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January 26, 2009

Suggestion made for unviable Indian farmers to be sent to Africa

Sikh men with turbans can be seen driving around in Indian tractors on farms in the West African state of Chad, says Ravi Kumar, the honorary Consul-General for India in the country.

Kumar was reacting to a call from the audience during a discussion on Africa at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas meet for India to consider sending farmers to Africa to share their skills.
“We are finding increasing suicides amongst our farmers because they cannot make ends meet,” M.V. Sreenivas Reddy said during question time.

“Why does India not get African governments to buy up land that our farmers with their skills and experience can help develop agriculturally and then export these products to countries where there is demand? We would not only find (Indian) farmers being gainfully employed, but could also wipe out the endemic suicides.”

Kumar said the experimental contract cultivation project in Chad was aimed at producing cassava, rice and maize crops. There were also attempts to get a similar project going in neighbouring Cameroon.

The guest of honour at the session, South African Provincial Sports Minister Amichand Rajbansi, said the suggestion would have repercussion in countries where land restitution remained major obstacles to overcome.


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