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OA260
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Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:32 pm

Twelve Indian states have "alarming" levels of hunger while the situation is "extremely alarming" in the state of Madhya Pradesh, says a new report.
Madhya Pradesh's nutrition problems, it says, are comparable to the African countries of Ethiopia and Chad.
India has more people suffering hunger - a figure above 200 million - than any other country in the world, it says.
The report, released as part of the 2008 Global Hunger Index, ranks India at 66 out 88 countries.

"Despite years of robust economic growth, India scored worse than nearly 25 sub-Saharan African countries and all of South Asia, except Bangladesh," the report says.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7669152.stm

--------------------------------

With steps can and are the Indian government taking to solve this issue?? Why has economic growth by passed the most vunerable?
 
Dougloid
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:38 pm



Quoting Oa260 (Thread starter):
With steps can and are the Indian government taking to solve this issue?? Why has economic growth by passed the most vunerable?

Good question, and something the "India Shining" types seem to, for the most part, studiously avoid addressing.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt once observed, "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little."
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
MHTripple7
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:28 am

After being to India, this is not really surprising unfortunately. Hopefully their economy will continue to grow and the hunger issue will be resolved.
 
sv7887
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:48 am



Quoting Oa260 (Thread starter):
Madhya Pradesh's nutrition problems, it says, are comparable to the African countries of Ethiopia and Chad.
India has more people suffering hunger - a figure above 200 million - than any other country in the world, it says.
The report, released as part of the 2008 Global Hunger Index, ranks India at 66 out 88 countries.

200 Million in a nation of 1 Billion....Thats about 20% of India's population. 10 yrs of economic growth isn't going to make up for nearly 50 yrs of constant population growth far beyond the economic resources of the country. India is slated to overtake China in population at it's current growth rates.

India is a large ship and difficult to steer, whether it be corruption, bloated bureaucracy, or just the immense population, it's going to take more than 10 yrs to fix it.

Quoting Dougloid (Reply 1):
Good question, and something the "India Shining" types seem to, for the most part, studiously avoid addressing.

The India of my parents time was largely hand to mouth, even with an education you couldn't get anywhere. India had to trade gold just to conduct Forex transactions.That has changed dramatically in India. People with a decent education CAN get good paying jobs. The amount of foreign investment has changed drastically under Prime MInister Manmohan Singh's policies. India is still a third world country, but one that is starting to grow out of its problems.

For those who grew up in India up until the 1980's the India shining analogy holds well. There is a rapidly growing Middle Class that didn't exist, 20 yrs ago and a sharp reduction in the brain drain as people have opted to stay in Indian rather than come abroad. The country is completely changed from the 1980's my friends and relatives can't scarcely believe themselves.

But it's impossible for 10 yrs of economic growth to raise everyone out of poverty. India as a country has existed since 1947 and was largely a hand to mouth country. We've had about 10 yrs of solid growth. The kind of change that article is looking for doesn't happen overnight.
 
BarfBag
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:32 am

There are a bunch of issues intersecting here. It isn't simply a question of lacking money to buy food:

a) The agricultural sector is the LEAST reformed of the three . Services are by far the most liberalized and dynamic, increasingly followed by manufacturing, thanks to the new China-like special economic zones. But agriculture ? Too many bizarrely stupid regulations, part wellmeaning but hopelessly impractical, part cynically politically motivated. This affects food production and distribution. The end result is both less than optimal yields, and gross wastage, not to mention poor agricultural income growth and low investments, sustaining a vicious cycle.

There have been recent reforms, such as the growing interest in contract farming and corporate involvement (e.g. ITC), both of which have shown immediate results, as the sudden growth in annual agricultural output shows. But with a vast population, benefits for all will take time. The best thing the government can do is get the hell out of the way.

b) Cultural artifacts: The whole 'men in the family eat first, women then eat the leftovers' BS has got to stop. It has less to do with imposition upon women and more to do with ingrained attitudes no one seems to bother to think through - either the men or the women.

c) Nutritional habits: I love my native cuisine, but the more I think of it, the more I feel it is not tailored to effective childhood and adolescent nutrition. At least, not unless people make a proper effort to understand the nutritional value of the food. Daily idli/sambar breakfast is not a very nutritional meal, for example. There's too much starch and too little protein, plus the emphasis on dinner over breakfast leads to obesity and diabetes - a chronic problem.

However, anyone who's spent the last two decades seeing changes in India will have seen the significant increase in the heights of kids. They are significantly taller now on average than 10 years ago, though they are still lanky and not 'filled out'.

The problem being a nation with a big demographic base is that everything looks huge - the achievements and the challenges. Unlike the attitudes I saw among older people as a kid, I now see a great deal of confidence in people around me, and conviction about India's progress, and I'm sure this problem is something we'll overcome too.
 
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OA260
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:02 pm



Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 2):
After being to India, this is not really surprising unfortunately.

I just remember being shocked by the contrasts and Im not totally foreign to the culture. Its the only thing that put me off and some of the people trying to cheat me .
 
Dougloid
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:22 pm



Quoting BarfBag (Reply 4):
There are a bunch of issues intersecting here.

I had a discussion about this very subject one time with an Indian colleague, and you're right. There is a direct connection between hunger, nutrition, cultural outlook, resources, farming methods, technology, and agricultural policy. These issues are not just associated but there are direct linkages.

It's of interest to me because on one level my advanced degree is in agricultural law. It also ought to be of great interest to everyone who likes to eat because lest we forget every mouthful of food comes from the dirt of the farm and the sweat of the man or woman between the rows in the hot sun.

