Vegetable prices jump in India as farmers go on strike

Two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people depend directly or indirectly on farming for their livelihood, but farm incomes only account for 14 percent of gross domestic product. (Reuters)
Updated 04 June 2018

Vegetable prices jump in India as farmers go on strike

  • Farmers began their 10-day protest on Friday to press demands such as farm loan waivers and higher prices for produce such as cereals, oilseeds and milk
  • Last year six farmers were killed in similar protests that became violent in the central state of Madhya Pradesh

MUMBAI: Vegetable prices jumped as much as 10 percent in major Indian cities, including Mumbai and Delhi, as a four-day old strike by millions of farmers curtailed supplies.
Farmers began their 10-day protest on Friday to press demands such as farm loan waivers and higher prices for produce such as cereals, oilseeds and milk.
“Wholesale prices of some vegetables like tomatoes and french beans have risen due to lower supplies,” said a Mumbai-based vegetable vendor Mahesh Gupta.
Outbreaks of rural discontent poses a challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who promised when he came to power in 2014 to double farm incomes in five years.
Farmers in eight states, mostly ruled by Modi’s Bhartiya Janata Party, have restricted supplies of vegetable and milk to the cities’ markets.
“We are distributing milk and vegetables to the poor and needy, but we’ve decided not sell. The basic idea is to highlight the plight of farmers who have been overlooked by the government,” said Ramandeep Singh Mann, a farmer based in the northern state of Punjab.
Prices for many crops have fallen sharply, while the price of diesel has gone up, squeezing millions of India’s mostly small-scale farmers.
Last year six farmers were killed in similar protests that became violent in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.
In recent days, farmers blocked highways in some places and poured milk onto roads. The protests have been peaceful so far, although organizers are planning to increase the intensity in coming days.
“The government hasn’t fulfilled promises it had given last year. We have no option but to intensify our protests,” said Ajit Nawale, state general secretary, All India Kisan Sabha, one of the farmers’ union participating in the strike.
Two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people depend directly or indirectly on farming for their livelihood, but farm incomes only account for 14 percent of gross domestic product, reflecting a growing divide between the countryside and wealthier cities.
“I am stocking up vegetables for the entire week,” said Anjali Salunkhe, a housewife in Mumbai, fearing prices could double as they did during protests last year.


China aims for sustained and healthy economic development

Updated 30 October 2020

China aims for sustained and healthy economic development

  • Beijing to let market forces play decisive role in resources allocation, report says

BEIJING: China is targeting sustained and healthy economic development in the five years to 2025, with an emphasis on a higher quality of growth, the Xinhua news agency said on Thursday, citing the ruling Communist Party’s Central Committee.

President Xi Jinping and members of the Central Committee, the largest of the ruling party’s elite decision-making bodies, met behind closed doors from Monday to lay out the 14th five-year plan, a blueprint for economic and social development.

China’s external environment “is getting more complicated,” the agency said, adding, “There is a significant increase in instabilities and uncertainties.”

BACKGROUND

China aims to boost its gross domestic product (GDP) per person to the level of moderately developed countries by 2035, while GDP is due to top 100 trillion yuan ($15 trillion) in 2020.

However, the country’s development was still in a period of important strategic opportunities, despite new challenges, it said.

It added that China aims to boost its gross domestic product (GDP) per person to the level of moderately developed countries by 2035, while GDP is due to top 100 trillion yuan ($15 trillion) in 2020.

China will also deepen reforms and let market forces play a decisive role in resources allocation, the agency said.

China will promote a “dual circulation” model, make self-sufficiency in technology a strategic pillar for development, move to develop and urbanize regions, and combine efforts to expand domestic demand with supply-side reforms, it added.

The “dual circulation” strategy, first proposed by Xi in May, envisages that China’s next phase of development will depend mainly on “domestic circulation” or an internal cycle of production, distribution and consumption, backed by domestic technological innovation.