Sunday, May 26, 2013

GET RICE OUT OF PUNJAB

Suman Sahai


I traveled to Ludhiana not so long ago to deliver a lecture at a well known academic institution there. My talk was about how climate change threatened our agriculture and food security and how urgently we needed to make agriculture sustainable. The discussion threw up many predictable responses about how taking steps towards “sustainable” agriculture would reduce farm incomes and could not be done. The farmers of Punjab are on a treadmill of targeting higher and higher yields, with no intention of getting off , never mind the cost. Their scientists are not giving them much help either, to break from destructive practices and get off the poison path.

The Punjab farmer is self destructing and harsh as it sounds, the cause is his greed, his unwillingness to settle for less. For the last 50 odd years, the farmers have mined all the nutrients from Punjab’s soils in unrelenting cycles of wheat followed by rice, followed by wheat cultivation. The non stop two and even three crop cycles per year ensured that the soil was never allowed to recover, yoked as it was to constant output. When all the nutrients got used up and the organic matter disappeared from the soil, the amounts of chemical fertilizers put into the soil, rose steadily every year, killing any semblance of  natural biological balance in the soil. The soil became hardened and died because all the good bugs and friendly worms that keep the soil alive and healthy, fell prey to overdoses of chemicals. When that happened , the application of urea , phosphates and potassium (the prescribed NPK formula) increased even further and the dead soil became merely an  inert matrix that held the chemicals which the growing plant could suck up. 

If the fertlisers killed the soil, the chemical pesticides slowly began to kill the farmers and their families. Enough has been carried in the media about the horrific phenomenon of the Cancer Train, the Abohar- Jodhpur passenger that takes cancer patients to Bikaner for treatment . Dealers of seeds and chemical inputs are selling ever increasing amounts of pesticides. In Abohar alone, dealers sell about 500 litres of pesticides every day. The tragic result is that there are on average, four to five cancer patients in every village in this region. Children struck by cancer are being taken for chemotherapy on the cancer train but the use of pesticides does not stop. The farmers of Punjab cannot dream of giving up the prosperity that their farms brought them, they do not seem to care about the cost.
My exasperation in the discussions with farmers there was with their attitude. True, debts are mounting because of the resource intensive agriculture they practice but even after seeing their families destroyed by disease and death, their attitude was that there is no choice. The vicious cycle has to continue because the farm must continue to produce more and more. Faced with such calamities as they are, one would imagine they would have the courage to break with business as usual, however hard that might be, and try to find a new way. But stepping back and taking a cut does not seem to be an option. The land must yield profits and it is expected of the government to find solutions.

One of the most perverse developments in Punjab  has been establishing rice as one of the two principle crops of the region which is a semi arid region where no rice was cultivated till well after independence. This region simply did not have enough water. Rice is essentially a crop of the wetter ,eastern part of the country which is also the birthplace of rice, its Centre of Origin. Then came the Green Revolution with its high yielding varieties and the Punjab farmer moved to make the most of this opportunity. Misled by their scientists who should have known better and by their politicians , all of whom were sons of the soil and should certainly have known their agricultural history, Punjab adopted rice and cultivated it with ground water. Its political leaders negotiated with Delhi that Punjab’s grain would be lifted for the central pool , thus ensuring a market for the produce.
Punjab which has less than 2 percent of India’s arable land, now produces almost fifteen percent of the country’s food grain. This is achieved  through a relentless wheat – rice double cropping pattern, with no rest for the fields to recover. There is a high, almost staggering  level of  inputs which the Punjab farmer pours into his fields in every crop cycle. This includes fertilisers, pesticides and water. The use of water in this essentially semi arid region has been a recipe for disaster but nobody in policy making seems to care or to have the gumption to do some straight talking to the Punjab farmers to move out of rice.

The water guzzling rice, a crop which was not even cultivated in this area till 1950, and should never have been allowed to be cultivated here, has become Punjab’s main kharif crop, soaking up groundwater at unsustainable rates , as it provides a large surplus for the central grain pool. Today, several studies show that Punjab is overdrawing its ground water by almost 50 percent every year. The groundwater is depleting rapidly, by as much as one meter every year in some areas. 

