It was in 2005 while Anand was driving us through California on way to and from Arizona and famous Grand Canyon I saw the huge fertile land on the both sides of the freeways and exclaimed, ‘I wish Man Mohan Singh would talk with Bush and get land on lease for India farmers who just starve for it’. I never knew that many Indians now converted as Americans of Indian origin own land and orchards in California and are in business of agriculture. It was in 2008 that I came to know of it from Harpal Singh who worked in Hindustan Motors and have now settled in Pleasanton where Anand has his house.
But perhaps Africa provides a bigger opportunity for the farming community of India with huge population engaged in the business of agriculture.
As reported, as many as 80 or more Indian companies have already invested around Rs 11,300 crore in leasing million of hectares of land for farming and plantation. Unfortunately, there are only few individuals or farmer families in that endeavour.
The other day I called Dr. Kailash Narayan Singh who passed out with me from IIT, Kharagpur with me in 1961 and was with GB Pant Agriculture University. I was amazed to hear that he was in Ethiopia, must be on certain assignment of importance.
I request the government and private big entrepreneurs and agencies to explore the possibility of involving the farming community in the opportunity that African countries are providing. As reported, Africa has 630 million hectares of cultivable land, of which only 197 million hectares is under cultivation.
Can Indian rich farmers who take so much of pride in their lineage of farming spread their wing as they can’t do any more in the country with land ceiling act and no land for sale?
However, it will depend on the entrepreneurship and innovative approaches of and from individuals.