With that said, we were talking about farm subsidies and world prices for commodity crops-mostly wheat and cotton, and some well publicized suicides of distraught farmers in some places in India who weren't making it at all. This was before the most recent collapse of the Doha round of world trade talks.

What I told him was more or less that farm subsidies in the west act as floors under the world prices of commodity crops and that Indian farmers get the benefit of that indirectly when they haul their crops to market and get the world price. (I'm not entirely sure about this any more but never mind).

He said "Oh. That's not how it's done here. Most of our farmers are smallholders owning maybe five acres or less who get no such benefit. They're usually in debt up to their eyeballs with the village moneylender because of the money they borrowed for marriage dowries. So they sell their crop to the village moneylender for whatever they can get, and the village moneylender collects the grain and he's the one who gets the benefit of world prices for commodities. The soil's tired, farmers cannot afford sufficient fertilizer, chemicals, hybrid seed and machinery, and their productivity is therefore generally low when compared with farmers in your country or in the developed world."

What I told him was that what he was doing was making an argument for technological, social, legal, cultural and agricultural reform at its most fundamental level in his country if the goal was to produce sufficient food for all, and not an argument about the supposed fundamental unfairness of matters half a world away.

Of course the subject of genetically engineered crops came up as it usually does in these discussions. We grow them here, and a lot of other folks do not. We generally believe in applying technology where we find it but that can't be said of people in the rest of the world. We've been doing this for a while now and nobody's gotten sick from it, although it matters go as I expect someone, probably a European (sorry folks, it's the truth) will turn this discussion into a rant about Monsanto.

I'm in mind of the words of Norman Borlaug who said "If you want peace, work for justice. But while you are working for justice plant the fields, because without food there will be no peace."
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
andaman
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:24 pm

I think basically a country with nuclear weapons should be able to feed its people, at least.
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Kiwirob
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:48 pm

India probably needs a one child policy like China. Without some form of population management India is never going to be able to feed itself properly.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:02 pm



Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 8):
India probably needs a one child policy like China

In a Democracy that would be tough to implement.Its up to the citizens to think correctly.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
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OA260
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:32 pm



Quoting Andaman (Reply 7):
I think basically a country with nuclear weapons should be able to feed its people, at least.

Hmm true but I think the Nuclear deal is more for energy to power the country and the rural poor areas should be their first priority or the deal should not have been signed. They have a moral obligation to make people in poor areas benefit and not just the rich in their penthouses in Mumbai.
 
andaman
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Wed Oct 15, 2008 8:41 pm



Quoting OA260 (Reply 10):
Hmm true but I think the Nuclear deal is more for energy to power the country

I can understand India needs nuclear energy but nuclear weapons is a different thing, many countries have the plants without the bombs ,)
Chinese cookie in SFO: "You're doomed to a life of forever travelling abroad and to be able to afford it!"
 
sv7887
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Wed Oct 15, 2008 8:50 pm



Quoting Andaman (Reply 11):

Quoting OA260 (Reply 10):
Hmm true but I think the Nuclear deal is more for energy to power the country

I can understand India needs nuclear energy but nuclear weapons is a different thing, many countries have the plants without the bombs ,)

Give me a break. Would you say the same thing to the US, EU, and China? When the West failed to stop China from acquiring nuclear weapons this was inevitable. If you wonder why India has them, then look into the conflict with China in the early 1960s.


Look at this article on how the middle class is benefiting from India's economic growth
http://www.time.com/time/asia/covers/501041206/two_indias_vpt_das.html
 
Dougloid
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Wed Oct 15, 2008 9:01 pm



Quoting Andaman (Reply 7):
I think basically a country with nuclear weapons should be able to feed its people, at least.

Nuclear weapons are not very good fertilizer. A bomb has never successfully been harnessed to the plow.

I think you're making a value judgment here, the point of which escapes me, unless it's about the allocation of resources in a country with poor areas, that are necessary to develop nuclear weapons and how those resources could be better used elsewhere.

The two things are not mutually exclusive, you know. I figure the Indians are smart enough and energetic enough to figure out how to feed everyone and build bombs as well, if that's the goal and they don't get sidetracked. Quite a number of people in India see a great deal of promise in genetically modified crops that might increase wealth in the farm sector and feed more people.

With India's increasing GDP there is more demand for higher quality food-people with money to burn like to eat well. that's the first thing they think about.

What will feed everyone in India is yield. How India gets there is an open question.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/...09/19/stories/2007091950680900.htm

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/...09/25/stories/2004092500070800.htm

The last is a very well written article that contains the following:

"Clearly, then, Indian farmers are cost-competitive relative to their American counterparts in virtually every farm product.

This is notwithstanding per hectare yields in the US averaging about 7.8 tonnes for paddy, 8.6 tonnes for corn, 2.8 tonnes for sorghum, 2.6 tonnes for peanut, 2.8 tonnes for soybean and 647 kg for cotton lint, against the corresponding Indian levels of 3 tonnes, 1.8 tonnes, 0.8 tonnes, one tonne, 1.1 tonne and 220 kg, respectively.

An average US cow yields over 9,000 kg of milk in a year which, again, is thrice what crossbreeds here typically produce. Only in wheat are average US yields, at 2.4 tonnes per hectare, lower than the 2.7 tonnes of India.

How do Indian farmers produce crops at a lower cost, despite their yields being nowhere near American or European levels? The main reason for this is the capital-intensive nature of agriculture in the West. The USDA's production cost estimates cover both 'operating costs' as well as 'ownership costs'."

It also concludes that Indian farmers are not recovering the cost of production.

http://www.nerve.in/news:25350053353
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
andaman
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Wed Oct 15, 2008 9:03 pm



Quoting Sv7887 (Reply 12):
Would you say the same thing to the US, EU, and China?