It is not just the kharif rice crop, Punjab has for years cultivated summer paddy which was planted in the blistering heat of summer much before the monsoons came. This crop could only be cultivated with an almost criminal level of groundwater use. Not surprisingly, this led to several blocks of groundwater in the Punjab being declared ‘black’ or irretrievably exhausted. It is only in the last few years that the cultivation of summer paddy has been  banned in Punjab, due to grave water concerns. It might have been done too late.

Punjab farmers will have to understand the trap they have created for themselves by committing themselves to the rice- wheat cropping patterns. They must work together with scientists, policy makers and farmers from other parts of India, to find solutions to the situation they find themselves in. Global warming and climate change are all set to destroy the wheat crop over the next decades. Wheat being an extremely temperature sensitive crop is particularly vulnerable to temperature rise. Its productivity will decline unless temperature tolerant cultivars are developed and deployed soon. This does not appear to be happening, or at least not fast enough. 

Diversifying the crop base and the kinds of varieties deployed must assume urgency. There can be no further cultivation of rice, not at least in the current manner. Biodiverse agriculture resting on a broad genetic base and investment in improving the severely degraded natural resource base must assume priority. Punjab farmers will have to step back from the intensive, ‘without- a- pause’ type of agriculture they have practiced these last 50 years and allow their land and water to recover . If they can scale back and build a new model of agriculture that is sustainable, they can enjoy a new lease of productive farming. 

13 comments:


  1. I am a private loan lender which have all take to be a genuine lender i give out the best loan to my client at a very convenient rate.The interest rate of this loan is 3%.i give out loan to public and private individuals.the maximum amount i give out in this loan is $1,000,000.00 USD why the minimum amount i give out is 5000.for more information contact us email finance2014911@gmail.com

    Your Full Details:
    Full Name :………
    Country :………….
    state:………….
    Sex :………….
    Address............
    Tel :………….
    Occupation :……..
    Amount Required :…………
    Purpose of the Loan :……..
    Loan Duration :…………
    Phone Number :………
    Contact email: finance2014911@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

  2. I am a private loan lender which have all take to be a genuine lender i give out the best loan to my client at a very convenient rate.The interest rate of this loan is 3%.i give out loan to public and private individuals.the maximum amount i give out in this loan is $1,000,000.00 USD why the minimum amount i give out is 5000.for more information contact us email finance2014911@gmail.com

    Your Full Details:
    Full Name :………
    Country :………….
    state:………….
    Sex :………….
    Address............
    Tel :………….
    Occupation :……..
    Amount Required :…………
    Purpose of the Loan :……..
    Loan Duration :…………
    Phone Number :………
    Contact email: finance2014911@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

  3. I am a private loan lender which have all take to be a genuine lender i give out the best loan to my client at a very convenient rate.The interest rate of this loan is 3%.i give out loan to public and private individuals.the maximum amount i give out in this loan is $1,000,000.00 USD why the minimum amount i give out is 5000.for more information contact us email finance2014911@gmail.com

    Your Full Details:
    Full Name :………
    Country :………….
    state:………….
    Sex :………….
    Address............
    Tel :………….
    Occupation :……..
    Amount Required :…………
    Purpose of the Loan :……..
    Loan Duration :…………
    Phone Number :………
    Contact email: finance2014911@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

  4. I am a private loan lender which have all take to be a genuine lender i give out the best loan to my client at a very convenient rate.The interest rate of this loan is 3%.i give out loan to public and private individuals.the maximum amount i give out in this loan is $1,000,000.00 USD why the minimum amount i give out is 5000.for more information contact us email finance2014911@gmail.com

    Your Full Details:
    Full Name :………
    Country :………….
    state:………….
    Sex :………….
    Address............
    Tel :………….
    Occupation :……..
    Amount Required :…………
    Purpose of the Loan :……..
    Loan Duration :…………
    Phone Number :………
    Contact email: finance2014911@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

  5. I am a private loan lender which have all take to be a genuine lender i give out the best loan to my client at a very convenient rate.The interest rate of this loan is 3%.i give out loan to public and private individuals.the maximum amount i give out in this loan is $1,000,000.00 USD why the minimum amount i give out is 5000.for more information contact us email finance2014911@gmail.com

