Jan 11, 2013
Change that mindset.
A Warangal woman farmer who was an early adopter of Bt cotton hand-waters her recently planted seeds. Normally hand-watering is unheard of, but like most early adopters, she lavished extra-ordinary attention on the field with the expensive Bt cotton seed. Such field was then reported by economists as evidence that Bt cotton has an inherent "yield advantage" (Smale, et al. 2010; Smale, et al. 2006; Stone, 2011).
This is so true. But it didn't strike me till I read Prof Glenn Stone's blog Hold that Thought. Glenn Stone is a professor of sociocultural anthropology and environmental studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Reading him, I now realise how correct he is in his observation, and assessment. I have seen this happening around me. Farmers tend to take more than adequate care of anything that is expensive. Why only farmers, even at our homes, we tend to be more careful and protective of anything that comes from a distant land (and of course is more expensive). It deserves special attention. This is how it has been, and still continues to be.
I have often been asked as to why is that the Indian cattle breeds are less productive than the exotic breeds or crossbred. When desi breeds can be doing so well in Brazil (which is the biggest exporter of Indian breeds of cows), how come they are low producers in India? The answer is hidden in that mindset brought out to so clearly by Glenn Stone. I find farmers showering all the care on exotic breeds and neglecting the native cows. Just look around and observe silently, you will find the imported breeds being tended like a child while its poor cousin -- the desi breed -- is left to fend for itself. No wonder, I see native cows roaming on the streets in urban India.
For the same reason, the Brazilians accord utmost care to Indian breeds, which are exotic for them. Pure bred Gir cow from Gujarat has clocked 62.3 litres of milk yield in Brazil.