I wish they all would be free of nuclear weapons... and all EU countries are not in NATO.
It's just double sad how counties like India put huge amounts of money to build their armies.
Chinese cookie in SFO: "You're doomed to a life of forever travelling abroad and to be able to afford it!"
 
sv7887
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Wed Oct 15, 2008 9:10 pm



Quoting Andaman (Reply 14):
Quoting Sv7887 (Reply 12):
Would you say the same thing to the US, EU, and China?

I wish they all would be free of nuclear weapons... and all EU countries are not in NATO.
It's just double sad how counties like India put huge amounts of money to build their armies.

Take some time and look their history to see why they do that. Having fought in four wars against Pakistan it's necessary for them to maintain a deterrent. The Chinese invaded India and beat them quite badly, so that memory is still ingrained in the minds of India's military. They aren't exactly in a good neighborhood but they are pragmatic enough to ensure that their economic growth isn't hampered by excessive military spending.

Prime Minister Singh is a very pragmatic guy and the architect of India's economic success. He's isn't going to engage in any foolish warmonging, it's not really in India's best interest to do so.
 
slider
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Wed Oct 15, 2008 9:48 pm



Quoting Oa260 (Thread starter):
India has more people suffering hunger - a figure above 200 million - than any other country in the world, it says.



Quoting Sv7887 (Reply 3):
200 Million in a nation of 1 Billion....Thats about 20% of India's population. 10 yrs of economic growth isn't going to make up for nearly 50 yrs of constant population growth far beyond the economic resources of the country. India is slated to overtake China in population at it's current growth rates.

And those hungry mouths and the population growth will strip the resources of he flat or negative population West. This could be a demographic timebomb.

Quoting Dougloid (Reply 6):
What I told him was that what he was doing was making an argument for technological, social, legal, cultural and agricultural reform at its most fundamental level in his country if the goal was to produce sufficient food for all, and not an argument about the supposed fundamental unfairness of matters half a world away.

Very well said, sir!
 
BarfBag
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:06 am



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 6):
With that said, we were talking about farm subsidies and world prices for commodity crops-mostly wheat and cotton, and some well publicized suicides of distraught farmers in some places in India who weren't making it at all.

The farm suicides were related to farmers overleveraging themselves. Moneylenders charging usurious rates still have a big involvement in the farm sector, while they are non-existent elsewhere. Farmers chose cash crops based on spurts in demand for certain crops, and a subsequent glut causing prices to crash.

The notion that money is largely spent on just trivialities like marriage dowries is too narrow and anecdotal. Broadly, investment in agriculture stagnated for ~15 years between early 1990s to mid 2000s. There was significant progress in the late 60s-early 70s period, and again in the mid-late 80s period, and again now, thanks to farm reforms.

While the government did not collectivize farms during the old socialist days, it still overwhelmingly controls procurement and distribution, as well as production and distribution of fertilizers. The manner in which these are implemented is poor. Arbitrary procurement costs mean the government procurement prices act as a floor, but farmers lose out on profits when prices rise significantly.

Regarding GM food, I've a visceral dislike of the entire idea of a foreign corporate entity whose product has such invasive implications to our food security. Everything from the IP control over seeds supply to the prerequisites for fertilizers is much too invasive. It is a question of control over food security. Without Indian control over the IP and production, I'm not inclined to view it positively. Nevertheless, India still has a massive GM cropping area.

Quoting Andaman (Reply 7):
I think basically a country with nuclear weapons should be able to feed its people, at least.

That's rather sweeping and shallow isn't it ? Countries have disenfranchised entire races or subjugated their populations under totalitarian rule, while holding nuclear weapons. Please don't use this thread to push your anti-nuclear agenda.

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 8):
India probably needs a one child policy like China. Without some form of population management India is never going to be able to feed itself properly.

There already is a drastic change in population growth directly attributed to urbanization and nuclearization of families, without official efforts. People now want to live in cities and work, and at most have a single kid. The local parlance for the trend is DINK/DISK (double income, no/single kids).

I would be interested in knowing how they measured 'hunger' in the article originally quoted. I would not be surprised if the issue is not caloric value as much as nutritional value - vitamins and nutrients as well as protein in particular. In more cases than I can remember, the lack of knowledge of nutritional value of food is a greater problem than absolute access to food.
 
BarfBag
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:19 am



Quoting Andaman (Reply 14):
It's just double sad how counties like India put huge amounts of money to build their armies.

We live in a bad area. For neighbours, we have a bunch of countries that rank in the top 10-15 of the failed states index - Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Afghanistan. Excluding those we have a nation that's been facing chronic civil war for quarter of a century (Sri Lanka), and another aggressive totaltarian state with an enormous chip on their shoulder about having been wronged in the past (China). Every once in a while we face border claims, refugee crises, etc.

Countries can have large militaries and strong economies, if they encourage innovation and technological development in the military-industrial sphere and have strong production facilities for them. A gun or a plane is after all, another product, no different from a Nokia cellphone. It puts money in the hands of the worker making it, which feeds the person and their family. India has a GDP of ~$1200 billion and spends ~$25 billion on its armed forces each year - barely 2% of GDP. Annual growth in defence budget barely keeps up with annual GDP growth rate.

It is spending on buying weapons from the west that is an issue, and something I think India should focus on replacing with domestic wares instead. Why waste money buying high tech weaponry from Scandinavia and elsewhere when we can build it here.
 
bravo45
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:26 am



Quoting BarfBag (Reply 18):
We live in a bad area. For neighbours, we have a bunch of countries that rank in the top 10-15 of the failed states index - Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Afghanistan.

 rotfl  rotfl  rotfl 

Yeah they are responsible for India being worse than most of them. I am surprised you didn't say Pakistan is alone responsible for it all.

