Sunday, June 6, 2010


To read through the project document with the World Bank soliciting funds for agricultural development, a dispassionate observer can be condoned if an impression is created that the objectives of the project are applicable to a poor third world country in Africa. But the fact that the USD 100 million project has been sanctioned to China, the second super power after the US in the world, may be of shock to many. Look at the targets sought to be achieved with the aid being offered to this economic super power by the World Bank.

"Specifically, the project will assist in the development of new standards for good agricultural practices. These new standards include both legal minimum standards and detailed recommendations for farmers on the best agricultural practices available ranging from appropriate cultivation practices, pesticide use, integrated pest management, post harvest practices, animal husbandry practices, aquaculture production practices, to the appropriate use of veterinary medicines. To increase the adoption of standardized good agricultural practices, matching grants will be provided to farmer groups or agricultural product processors to set up 200 to 300 demonstration sites that use improved agricultural practices to produce safer agricultural products. The project will also finance the upgrading of the agricultural product safety and quality testing, management, monitoring, and enforcement system in agricultural, livestock and aquaculture. The establishment of a risk-based agricultural product safety monitoring system will be piloted. A number of laboratories for testing pesticide and veterinary product residues will be constructed or rehabilitated".

How China has reached the status of an economic giant without having the wherewithal for managing its agriculture efficiently during the last five decades may remain a mystery if the World Bank aided project document is to be believed. In almost all fronts of agricultural production China is either the top producer and exporter or comes under the top five performers on a global scale. Why an organization like the World Bank is wasting its resources on a country like China with its enormous economy and technological prowess while there are many other deserving cases, may be part of the international political intrigues, difficult to discern for ordinary mortals.

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