A twitter was has begun after an article in Financial Express advocated allowing New Zealand and Australia to export dairy products to India. The piece written by the duo of Sanya Sharma and Ram Upendra Das says that Indian farmers would benefit from this.
Castigating the content of the article as far removed from the reality, GCMMF Managing Director R S Sodhi said that allowing import from these countries would led to halving the income of 10 crore Indian farmers associated with dairy sector. A setback for the PM’s vision of doubling income!
Sodhi sounded so upset that he tweeted “Have 40 yrs exp. of Indian dairy Indtry and 30 yrs with Dr V Kurien, I can confidntly say if implemented, farmers income will definly double !!!but of 10000 farmers of NZ and simultaneously income of 10 cr indian farmers will bcome half”.
Sodhi’s assertion that the move indeed double the income of 10 thousand farmers of New Zealand while reducing the income to half for 50 crore Indian farmers, received widespread support from several experts.
Ajayvir Jakhar, a well-known farmers’ leader wrote “this article is so biased & immature that it compels me to contemplate how it got printed in the @FinancialXpress.” Jakhar also asked “What is the funding source for this Centre for Regional Trade?”
Replying to Jakhar, one Nishant Mehta said “Found the source of funding. Terrible article.”
FE washes its hands from the piece and introduces the authors- Sanya Sharma and Ram Upendra Das as Research Fellow and Head, Centre for Regional Trade (CRT), New Delhi.
The two argue that “augmenting supply is a must for nutritional purpose, maintaining quality and for stability of prices which can be achieved by improving domestic production through FDI and joint ventures”.
They further say “International collaborations will help to create a new market for value-added products which will help Indian farmers to earn higher profits”.
Reacting angrily to the piece and in support of Amul’s MD one, Kannaiyan Subramaniam tweeted” I fully endorse the views of R.S.Sodhi. Another fellow named Sunil Jain asks if anyone will you write a counter please?
An agitated Pratik Gupta writes “Sir you need to influence the policy decision regarding this. It will severely affect the dairy farmers of our country.” Sanjeev Kapoor reminds the researchers that “Entire world is looking to replicate “Amul Model” of India and Mr. Das n company is lobbying for New Zealand.”
A fellow named Mandar Mandy says “When it comes to the dairy business, Sodhi saab’s word is THE last word. The article is terribly biased and smells of creating a slanted narrative.”
Dr. Lakshmi A. Dave says “Completely agree! Article suggests only India has domestic environmental constraints. NZ has none?! If production can be improved in Pacific, why can’t a milk-affluent subcontinent like India meet the projected demand? I’m a NZ PostDoc in sustainable diets, from Anand!”
It bears recall that earlier in these columns we discussed how the representatives of New Zealand Government, their lobbyists and their RCEP negotiators are trying to push their case.
As a result, farmers represented by various bodies have intensified their campaign and have met the Minister of State of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.