Bad area?? Lemme see, you didn't mention the hundreds of separatist movements in India ranging from Communists to who knows what. They make the area worse than the area would be without Indian influence.
 
Dougloid
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:50 am



Quoting BarfBag (Reply 17):
Regarding GM food, I've a visceral dislike of the entire idea of a foreign corporate entity whose product has such invasive implications to our food security. Everything from the IP control over seeds supply to the prerequisites for fertilizers is much too invasive. It is a question of control over food security. Without Indian control over the IP and production, I'm not inclined to view it positively. Nevertheless, India still has a massive GM cropping area.

It's understandable, but you have to know that Monsanto and Pioneer are not the only people involved-some of your own seed companies are doing the exact same thing. Some companies like Stine do not patent their seed lines but exact a license from the end user like the shrink wrap license on software.

However technology always spreads outward and India will profit from this technology, if not by importing it by utilizing the genius of its scientists and plant breeders.

In many ways it's a tossup. You may spend more on fertilizer and a lot less on pesticides if the crop's got the bT gene. Bugs don't like to eat it. There are other applications of genetic technology that promise to produce more and better quality food crops at substantially lower cost and environmental damage because they're simply applied technology.

It's as puzzling to me as insisting on candles when electric light is readily available.

One manifestation of this is the market's quest for "never ever" food-I have friends who raise hogs, and they will also produce a never ever hog if you want it-that's an animal that's never ever had antibiotics. You end up paying a very large premium because a lot of the animals suffer and die from treatable illnesses. A single epidemic can sweep through a farm and wipe out a herd, and you're going to pay for that too.

When you figure that the animal will metabolize and excrete all the antibiotics given in a matter of days, not providing them to sick critters is a matter of animal cruelty practiced by foodies. But I didn't say that.



The contrast is in stark relief in India. There, it isn't a question of already overfed European foodies who are dictating policy but a real crying need for more productivity to raise the standard of living for the people in the villages.

If I thought that GM foods were dangerous or needed more testing I'd say so, but in the 15 years I've been watching this debate there hasn't been one proven case of any harm that's come to any American from consuming GM food. 75 to 80 per cent of the corn and soya raised here is GM.

In the end it is like Borlaug says-without food there will be no peace.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
DLPMMM
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 3:18 am

A little note to you all.

India does not have a problem producing enough food.

In fact, India is a net EXPORTER of foodstuffs.

In 2006, India's agricultural imports were Rs 220 billion and exports were Rs 398 Billion.

http://india.gov.in/citizen/agriculture/import_export.php

India also has the second largest middle class population (in gross numbers) in the world, second only to the USA.

I go to India at least once a year and there is no question that there is poverty there, but I question where this report's numbers came from. BBC's article looks more like the parroting of a news release from organizations with their own agendas, rather than unbiased reporting of facts.
 
Dougloid
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 3:33 am



Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 21):
India does not have a problem producing enough food.

In fact, India is a net EXPORTER of foodstuffs.

Ireland was a net exporter of foodstuffs during the Great Famine of 1845 as well, yet uncounted tens of thousands starved to death for want of food and were driven off the land.

The problem, you see, was not that the countryside could not produce enough food, but that the landowners had their own ideas about how it should be distributed and ended up selling their wheat and mutton for cash in Britain while the peasantry starved in the streets and lanes. One thing that saved the survivors was grain brought from the United States.

It's passing strange that the landlords sold their grain and hogs and sheep in Britain for cash and were willing to see people starve by the thousands while at one and the same time grain was being brought from the US to feed starving people.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
Alessandro
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:40 am

Farmers in the 3rd world tend to be very conservative and technology is the key to improved output of farming.
I think the cast and drowry system is definitly a problem as well.
From New Yorqatar to Califarbia...
 
BarfBag
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:45 am



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 20):
However technology always spreads outward and India will profit from this technology, if not by importing it by utilizing the genius of its scientists and plant breeders.

Indeed, but I'm not comfortable about the matter of GM foods until we do have control over the IP and production facilities. This is a matter about food. It's not like I'm talking about technology for manufacturing, say, TVs. I hold no particular care for sensationalist handwaving about 'frankenfoods' and all that stuff emanating from Europe. My sole concern is having assured control over the science and operations behind GM foods, under Indian control - public or private. 'Technology spreads out' is a rather vague and indefinite presumption.

Quoting Dougloid (Reply 22):
Ireland was a net exporter of foodstuffs during the Great Famine of 1845 as well, yet uncounted tens of thousands starved to death for want of food and were driven off the land.

That is an exagerrated characterization. India does *produce* what can be termed as adequate food. Perhaps not from an American supersized perspective, but certainly enough to ensure that every last person in the country gets adequate quality food in his stomach 365 days a year. We're a net exporter of food and a net foreign aid donor, for the last half a decade, corresponding to the period of the recent economic boom.

The issues in the way, besides yield improvement, are the procurement and distribution system, that has negative repercussions on the farmer producing (due to unprofitable sale potential) and lack of access for the consumer due to lack of evolved storage, processing and distribution facilities.

There are political hurdles due to smalltime wholesalers and mom-pop stores vehemently opposing beneficial corporate involvement. There'll have to be some tradeoff, such as assured employment in the new retail chains. There's no dearth of money to invest in storage and distribution infrastructure - folks like the Ambani brothers are themselves itching to get in this business (look up Reliance Retail). The thing is how to make change happen, from a poorly organized farming and distribution sector, to a modern one, while simultaneously helping the build of farm employed folks find gainful employment elsewhere.
 
