Labour Paper for JSK virtually irrelevant in practice. From Report of South Asia Multidisplinary Advisory Team (SAAT) of ILO. who are being marginalized. the production of staple crops has declined and prices have gone up. they cease to be norms. While incomes have declined. Where they do exist. Land and Freedom Report . Labour Movement in India as Reflected in the Indian Labour Year Book 1997 by C. It is not surprising that minimum wages varied widely across occupations in a state and across states for a given occupation. of all wage workers the industrial proletariat accounts for less than 11%.

[R. New Delhi.doccentre. in the form of the Agricultural Workers Act 1974 and Agricultural Workers Act 1986 respectively. overtime harvesting wages. This diversity provides us with the thousands of plants and animals needed for food.000 crore welfare fund for agricultural workers. 29/01/2000. and mechanisms for resolving disputes and registration of workers. rest period.K34b. medical aid. But plantations are expected to be excluded from its purview.29102000PIO]) (Enclosure 43) Communities everywhere have developed knowledge and found ways for deriving livelihoods from the bounties of nature's diversity. States of Kerala and Tripura have enacted laws for protecting agricultural workers long ago. The Bill also provides for fixing of working hours. medicine and shelter. [C. but this is causing soil erosion and salinization. old age pension.The Symbol of Farmers' Rights by Navdanya. to be financed through levies on agricultural products and processing of agro-food. ( Long Overdue Legislation by Anuradha Dutt. aid for housing and education. ( Agricultural workers representative : ?We continue to be marginalized? Mr. Chennaiya. initiated by the Union Labour Ministry. Women workers are to be barred from working after sunset. Secretary. Andhra Pradesh Agricultural Labourers Federation (Enclosure 42) The proposed Agricultural Workers Bill : The half hearted effort.H10. presses for the creation os a Rs. and possibly out of electoral compulsions.org/docsweb/WTO-AGRICULTURELABOUR/ (15 van 15)8/15/2006 10:29:50 AM . maternity benefits. to provide minimal assistance in cases of death or injury.WTO & Agriculture Labour Paper for JSK to boost production. The welfare fund is expected to be used as contingency fund. and premium payment for group insurance. Land owners will continue to have virtually no obligations to workers. 10.605] Other Documents http://www. ( Seed . The Pioneer.

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