011 2618 4595

Budget 2022 Synchronizes Technology and Nature in Agriculture

The Budget 2022 speech of the finance minister is the red signal to such companies who have been fooling us for a long time. And, because of multilateral international trade agreements, we had failed to shut down their businesses.  — Alok Singh

 

The budget presented by the union finance minister on 1 February 2022 sets the mission and vision of the Indian agriculture sector. It admits the role of nature and technology in human civilization. It balances the necessity with the restraint. Its mission is sustainable life. Its vision is to march ahead with the latest technology. The good days of farmers are visible.

The keywords “Kisan drones” and “Zero Budget Natural Farming” reflects the competence of the nation to lead the world. We are a nation that believes in creating advanced technologies and at the same time preserving nature and decoding traditional knowledge.

Modern knowledge on many occasions has attempted to control nature while the direction of modern knowledge should be to decode the knowledge hidden within nature. Great scientists had got great ideas from nature itself. They understood nature and came up with logical and scientific knowledge. The current Covid19 pandemic is the outcome of misadventure with nature in a Chinese laboratory at Wuhan. The Chinese authorities had created controversy about the laboratory leak theory but all the logic and scrutinization of the circumstances point that it is a result of mistreating the knowledge of Mother Nature. The naming of any phenomenon is helpful in tracing its history. Geographical Indication is labeled to a product to link its characteristics with a particular place, climate, agricultural zone, or anything related to the geography of its origin. Geographical indication in agricultural products is of much higher importance. It captures the identity of the food product as well as motivates to preserve it.

Many seeds are in danger because of the intervention of laboratory seeds. Genetically Modified seeds-producing companies are the culprits. These big companies produce seeds, produces fertilizers, produce insecticides, produce pesticides for farmers and act as a complementing business partner to other big pharmaceutical companies which produce medicines. These big companies compete, collaborate, and cooperate among themselves to kill the relevance of the natural farming of particular agricultural climatic zones and offer a suicidal substitute to the farmers, and the consumers. The farmers and the consumers need to be alert and educated. The course correction has started.

The revision of the courses and the syllabi of the agriculture universities send the message to discard the outdated and failed science and replace it with the upcoming and nature-friendly knowledge.  The agriculture universities have come up with many disruptive seeds and technologies which has failed as agriculture practices and gifted the human and animal population with diseases to the consumers and poverty to the farmers. It’s time for such failed products to go away. The finance minister mentioned specifically revising the knowledge base of the agriculture university but it will have a cascading effect on medical universities, engineering institutes, and management institutes. It will force the chemical engineers and chemical scientists to revisit the goal of synthetic chemical fertilizers and replace them with organic manures. It will force the management institutes to come up with supply chain models and warehousing layouts to meet the characteristics of organic produce. It will encourage the agriculture financial service providers to develop customized financial products for the organic farmers and the related stakeholders. Organic farming will change the dynamics of the soil and regain its natural strength. The animal kingdom will also find its role acknowledged correctly in producing foods.

The Budget 2022 speech of the finance minister is the red signal to such companies who have been fooling us for a long time. And, because of multilateral international trade agreements, we had failed to shut down their businesses. We should not forget that six months ago the manipulated international trade rules had denied us access to Cobvid19 related vaccine licenses. But thankfully our own homegrown pharmacy company, Bharat Biotech successfully offered us the best vaccine against the Covid19 at the earliest possible time. We relied on our own resources to scale up the vaccine production. We have overcome the shortages in vaccine demand not only for ourselves but worldwide, and we did it on our own resources. This success story seems to be one among the many reasons which have provided the nation the golden opportunity to march towards Zero Budget Natural Farming. It’s the turn of the consumers to pay for such food products and make our farmers richer faster. Disease-free food will anyway make richer consumers also. It’s a win-win game for all the stakeholders.

We have to prepare to make it a success. It’s not an easy job. The disruptors will miss no opportunity to make it a failure. The Covid19 vaccine manufacturers who were and are greedy left no stone upturn to make access to vaccines a tough job and at a high price. The tougher disruptions are coming for organic farming soon.

In our neighbourhood, Sri Lanka switched to 100 percent organic farming a few months ago and today the country is facing a crisis due to price rise and shortages in food products. If true then this is a green pasture for the lobbyist of big fertilizer and genetically modified seed producers. They are creating situations to force the Sri Lanka government to accept again fertilizer based farming, as they claim it to be modern farming.  To make our own Zero Budget Natural Farming successful, we have to take care of the crisis of Sri Lanka also.  Sri Lanka has already lost Hambantota port to China and we could offer no help. This time it is the organic farming dreams which are being shattered by the greedy business interests of a few big seeds and fertilizer companies. We have to make sure that Sri Lanka succeeds in its goal of sustainable organic farming by offering them help to mitigate shortages if any and helping them with price control as well. We have performed well in Vaccine Diplomacy, now is the turn of Organic Farming Diplomacy. 

(Alok Singh is a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Management Indore and currently is faculty of general management at NICMAR, Delhi-NCR Campus.)

Share This