DLPMMM
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:35 am



Quoting BarfBag (Reply 24):
The issues in the way, besides yield improvement, are the procurement and distribution system, that has negative repercussions on the farmer producing (due to unprofitable sale potential) and lack of access for the consumer due to lack of evolved storage, processing and distribution facilities.

Absolutely.

Quoting BarfBag (Reply 24):
There are political hurdles due to smalltime wholesalers and mom-pop stores vehemently opposing beneficial corporate involvement. There'll have to be some tradeoff, such as assured employment in the new retail chains. There's no dearth of money to invest in storage and distribution infrastructure - folks like the Ambani brothers are themselves itching to get in this business (look up Reliance Retail). The thing is how to make change happen, from a poorly organized farming and distribution sector, to a modern one, while simultaneously helping the build of farm employed folks find gainful employment elsewhere.

A very good summary of the problem.

Quoting Dougloid (Reply 22):
Ireland was a net exporter of foodstuffs during the Great Famine of 1845 as well, yet uncounted tens of thousands starved to death for want of food and were driven off the land.

India is not Ireland of the 19th Century.
 
Dougloid
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:08 pm



Quoting BarfBag (Reply 24):
That is an exagerrated characterization. India does *produce* what can be termed as adequate food. Perhaps not from an American supersized perspective, but certainly enough to ensure that every last person in the country gets adequate quality food in his stomach 365 days a year. We're a net exporter of food and a net foreign aid donor, for the last half a decade, corresponding to the period of the recent economic boom.

See my comments below.

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 25):

India is not Ireland of the 19th Century.

Of course not, but you seemed to imply that because India is a net exporter that there was or could be no problem at all.

The point that escapes you is that hunger and overproduction of food can and do exist side by side and they're not mutually exclusive. It's a distribution and allocation issue that is replete with issues of justice, economics and policy that's not answered by pointing to net exports.

Quoting BarfBag (Reply 24):
My sole concern is having assured control over the science and operations behind GM foods, under Indian control - public or private. 'Technology spreads out' is a rather vague and indefinite presumption.

Well, you can of course be assured that we are just as interested in retaining ownership of our IP as everyone else is, in India and elsewhere, but to think that we, or you, can control it forever or that it will never end up in the public domain is a presumption that is unwarranted.

When I said that technology spreads out, that comes from history. Nobody can keep a secret forever. Look how long it took the USSR to figure out what made the bomb tick and make their own-exactly five years. Look at computer technology, radio and television, you name the technology and if it's more than 25 years old, everyone knows how to do it.

And don't think for a minute that local control of GM technology means that it's going to be any fairer, more just or equitable. The history of capitalism and some of our experience here seems to suggest otherwise.

I think, on the whole, that there is and has been a great international community of plant breeders and biologists whose primary motivation has been to promote peace by giving farmers the tools to grow more and better food. That notion seems to have fallen by the wayside recently, but there is reason to think that much in the way of GM technology will find its way into those hands.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
DLPMMM
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 3:56 pm



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 26):
Of course not, but you seemed to imply that because India is a net exporter that there was or could be no problem at all.

Nope, I said

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 21):
I go to India at least once a year and there is no question that there is poverty there, but I question where this report's numbers came from. BBC's article looks more like the parroting of a news release from organizations with their own agendas, rather than unbiased reporting of facts.

There is no doubt that hunger and poverty exist in India, as it does to a varying degree in almost every country. My point was the report was sensationalist in nature and utilized general numbers provided by special interest groups. Those special interest groups appear to have a bias in their view related to the purpose of their existence. There numbers just don't add up.

The sources are:
"The hunger index has been released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) along with Welthungerhlife and the University of California.

It measures hunger on three indicators which include child malnutrition, rates of child mortality and the number of people who are calorie deficient. "

I also question their methods of measuring:

"The problem of hunger is measured in five categories - low, moderate, serious, alarming or extremely alarming.

The survey says that not one of the 17 states in India that were studied were in the low or moderate hunger category.

"Despite years of robust economic growth, India scored worse than nearly 25 sub-Saharan African countries and all of South Asia, except Bangladesh," the report says.

The best performing state was Punjab, which has a 'serious' hunger problem and does less well than developing countries such as Gabon, Vietnam and Honduras. "

This does not seem like a very scientific method of measurement to me.

In addition, and really telling about the poor journalistic integrity currently use by the BBC :

"According to the Indian government statistics two years ago, around 60% of more than 10 million children in the state were malnourished. "

This is just plain Bullsh*t.

Lets look at a few documented facts with sources:

There are more than 10 million children under the age of 6 in MP.

http://infochangeindia.org/200210025...io-in-the-Age-group-0-6-years.html

Yet here is where they got the 60% quote apparently:

"Still, there are 33,000 malnourished children in Madhya Pradesh in the 0-5 years age group, according to National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data. That is about 60 percent of the total child population in the state. "

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...Pradesh/rssarticleshow/3442947.cms

According to my grade school math, adjusting for the 0-5 year age range from the 0-6 year age range would make the population of 0-5 year old in MP to be about 8.3 million children.

The NFHS said there are 33,000 malnourished children.

That would make the percentage about 0.4%, not 60%.

Just shoddy and sensationalistic reporting by the BBC.

India has plenty of problems including poverty, but the media over blowing every special interest group's claims makes it difficult for people to put the world's needs into proper perspective.

If the boy always cries wolf when there is none, eventually the town's people will ignore him, even while the wolf feasts on his flesh.
 