    Your Full Details:
    Full Name :………
    Country :………….
    state:………….
    Sex :………….
    Address............
    Tel :………….
    Occupation :……..
    Amount Required :…………
    Purpose of the Loan :……..
    Loan Duration :…………
    Phone Number :………
    Contact email: finance2014911@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. AFFORDABLE XMAS LOANS

    Hello Everybody, here comes an Affordable Xmas loan Offer that will change your life forever, TESTIMONY ON HOW I GOT A LOAN TO CHANGE THE BROKE LIFE OF MY FAMILY My name is Mrs Clency Dexter. I live in USA Florida and i am a happy woman today? I told my self that any Loan lender that could change my Broke Life and that of my family, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to Them. They gave happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of $250,000.00 to start my life all over as a widow with 3 kids I meant this honest and GOD fearing loan lending company online that helped me with a loan of $250,000.00 U.S. Dollar, They are indeed GOD fearing People, working with a reputable loan company. If you are in need of loan and you are 100% sure to pay back the loan please contact them and please tell them that Mrs, Clency referred you to them. contact via E_mail: rathancharodloancompany@gmail.com

    AFFORDABLE XMAS LOANS

    ReplyDelete
  7. Are you in need of a loan? Do you want to pay off your bills? Do you want to be financially stable? All you have to do is to contact us for more information on how to get started and get the loan you desire. This offer is open to all that will be able to repay back in due time. Note-that repayment time frame is negotiable and at interest rate of 3% just email us. collinsfinanceoffer@gmail.com

    LOAN APPLICATION FORM
    1) Full Name:
    2) Gender:
    3) Loan Amount Needed:.
    4) Loan Duration:
    5) Country:
    6) Home Address:
    7) Mobile Number:
    8)Monthly Income:
    9)Occupation:
    )Which did you here about us.
    Best Regards.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello Everybody,
    My name is Mrs Sharon Sim. I live in Singapore and i am a happy woman today? and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to him, he gave me happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of S$250,000.00 to start my life all over as i am a single mother with 3 kids I met this honest and GOD fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of S$250,000.00 SG. Dollar, he is a GOD fearing man, if you are in need of loan and you will pay back the loan please contact him tell him that is Mrs Sharon, that refer you to him. contact Dr Purva Pius,via email:(urgentloan22@gmail.com) Thank you.

    BORROWERS APPLICATION DETAILS


    1. Name Of Applicant in Full:……..
    2. Telephone Numbers:……….
    3. Address and Location:…….
    4. Amount in request………..
    5. Repayment Period:………..
    6. Purpose Of Loan………….
    7. country…………………
    8. phone…………………..
    9. occupation………………
    10.age/sex…………………
    11.Monthly Income…………..
    12.Email……………..

    Regards.
    Managements
    Email Kindly Contact: urgentloan22@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Are you in need of a loan? Do you want to pay off your bills? Do you want to be financially stable? All you have to do is to contact us for more information on how to get started and get the loan you desire. This offer is open to all that will be able to repay back in due time. Note-that repayment time frame is negotiable and at interest rate of 3% just email: {abdullahmoses032@gmail.com}
    BORROWERS APPLICANT FORM
    Full Names:............
    Gender:....................
    Marital status:.........
    Contact Address:...........
    Country:........................
    State:..........................
    Age:...........................
    Monthly Income:..............
    Loan Amount:...................
    Duration of Loan:............
    Date Of Loan Needed:.............
    Weekly Income:....................
    Occupation:.........................
    Purpose for Loan:.................
    Phone Number:....................
    Personal Phone Number:.........
    Fax Number:......................

    ReplyDelete

  10. We are here to notify you at large of our globally recognized financial services and capital insurance,with 100% insurance benefit and at an affordable interest rate of 3% Our services are opened to customers from around the globe. To qualify for our LOAN SERVICE,contact us at trustfinancialservice@yahoo.com today for more information or call : +91-7219037911.

    ReplyDelete

  11. We are a Finance Industry Company professionals with over 15 Years Experience and a focus on providing Bank Guarantee and Standby Letter of Credit from some of the World Top 25 Prime Banks primarily from Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC,Credit Suisse e.t.c.

