The Price Of Food Security
Even as the government gets ready to table the food security bill in the coming Parliament session, its dithering over higher subsidy for imported potash is likely to hurt farmers and the foodgrain production in the country.
Potash is essential for survival of plants in dry conditions and for strengthening their roots and fighting crop diseases. It translates into higher yield. It is also the cheapest option over urea. India, in fact, consumes more than 30 per cent of the global potash production.
Agri-economists point out that the demand growth is expected to continue in 2012. The procurement prices in the USA have gone up by $30 and in China it is up by $20. This will result in higher potash prices in future. The fact that India has reserves of potash for only a year and that it needs are growing is a fact known to the seller. In a global market, the seller decides the prices of a commodity that is in demand and short supply. “India, in potash, does not have a bargaining power,” says agri economist Vijay Sardana. Nor does India have an alternate technology…