Monday, January 3, 2011

No wonder, “market” remains a word without much appeal for the poor

Why do we deny cotton farmers access to free markets?

A lack of education and infrastructure continues to hold down the capability of the poor to benefit from market opportunities.

It also enables politicians to use a clever vocabulary that makes them appear “pro-poor” while tacitly defending anti-poor protectionist lobbies.

But, ironically, they are made even as cotton growers are being unfairly denied higher international prices, by imposing restrictions on export

All that is needed is that the government does not come in the way of farmers who want to take advantage of the opportunities that trade presents. It is a cruel joke on farmers when the agriculture minister talks of the need to step up exports before the arrival of American cotton lowers the world market prices — because, if exports had been free, Indian farmers would have already seized the opportunity.

It is bad to do nothing about poor irrigation, as well as the ineffective extension of services; but it is worse to control or ban exports that directly affect farmers’ incomes. However, nobody has come forward to resist such policies. Civil society groups by and large are sceptical of markets and do not find the issue appealing enough

We should encourage them by providing the infrastructure they require. Instead, we continue to subject them to unfair taxation. Would we tolerate such a policy for, say, software exports? There is no dearth of experts who wax eloquent on the benefits of free trade. But they rarely make the case for cotton growers.

From Lobbying against farmers by Milind Murugkar

After reading this article it rings me heavily thinking about back to my village where I did all cultivation related works for years. Briefly I was engaged in buy/sale business of paddy.

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