I have serious facts / questions that have been overlooked by the President of USA that I would like to highlight:
- Yes, India is a large consumer of foodgrains, but, most of this is internally produced. Neither our exports nor imports are significant to cause change in food prices in the World markets!! (we only export Basmati rice which is not consumed by the middle class, anyways. We import negligible amounts of wheat, that has happened these past 2 years, thanks to our mis management)
- What does Mr. President have to say about the cost of crude that is now at 120$ a barrel? In my opinion this is the single biggest cause of rise in food grains, as rise in fuel prices have the biggest cascading effect on all goods and services.
- Definitely, the use of biofuels has contributed to price rise. Ms. Condoleeza Rice atleast acknowledged the role of biofuels in further hiking of food prices. However, the President of USA does not think so!! I am so glad that the EU is doing a re think on enforcing its biofuel use.
- Agriculture has been given the least attention and yields have plateaued in almost all crops. Instead of addressing this issue by investing in R & D and implement better agricultural practices, it is shocking to read careless, irresponsible statements from Heads of powerful countries.
Having raised these issues, I must also admit that Indians - scientists, farmers, policy makers need to address the issue of declining yields in crops and unviable agriculture, as practised by majority of Indian farmers. The situation is serious enough for all stakeholders to implement a new plan for an enabling environment for farmers to pursue crop cultivation and to bring in a new generation of farmers who would like to take to farming as a profitable venture. This is the direction we need to take to be self sufficient. If we do this now, we can thank Mr. George Bush for getting us out of the slumber we are in!!