Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Mango Windfall ~ An Opinion Piece

I have observed a lot of elation here about the recent agreement between India and US to export Indian mangoes to the States. But, from reading what is happening in south and central American countries, which also made similar kinds of agricultural deals with US and other parts of the western world, I can guess what is going to happen to mangoes in India and I am going to list my thoughts.

1. The US, to protect their environment or just because it can, will specify only one of few varieties of mangoes to import from India.

2. Compared to the home market, the profit margin looks great when done business with US. Few may resist at first the lure of dollar, but sooner or later the mango growers will heed the call of money siren and will start to cultivate the US demanded mango types, running down the current variety.

3. This will create a shortage in supply and more importantly in variety at home front. Say in das, bara years, we won’t have a chance to find different treasured varieties like Banginapalli (Andhra specialty) etc.

4. One might say that the Indians are going to get rich with dollar money. Really? How many in India are mango growers? My guess - the number will be less than 0.00001%. But the exports make them unavailable to more than 90% population. Also this type of deals are never about the farmers welfare.

5. It’s not like we are starving for mangoes here. US already imports mangoes from Mexico, Peru and other South American countries. Not enough it seems. Here in US, we could gorge ourselves with Indian mangoes, and people back in India like my hard working mother and father and most of my relatives back at home, won’t be able to afford the US inflated mango prices. You don’t have to look further for an example. The famous basmati rice from India. How many of us had basmati rice every day, growing up? Very rare, in my case never, because first of all we won’t find it and second in rare cases of availability, could not afford. All that is cultivated in India, I guess comes straight to the local Sam’s Club.

That same thing will happen to Indian mangoes in few years. That’s my prediction and I hate the people who pushed this deal with US.

Gandhiji, the great man who lived his life with simple means once observed, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” This deal, in order to bring Indian mangoes near to about a quarter-billion people, is going to make them dear to more than a billion people.

Added on June 5th:
Thank you all for opening up your hearts and to show what you made of. I greatly appreciate it mainly and more so, because I had written this piece last month for Jihvā and kept thinking about it, whether to publish or not. After all this is Indian mangoes we are talking about, a passionate subject for us all; I have seen nothing but welcoming mango thoranams and loud celebratory noises to this deal so far, be it in the mainstream media, blogosphere or in real world. Anything contradicting the self indulgent bully power of US is not popular, and expressing it means inviting abuse and ridicule usually. But my desire to express my point of view was so strong. I am happy that I published this piece and I am glad to see that I am not alone in my concerns. Thank you!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday June 4, 2006 at 1:18 am- permalink)
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