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Aaron747
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:03 pm



Quoting BarfBag (Reply 17):
There already is a drastic change in population growth directly attributed to urbanization and nuclearization of families, without official efforts. People now want to live in cities and work, and at most have a single kid. The local parlance for the trend is DINK/DISK (double income, no/single kids).

A fair point, but how much extraurban migration is necessary before rural family sizes begin to stabilize? It would be difficult to make the case that these recent trends are having a statistically significant impact on the number of children being born to the currently poor. Naturally, the middle and upper classes will be having fewer and fewer children with the passage of time. At any rate, what happens when the malnourished of today continue procreating 15 years from now?

There needs to be an institutional change to complement societal trends that will have short-term drastic impact on population growth. Later is simply too late.
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:35 pm



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 26):
but to think that we, or you, can control it forever or that it will never end up in the public domain is a presumption that is unwarranted.

And I made no such presumption in the first place. If US GM suppliers are just one of the entities in the market versus other Indian suppliers, with the US cos not constituting the majority of the marketshare, I'd not be involved in this discussion in the first place.

My position is based on current dynamics of the GM scene, not assumed future eventualities. I didn't agree upon a statement about the future because no statement about the future is certain, other than one about death and taxes. It's certainly likely that Indian companies will also master GM technology, but as it stands, I am not comfortable with a foreign corporate entity having the level of leverage over it that it now does; I'd rather we obtain that technology by any means possible.

Quoting Dougloid (Reply 26):
It's a distribution and allocation issue that is replete with issues of justice, economics and policy that's not answered by pointing to net exports.

Well that would be a rather unfair characterization, considering the first mention of the fact regarding India being a net food exporter came after multiple posts asserting procurement and distribution issues. I think DLPMMM has clarified his point very well a couple of posts ago.

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 28):
It would be difficult to make the case that these recent trends are having a statistically significant impact on the number of children being born to the currently poor.

There's been a statistically visible fall in birth rates during every decennial census since independence. There's also been a growing gulf in rural/urban birth rates and a rapidly increasing urban/rural population ration.

The primary reason for population explosion has been the far steeper fall in the death rate. Nevertheless, any demographic transition in India will have all the alacrity of a giant cruise liner changing course. China, paradoxically, is talking about relaxing the one child rule, because a demographic bulge as direct positive implications of the composition of the workforce and the worker:dependency ratio, which matters a lot when a country is undergoing a crash program in modernisation.

Through multiple points, about population growth and food production level, I just wanted to respond to the simplistic Malthusian argument on the lines of 'too many people and not enough food'. Reality is far more detailed than such a superficial argument.
 
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:49 pm



Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 28):
A fair point, but how much extraurban migration is necessary before rural family sizes begin to stabilize? It would be difficult to make the case that these recent trends are having a statistically significant impact on the number of children being born to the currently poor. Naturally, the middle and upper classes will be having fewer and fewer children with the passage of time. At any rate, what happens when the malnourished of today continue procreating 15 years from now?

There needs to be an institutional change to complement societal trends that will have short-term drastic impact on population growth. Later is simply too late.

The changes are already taking place at a good pace. The births per female in India have dropped from 6 to 3.1 in the last 50 years and is contiinuing to drop (2.1 is the "replacement rate" of no population growth.

Economic growth and increasing wealth seem to be the best "contraceptives". Formal government programs have met with limited success.

A look at the current statistics and projections show an actual decrease in the under 15 population currently occuring and accelerating into the future.

http://indiabudget.nic.in/es2004-05/chapt2005/chap109.pdf

This means that the population increases in the future are due to longer lifespans, not out of control birthrates.
 
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:32 pm



Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 27):
My point was the report was sensationalist in nature and utilized general numbers provided by special interest groups. Those special interest groups appear to have a bias in their view related to the purpose of their existence. There numbers just don't add up.

Usually people are always talking that the BBC is level headed journalism at its finest.

There's some good information on the topic here. It's the same report that the BBC was talking about from the International Food Policy Research Institute. Worth a look to be well informed on the subject.



http://www.ifpri.org/pubs/cp/ishi08.pdf

Here's what a local source said about it.

http://www.expressindia.com/news/fullstory.php?newsid=75521

Quoting BarfBag (Reply 29):
Through multiple points, about population growth and food production level, I just wanted to respond to the simplistic Malthusian argument on the lines of 'too many people and not enough food'. Reality is far more detailed than such a superficial argument.

Agree completely. I think the issue's far too complicated for straight line analysis ala malthus. Also, the issue's far too important to let nationalism or "not invented here" stand in the way of feeding people or giving them the tools to feed themselves. I always come back to what Norman Borlaug had to say on the subject.

Point of information, this week the World Food Prize is being given out here.

I went to the awards ceremony one year and Borlaug was there. He gave an address and there was the usual q&a period. Of course you know that he got the Nobel prize for his work in developing high yield plant varieties for use in the developing world-which has not been without controversy.

So this lady gets up and she starts with the left leaning stuff. Borlaug listens and then he says "Stop right now. You just don't get it. the reason why we did what we did was to get as much food as possible to the people who need it most. Nothing else mattered then and now."

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/p...ce/laureates/1970/borlaug-bio.html
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
slider
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 6:02 pm

On a serious note, I really appreciate the insight and analysis put forth by some of you on this--very educational. Thank you.

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 27):
It measures hunger on three indicators which include child malnutrition, rates of child mortality and the number of people who are calorie deficient. "

I also question their methods of measuring:

"The problem of hunger is measured in five categories - low, moderate, serious, alarming or extremely alarming.

