FOR FU­TURE SUS­TAIN­ABIL­ITY

Cen­tre-state co­op­er­a­tion, crop di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and em­pow­er­ment of work­ers hold the key

Down to Earth - - COVER STORY -

Any cri­sis in Ker­ala’s plan­ta­tion sec­tor af­fects the prospects of mil­lions of grow­ers, work­ers, man­u­fac­tur­ers, con­sumers and the econ­omy of the state and the coun­try. Hence a com­plete re­vamp­ing, re­struc­tur­ing and em­pow­er­ment of the state’s farm sec­tor is needed to en­able its plan­ta­tions to pro­duce at a com­pet­i­tive cost and in an eco­nom­i­cally vi­able and en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able man­ner. Ex­perts say cry­ing hoarse at the time of a price crash and re­joic­ing dur­ing booms will do no good. It’s time the gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced com­pre­hen­sive poli­cies and time-bound pro­grammes for short-term, mid-term and longterm ac­tions to help grow­ers tide over un­cer­tain­ties of the mar­ket.

Price sta­bil­i­sa­tion mea­sures like fix­ing max­i­mum and min­i­mum prices, cre­at­ing buf­fer stocks ,fis­cal and ex­port in­cen­tives and pro­cure­ment will not be as ef­fec­tive as they were in the pre-trade lib­er­al­i­sa­tion pe­riod, when the do­mes­tic mar­ket was pro­tected from global com­pe­ti­tions, point out Tharian Ge­orge. “This was ev­i­dent in 1997 dur­ing the first price crash of rub­ber fol­low­ing the eco­nomic re­forms. The Cen­tre had tried th­ese mea­sures to sta­bilise fall­ing rub­ber prices. It had re­stricted rub­ber im­ports. But none of the mea­sures served its pur­pose, ”says Ge­orge. The gov­ern­ment once again tried th­ese mea­sures dur­ing the re­cent price slump in the rub­ber sec­tor , but they failed.

Now, for the first time, the Cen­tre plans to ad­dress the cri­sis that ails rub­ber. The Union com­merce min­istry ap­pointed an ex­pert com­mit­tee

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