Saturday, April 16, 2011


Fast urbanization is a problem faced by practically every country and its snow balling effect on food security is well known. Imagine what will happen if all the rural folks migrate to cities looking for better earning opportunities as agriculture, especially in a country like India with very small individual holdings, is never a route for achieving a decent quality of life. In spite of massive subsidization of agriculture, farmer suicides continue unabated and there does not appear to be any consensus as to the right approach to tackle this grave human problem. While land consolidation is often talked about as the major pre-requisite for making cultivation remunerative, political philosophy often prevents such land reforms as vote bank pursuit seems to be more important than national development. Against this background the recent development in the West to make urban areas some what rural through encouragement of animal breeding is interesting.

"Two efforts are underway to more easily allow residents to keep chickens and goats in Denver, though the two movements could intersect with one another. The Mayor's Sustainable Food Policy Committee is reviewing one legislative effort that would allow residents to keep food-producing animals without a permit. The second effort is being led by a citizen who has proposed taking the issue to voters in November. It is possible that the legislative effort could be overshadowed by the ballot initiative proposed by James Bertini, a longtime advocate for food-producing animals and director of Denver Urban Homesteaders. If the initiative makes the November ballot and voters approve it, the legislative effort could be complicated. If the initiative makes the ballot and is rejected by voters, City Council members may be less likely to approve the legislative proposal.Bertini says if the city acts quickly and approves a streamlined, less onerous process for allowing food-producing animals in Denver, then he would abandon his effort".

It was Prof Abdul Kalam who first propounded the philosophy that rural areas must be "urbanized", providing some of the comforts of city living though how far such a concept can be translated into reality is some thing to be seen. The move to allow urban households to have their own meat animals is fraught with lot of implications. How can the neighborhood tolerate a few house having their chicken, goats etc disturbing their peace and damaging their properties? What about the stench emanating from such households having some animals? How are these animals going to be slaughtered? Probably in course of time some clarity may emerge on these issues. Phenomena like urban farming, sky gardens, roof top gardens etc are invariably based on passion and commitment by a few and how far the interest can be sustained remains to be seen.


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