    FEATURES:
    Amounts from $1 million to 5 Billion+
    Euro’s or US Dollars
    Great Attorney Trust Account Protection
    Delivered via MT760, MT799 and MT103 Swift with Full Bank Responsibility
    Brokers Always Protected

    Purchase Instrument of BG/SBLC : 32%+2% Min Face Value cut = EUR/USD 1M-5B
    Lease Instrument of BG/SBLC : 4%+2% Min Face Value cut = EUR/USD 1M-5B

    Interested Agents/Brokers, Investors and Individual proposing international project funding should contact us for directives.We will be glad to share our working procedures with you upon request.


    We Facilitate Bank instruments SBLC for Lease and Purchase. Whether you are a new startup, medium or large establishment that needs a financial solution to fund/get your project off the ground or business looking for extra capital to expand your operation,our company renders credible and trusted bank guarantee provider who are willing to fund and give financing solutions that suits your specific business needs.

    We help you secure and issue sblc and bank guarantee for your trade, projects and investment from top AA rated world Banks like HSBC, Barclays, Dutch Ing Bank, Llyods e.t.c because that’s the best and safest strategy for our clients.e.t.c

    DESCRIPTION OF INSTRUMENTS

    1. Instrument: Funds backed Bank Guarantee(BG) ICC-600
    2. Currency : USD/EURO
    3. Age of Issue: Fresh Cut
    4. Term: One year and One day
    5. Contract Amount: United State Dollars/Euros (Buyers Face Value)
    6. Price : Buy:32%+1, Lease: 4%+2
    7. Subsequent tranches: To be mutually agreed between both parties
    8. Issuing Bank: Top RATED world banks like HSBC, Barclays, ING Dutch Bank, Llyods e.t.c
    9. Delivery Term: Pre advise MT199 or MT799 first. Followed By SWIFT MT760
    10. Payment Term: MT799 & Settlement via MT103
    11. Hard Copy: By Bank Bonded Courier


    Interested Agents,Brokers, Investors and Individual proposing international project funding should contact us for directives.We will be glad to share our working procedures with you upon request.



    Name:Richardson McAnthony
    Contact Mail : intertekfinance@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

  12. GREEN FINANCE LOAN CENTER
    HEAD OFFICE--25 Osborn Street, London England
    EMAIL ADDRESS -- {greenfinancecenter@gmail.com}
    ------------------------------------------------

    Welcome to HEARTLAND LOAN FIRM,
    We give out loans from the range of $9,000 to $900,000,000
    at 2% interest rate

    we provide all kind of loans below --

    * Project Loans
    * Personal Loans
    * Debt consolidation loans
    * Car Loans
    * Business Loans
    * Education Loans
    * Mortgage Loans
    * Refinancing Loans
    * Home Loans

    Kindly apply by providing us with the details below-

    NAME ......
    COUNTRY......
    AMOUNT OF LOAN NEEDED .....
    PHONE NUMBER ......
    PURPOSE OF LOAN ....

    Email address --{greenfinancecenter@gmail.com}

    REGARDS
    CHARLENE FREDERICK
    {greenfinancecenter@gmail.com}
    www.greenfinanceservices.webs.com
    GREEN FINANCE LOAN CENTER

    ReplyDelete
  13. GREEN FINANCE LOAN CENTER
    HEAD OFFICE--25 Osborn Street, London England
    EMAIL ADDRESS -- {greenfinancecenter@gmail.com}
    ------------------------------------------------

    Welcome to HEARTLAND LOAN FIRM,
    We give out loans from the range of $9,000 to $900,000,000
    at 2% interest rate

    we provide all kind of loans below --

    * Project Loans
    * Personal Loans
    * Debt consolidation loans
    * Car Loans
    * Business Loans
    * Education Loans
    * Mortgage Loans
    * Refinancing Loans
    * Home Loans

    Kindly apply by providing us with the details below-

    NAME ......
    COUNTRY......
    AMOUNT OF LOAN NEEDED .....
    PHONE NUMBER ......
    PURPOSE OF LOAN ....

    Email address --{greenfinancecenter@gmail.com}

    REGARDS
    CHARLENE FREDERICK
    {greenfinancecenter@gmail.com}
    www.greenfinanceservices.webs.com
    GREEN FINANCE LOAN CENTER

    ReplyDelete