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Monday, October 09, 2006

News Comment: PM to inaugurate 2nd 'International Rice Congress' tomorrow!!!

Conference title, "International Rice Congress"?
Rice? Connie Rice? No, 'Rice' as in the staple diet of 60+% of Indians, Rice as in the largest produced crop in India, Rice which is the livelihood of maybe more than half of the Indian farmers. So, an international conference on rice should have the producers, you think, tough luck. With its priorities on developing agriculture in this country to achieve 8% growth, the government decides that rice is what the corporates decide it to, we have (read the following news item in full)

The conference is being organised by Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) and the International Rice Research Institute, Manila (Philippines).
The theme of the five-day conference this year is 'Science, Technology, and Trade for Peace and Prosperity'. The conference envisages providing a forum for sharing the interests of stakeholders like cultivators, researchers, and traders of rice with special focus on water conservation and use of hybrid seeds for increase in production.
Much attention will be paid on use of hybrid seeds over large area for improving production with minimum use of water, said Dr. Mangla Rai, Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) and Director General, ICAR.
The major events scheduled during the event are International Rice Research Conference, International Rice Commerce Conference, International Rice Technology and Cultural Exhibition and International Ministerial round table meeting.
A number of committees had been constituted to facilitate the holding of the Congress like the Steering, Advisory, and Organizing committees. Minister of Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Sharad Pawar will be the patron of the Steering Committee.
Ministerial representation for the Congress has been confirmed from countries like China, Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Laos, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Besides, 1,400 scientists, rice traders, rice millers and selected farmers are expected to attend the Congress. About 400 foreign delegates, representing 40 countries, will deliberate on various issues on rice research over different sessions and workshops.

What has a conference on rice got to do with Peace and Prosperity? That which consists of scientists and traders, one would think will largely deal with how to increase scientific project budgets and how to improve profit margins. Are these people going to be talking about Peace and Prosperity for their professions? One can understand why when there are 1400 people attending the programme with 400 foreign delegates in a country of more than half a billion farmers only 'selected farmers' are expected to attend. Such pompous title and grandiose that means so little to the Indian rice farmer!!! No wonder more farmers are committing suicides in this country.

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