The ‘Green Revolution’ was launched in Indian agriculture by the government in the mid-1960s, when it had acute food shortages and the country was forced to resort to foodgrain imports.
to local soils and locally consumed. But mechanical agriculture has focused on exchange-values and big corporations’ profits and trade; it is ‘the global market-driven paradigm’.
As in Mexico and elsewhere, good land was devoted to export crops, imports of foodgrains increased and the local markets were driven by import prices. In China, the increased production of meat for the Chinese diet requires heavy imports of soybeans as feedstuffs for livestock. China joined the WTO in 2001; it resulted in increased food dependency and increased grain imports. However, China has no foreign exchange crisis due to increased agricultural imports as it has a huge manufacturing export surplus, but such is not the case for many developing countries. However, in China too, there are ecological limits due to water scarcity, governments funds for research and development have declined, and also millions of hectares of agricultural land have been lost to urban-industrial uses.
In the US, agro-fuels have aggravated food-price volatility, and contribute to global warming. The US received US $92billion in subsidies in 2006-2013. The main beneficiaries were transnational corporations like Cargill and ADM, and big financial companies like George Soros and Bill Gates, who have invested heavily in agro-fuels. Worse, at least for the EU, where 58% of biodiesel is imported, it will cause further deforestation in developing countries like Brazil, Malaysia, and Indonesia. These countries are regarded as the most efficient producers of agro-fuels, mostly from sugarcane. Moreover, the US government, for instance, spends nearly US$20 billion on farm subsidies annually, ranging from insurance, price loss coverage, land improvement, marketing, and research and extension support. In Japan, with an agricultural economy dominated by small farms, the government support for producers is more than 40% of gross farm receipts.
THE DEEPENING CRISIS IN INDIAN AGRICULTURE The ‘Green Revolution’ was launched in Indian agriculture by the government in the mid-1960s, when it had acute food shortages and the country was forced to resort to foodgrain imports. (Siddiqui, 1999; 1997) This was made possible due to government investment in areas like irrigation and power and also government set-up of agricultural universities, marketing networks and provision of cheap credit from institutional sources (Siddiqui, 2014b; 1992). As a result, the state played a critical role in enabling its farmers to pursue the path of capitalist production in agriculture. This policy did manage to raise output and productivity and made India self-sufficient in foodgrains (Siddiqui, 2019d; 2018b). Moreover, besides raising incomes for big landowners, it also benefited small and medium farmers to a lesser extent. However, by the late 1980s, the agricultural crisis deepened and productivity and investment slowed down so the incomes of the farmers fell as well.
To find solutions, the neo-liberal reforms were launched in 1991, which changed the role of the Indian state towards agriculture. For the last thirty years, the private corporate sector has begun to grow rapidly. The size of the GDP increased, but the corporate economy was largely focused on the service sector, and it did not create employment. (Siddiqui, 2018c; 2017c) The share of the ¬agricultural sector declined sharply, but the workforce remained employed in agriculture at the same proportion. The relative decline of the agrarian economy in terms of its value addition has produced many imbalances beyond the sphere of income and employment. The growing
54 The World Financial Review January - February 2021