Saturday, August 02, 2008

What the Doha failure means

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080729.wcosimp0729/BNStory/specialComment/home
Though this article talks about the Canadian stand at the talks - you can generalize it to the rest of the "developed" world. On balance - the failure to arrive at trade agreement on farm-food products is a good thing

I have long supported agriculture as India's core strength (lots of arable land, sunshine and water - the last now threatened by The Hans) - however, I am beginning to think that food as an international trade commodity might not be such a good idea. Here is why ....

Prior to 1850 CE (thereabouts) India was an agricultural and economic superpower because of the natural endowment already mentioned, a vast, primarily agriculture-based population and IPR (seeds etc.). Most importantly there was no one else that had the same. Now there is - the Yanks.

I love America - but don't want agri-trade when they are involved. Less than 2% of American depend on agriculture for livelihood - so the Yanks have every incentive to mindlessly screw mother nature and increase productivity (including through the use of Genetically Modified Food - yet another American Horror). If agri-trade ends up as a pissing match between India and the US - the Yanks will win - not because they are better prepared or equipped - it is because they are more prepared to stoop lower. We cannot afford to - as a lot of Indians depend on farming for survival.

Perhaps the better thing to do is to start an Organic Food-for-Oil exchange. Even the Arabs are rational enough to know they have to eat - India can lower the cost of imports and wean the oil producers away from Chinese influence (China is in a farm crisis due to environmental degradation)

1 comments:

AGworld said...

> China is in a farm crisis

... as is india, unfortunately due t government meddling.
Its a "priority sector" you see.
Translation: Of all the things they can (and do) screw, agriculture is at the top of the list.