On a whimsical note, how do you gauge hunger? Low hunger is what? I just ate this AM? Moderate being yesterday? There’s an Onion article in here, haha
 
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 6:17 pm



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 31):
Also, the issue's far too important to let nationalism or "not invented here" stand in the way of feeding people or giving them the tools to feed themselves.

That's a red herring, sorry. It is neither a matter of nationalism nor the NIH syndrome, but having control over IP and production when it comes to food.

Even the prior case of high yielding variants don't quite apply as an analogy because HYVs were not tied to the same restrictive IP framework and single-source availability that GM varieties from a very small set of western producers are.

Obfuscating my perspective as one of just nationalism or political slant would just be missing the point by a mile. I'm completely against the whole concept of important IP behind foodgrain supply not being in Indian control. If it's something you disagree with, just state as such, but please don't waste your time obfuscating it with politics. It's been a good discussion otherwise. Good night.
 
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 6:21 pm



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 31):
Usually people are always talking that the BBC is level headed journalism at its finest.

Yup. That was more to my point. The BBC's standards over the last 30 years have dropped precipitously to the point that they no longer are deserving of the reputation they earned many years ago.

It is clear that their journalistic integrity has gone out the window when you listen or watch their newscasts daily.

To keep on subject though:

As BarfBag (nice name BTW) noted, the larger problem in feeding the poor in India has to do with transportation infrastructure to get the foodstuffs where they need to go efficiently, and the economic infrastructure where an excessive number of tiers of middlemen have historically been involved in moving the goods from fields to the consumer. These middlemen are not happy at the prospect of losing their livelihoods in the pursuit of more efficient distribution methods, better prices for farmers, and lower consumer costs.

The actual production of foodstuffs is generally not the problem in India.
 
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 6:57 pm



Quoting BarfBag (Reply 33):
That's a red herring, sorry.

Nope. A red herring is "any diversion intended to distract attention from the main issue".

That's not a diversion at all. Let me restate it so you understand exactly and precisely what I was getting at.

Ahem....

The issue of hunger is far too important to let anything stand in the way of a) getting food to people who need it and b) giving them the tools to feed themselves. That's it.

That's not a diversion. If it appears that way to you, you're misinformed.

I personally could not care who controls the IP in GM plants. It's my opinion that the time window for that concept is finite anyway, and as is true in any technology, it will eventually spread of its own accord and the inability of people to keep a secret.

I think your apprehension is that India would become dependent on imported GM technology to the disparagement of its own industry. That's a pretty low estimate of the capability of your own geneticists and plant breeders and their abilities. However, one could use imported technology as a bridge until the home grown product is up and running, right?

Quoting BarfBag (Reply 33):
but please don't waste your time obfuscating it with politics.

Horsefeathers. Nobody's talking politics here except you.

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 34):
The actual production of foodstuffs is generally not the problem in India.

True enough, but functionally speaking, not being able to get the product from the point of distribution to the point of use is indistinguishable from not producing it in the first place. It's a distinction without a difference to the man in the street. It's also an argument for social and economic reform at its most fundamental level, on the ground, where it matters.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
DLPMMM
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:17 pm



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 35):
True enough, but functionally speaking, not being able to get the product from the point of distribution to the point of use is indistinguishable from not producing it in the first place. It's a distinction without a difference to the man in the street. It's also an argument for social and economic reform at its most fundamental level, on the ground, where it matters.

Quite true.

However, the reform necessary is quite different from what many would anticipate.

The reforms required are fairly simple in theory but difficult in practice, and all political in nature.

Reform #1. Renovate and streamline the bureaucratic process in India so that the transportation infrastructure programs can move forward quickly. The glacial pace of progress for any public works project in India due to bureaucracy is amazing. Roads are the primary method of getting foodstuffs to consumers.

Reform #2. Eliminate the corruption and self dealing in public works (especially transportation) projects. The patronage and outright corruption not only slows the process to a crawl, but also leads to substandard materials used and shoddy workmanship. Potholes form in new roads before they are even finished. A crappy road is not much better than no road at all.

Reform #3. Eliminate archaic retailing laws that prohibit or hinder retailers from eliminating the extra distribution middlemen and creating large retail chain stores with their own distribution systems.

This is where the most and quickest progress can be made to benefit the greatest number of Indians. The problem here is that they are all very difficult to make happen due to the politics involved.
 
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Aaron747
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:13 pm



Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 30):

A look at the current statistics and projections show an actual decrease in the under 15 population currently occuring and accelerating into the future.

http://indiabudget.nic.in/es2004-05/...9.pdf

Thanks for the stats, it'll be interesting to plow through the document.
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Dougloid
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:29 am



Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 36):

However, the reform necessary is quite different from what many would anticipate.

The reforms required are fairly simple in theory but difficult in practice, and all political in nature.

The World Food Prize is being given out this week here and there's a lot of stuff in the paper about food issues. One thing that I neglected to mention is that the price of commodity grains has increased a lot in the past couple years, and that means that a lot more people are able to afford less food. That's a structural impediment that's hard to find a workaround for.

One thing that was mentioned is that the average yield for corn here in the central US is about 150 bushels per acre, which figures out to about 20,750 pounds per hectare whereas India's average yields are only about 20 per cent of that.

So most definitely yield needs major improvements.

I realize corn is not standard table fare here or there but the story on soya is not so great either, although wheat is about the same. Haven't looked at rice yet
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Fri Oct 17, 2008 7:17 am



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 35):
The issue of hunger is far too important to let anything stand in the way of a) getting food to people who need it and b) giving them the tools to feed themselves. That's it.

Absolutely. Then you ought to agree that the idea of GM foods being IP protected and its production under control of one or more corporate entities is a barrier to the very intention you espouse.

