Sunrise in the westI go to Maharashtra a couple of times a year, trips to Mumbai not counted, to a cooperative in the rain shadow region of the Sahyadris.
The cooperative has an old tradition of involving an economist in its work, since it was found by the legendary Professor D.R. Gadgil. Ihave been with them for the last three decades, arguing first for diversification — since cane in a dry region was clearly not sustainable — and then in the early ‘90s arguing for knowledge as a source of growth. They spend around Rs 90 crore a year on education and health now, and I am happy also to see this feed back into better agriculture.
Maharashtra agriculture has done decently well, given its severe resource constraint: water. In my mind, the star performers are: a million hectares under tree crops and horticulture; a fishing economy doing reasonably well; and of course, Bt cotton. The tree crops go back to Shankar Rao Kolhe’s perspective plan for horticulture. Shankar Rao, the sugar baron of Kopargaon, prepared a long-term horticulture plan for Maharashtra when minister, and an excellent support system was developed to implement it. This continues. Today, Maharashtra has a complete package including financial, technological and processingsupport to any one wanting to seriously grow tree crops — a boon in this dry region.
To me, a great pleasure is to watch Gandhi-capped Patils coming on their Hondas and partaking of mutton biryani and Marathi chicken with their Chardonnay in the dry districts’ wineries. There are around 60, producing around 97 per cent of the stuff made in India. Globalisation at its benign best. Dairying has done well too, and in recent years the production of value-added products like skimmed milk, white butter and so on has grown at phenomenal annual rates, like 80 per cent.
पूर्ण येथे वाचा .. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/sunrise-in-the-west/765147/