Is Kerala repeating Cuba’s path of farming?
There are farmers and hobby cultivators located in every part of Kerala. One best solution is to get the merchants and stockist out of the buying and selling picture. Creating farmers market to sell their surplus production directly to the population should help farmers and consumers.
Kerala and Cuba has undergone tremendous social reforms
They also have a lot of things in similar be it foot ball, tourism (tourism is one of the main sources of income in Kerala and Cuba), politics(Communist Party has high influence). It reminds me of a Malayalam movie by Srinivasan Arabikatha. Actor Srinivasan’s name in the movie is “Cuba Mukundan”. He has great respect for Cuba and its leaders. In the movie Mukundan is forced to work in gulf country and he tries to propagate his ideology in Gulf. But all in vain.
Farming in Kerala is dependent on government subsidies
Agriculture has a little different story, or rather Kerala is repeating Cuba’s mistake. Petroleum products(Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, tillers, de-weeder) have become a must. Having said so Cuba once was on this path. Heavily dependent on petroleum products and subsidies from Soviet Union.
Cuba’s agriculture came to a halt with the collapse of Soviet Union. Cheap fuel for tractors were unavailable. Pesticides and fertilizers ran out of stock. As a result Production fell drastically.
On the onset of this situation cattle was slaughter and eaten. Killing a cow is crime in Cuba. But that has not controlled the drop in cattle numbers from 7m to 4m.
In a desperate attempt to survive cuba was forced to revert back to its age old traditional way of farming. Manual Labour and oxen returned to the fields. All the hybrid cows were replaced with zebu cattle. Unlike the former cows zebu cattle could feed on the road side grass and farm waste.
Cuba is back on track, however they still import grains, legumes and cooking oil from other country. Vegetables, tubers, sugar are produced locally.
Urban farming has also been very effective in Cuba. Most people consume fresh produce. It has been documented well that even without synthetic chemicals and pesticides quality and quantity food can be grown in Cuba or any other part of the world. Indian has been practising it for many centuries.
Why most Keralites don’t farm anymore?
Kerala has its unique set of problems. It rains for more than six months starting from mid may till November. It becomes ideal breeding ground for weeds and wild trees. Lot of things have to be considered and taken care when farming here in Kerala.
Because of rains and the landscape most parts of Kerala has forest. People are located on small pockets every where unlike other parts of India. So any form of Industrial development or large scale farming can cause or disrupt the lives of people. Kasaragod is one of the best example.
Rain water carries all the pollutants with it. Spreading diseases and poison in the food chain.
This makes average Malayalee to flee to other parts of the world and earn his living. Rest now lookout for government jobs.Leaving the fields and cultivable land unproductive.
Remaining people in Kerala earn their living through lottery, liquor, land deals, construction work, remittance and tourism.
I agree that corruption is less in Kerala as compare to other parts of the world. Most people get regular meals. Government hospitals are also not in bad shape. By the way Kerala has the highest density of hospitals in India. Is this a good sign? Most people are always sick. Anyways how long can you sustain such expensive process?
Coconuts and Nendra pazham (plantains) are produced in bulk locally. So it is cheap, rest every thing has to be imported and is expensive.There are farmers and hobby cultivators located in every part of Kerala. One best solution is to get the merchants and stockist out of the buying and selling picture. Creating farmers market to sell their surplus production directly to the population should help farmers and consumers.
Farming in Kerala compared to rest of India
Producing food is a loss making venture. Merchants buy produce for dirt cheap from farmers and sell at a higher price. So paddy fields or any productive land is converted to housing property with the help of panchayat offices. yes all this is because of decision making or implementing powers with the local government officials.
I feel that Kerala has not developed actually it has and is degrading. If you cannot locally produce and feed your people then how do you say Kerala is way above other states in India. Human basic needs are food, clothing and shelter.
If you have to understand Kerala’s problems you have to stay with the locals and understand, how problematic a average Malayalees life has become. Everything is way too expensive and their is absolutely no choice you have to live with what you get even in the interior parts of Kerala. Wage for most workers are 500 to 700 rupees a day.
I wonder when oxen will be seen ploughing the fields in Kerala!!!
Credits & References
- More about “Cuba Mukundan” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabikkatha
- Kerala & local democracy in Harvard University – https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2012/oct/22/now-kerala-is-a-hot-topic-of-study-in-harvard-university-417649.html