If they are compelled to open up their technology to duplication and generic substitution (as Indian pharma patents enable - process patents are allowed, but product patents are more restricted), then I have no argument.

Instead, it appears you do support the likes of Monsanto having control over their IP (even if it is a fixed length) *and* claim that opposing this constitutes me standing against supply of food to all. That's rather silly.

I don't support Monsanto et al having control over IP and production of GM material. It is a barrier to the very cause you repeatedly claim - that of getting food to all. They are a single point of access/failure, and in particular, one that we have no control over. That's an untenable risk. Regardless, India has moved forward with embracing GM crops, so it's not like we've entirely blocked them.
 
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:38 pm



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 38):

Everybody focusses on yield, but that is not so much the problem in India. Better yield methods also entail higher costs for either more expensive seed, more expensive fertilizer, more expensive equipment.....

The increase in prices in India are not the result of lower yields, but rather more expensive transportation. The prices of the input for products (seed, labor...) have not increased drastically (they don't have that much mechanization on Indian farms), nor has the price farmers are being paid for their agricultural items. The price of transportation increased with the price of fuel. One way to address this problem is to have better and more direct paths to the consumer. That means better roads and less middlemen.
 
Dougloid
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:57 pm



Quoting BarfBag (Reply 39):
Absolutely. Then you ought to agree that the idea of GM foods being IP protected and its production under control of one or more corporate entities is a barrier to the very intention you espouse



Quoting BarfBag (Reply 39):
Instead, it appears you do support the likes of Monsanto having control over their IP (even if it is a fixed length) *and* claim that opposing this constitutes me standing against supply of food to all. That's rather silly.



Quoting BarfBag (Reply 39):
I don't support Monsanto et al having control over IP and production of GM material. It is a barrier to the very cause you repeatedly claim - that of getting food to all. They are a single point of access/failure, and in particular, one that we have no control over. That's an untenable risk. Regardless, India has moved forward with embracing GM crops, so it's not like we've entirely blocked them.

Mr. Bag, what about this statement did you not understand?

Quoting Dougloid (Reply 35):
I personally could not care who controls the IP in GM plants. It's my opinion that the time window for that concept is finite anyway, and as is true in any technology, it will eventually spread of its own accord and the inability of people to keep a secret.

I think your apprehension is that India would become dependent on imported GM technology to the disparagement of its own industry. That's a pretty low estimate of the capability of your own geneticists and plant breeders and their abilities. However, one could use imported technology as a bridge until the home grown product is up and running, right?

Kinda knocks the props right out from under your argument, doesn't it?

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 40):
Quoting Dougloid (Reply 38):

Everybody focusses on yield, but that is not so much the problem in India. Better yield methods also entail higher costs for either more expensive seed, more expensive fertilizer, more expensive equipment.....

The increase in prices in India are not the result of lower yields, but rather more expensive transportation. The prices of the input for products (seed, labor...) have not increased drastically (they don't have that much mechanization on Indian farms), nor has the price farmers are being paid for their agricultural items. The price of transportation increased with the price of fuel. One way to address this problem is to have better and more direct paths to the consumer. That means better roads and less middlemen.

There is the issue of yield, but that's partially offset by the fact that although (in general) yields are lower (except for wheat) the wages that farm labor can take are so damned low it offsets the relative inefficiency of Indian farmers.

that ought to change. Better yields mean a better standard of living for everyone.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
DLPMMM
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Fri Oct 17, 2008 7:20 pm



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 41):
There is the issue of yield, but that's partially offset by the fact that although (in general) yields are lower (except for wheat) the wages that farm labor can take are so damned low it offsets the relative inefficiency of Indian farmers.

that ought to change. Better yields mean a better standard of living for everyone.

Yields do no good if the food rots or is eaten by rats before it can make it to the consumer.

You would be amazed at the number of middlemen that have ownership of a single grain of rice between the farmer and the comsumer. There can be 10 to 15 different owners, each putting on their mark-up. Much of this inefficiency is prescribed by law, as it can be illegal to go around the jobbers/distributors/packagers/transfer agents/transporters.....

At each step, food is lost and prices increase.
 
BarfBag
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Sat Oct 18, 2008 1:05 am

Dougloid: As a measure of context:

Quoting Dougloid (Reply 26):
Well, you can of course be assured that we are just as interested in retaining ownership of our IP as everyone else is, in India and elsewhere, but to think that we, or you, can control it forever or that it will never end up in the public domain is a presumption that is unwarranted.

This would probably encapsulate the entire matter I disagree with you on. I do not support IP control over GM food. At the very least, not transborder control - i.e. I do not support any commercial entity being in a position to restrict IP access beyond national borders.

As an example, every nation where Monsanto operates must require full access to Monsanto's relevant IP and require them to have local production facilities. If at all they no longer operate in the country, the IP remains within the country to be harnessed by other parties. If Monsanto wishes to protect IP against other *Indian* competitors within India, I would see that as reasonable. But not across borders.

But I do not support a framework where IP over something as critical as food is outside national control - when I claim India must have control over the IP, it in no way excludes another nation not having control over the *same* IP within its own borders. Such restrictions go against every tenet regarding the thrust to make as much food available to all as possible. This has been my consistent position through the entire discussion; whether you agree with my or not is really upto you.
 
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RE: Hunger In India States 'alarming'

Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:44 am

Along with transportation, we are also lacking in a mature food processing industry. Lots of fruits and vegetables are wasted every year due to shortage of storage facilities though India is one of the largest producers of fruits and vegetables in the world.

food processing - India


How much food does India waste?

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