1 réflexion sur « Video Magro 27/04/2011 Manoela & Pst Edward »

    CHANDIGARH: As strange as it may sound, the island nation of Madagascar, located off Africa’s southeast coast, is drawing farmer-entrepreneurs in large numbers from India’s breadbasket, Punjab and Haryana.

    No. They aren’t the rich ones buying up luxury villas in exotic locales. They are the aspiring ones who expect to hit pay dirt as authorities in the former French colony lease out land for 50 or more years at prices as low as $15 (nearly `690) per acre a year for skilled farmers from abroad. Over the past few years, these new migrants from the cradle of India’s first Green Revolution have grown maize, pulses and peanuts, and are looking to try new crop varieties there.

    While Madagascar, which opened up its economy recently, is hard-selling itself to attract overseas funds and skills across sectors with sops, entrepreneurs such as Gurcharan Singh, 57, from Zirakpur in Punjab see themselves as huge beneficiaries of this give-and-take measure. « For me it is like a dream come true, » says the former army officer.

    Two years ago, he leased 500 acres at Diego-Suarez, 300 km from Madagascar’s capital city, Antananarivo. « I will be paying $15 per acre a year for the next 50 years. In India, I could never imagine having so much land for that price, » says Singh, who has sown maize and peanuts in his farm. The rent for cultivable land in Punjab ranges between $400 and $1,000 per acre a year.

    Like Gurchara Singh, 61-year-old Ajit Singh Mondair from Hoshiarpur also became enamoured of Madagascar on a tour he made a few years ago to survey farm lands.

    Mondair, who had just retired from the Indian Air Force then, immediately leased 500 acres. « I was in Madagascar for 15 days and found the country quite peaceful. Then I purchased land some 300 km away from the capital city. This country has some of the best beaches. I believe the deal was good. I have sown maize here, » says Mondair.

    You could hear similar love-at-first-sight stories, primarily thanks to the lollies doled out by President Andry Rajoelina’s government, from farmer-entrepreneurs such as Phool Singh Saini from Derabassi, Harman Singh Dhaliwal from Ludhiana and Surjit Singh from Fatehabad, who are all long-term tenants of large chunks of land in Madagascar. Agriculture accounts for 30% of the GDP and employs about 75% of the work force in Madagascar.

    History of Farmer Migration

    Sure, the region comprising Punjab and Haryana isn’t new to migration of farmers as well as other skilled and unskilled workers. Punjab’s farmers began migrating to greener pastures as early as the 1850s. Later in 1901, a major exodus of farmers took place, mainly from Ludhiana, Patiala and Jalandhar, to barren lands near Lahore, now in Pakistan, where the ruling British government of the time established « canal colonies ».Says M Rajivlochan, Professor of history, Panjab University: « These colonies got large barren lands under canal irrigation. Otherwise, Punjabis were largely traders or warriors, but not farmers. It was in 1901 Punjabi farmers largely realised the agriculture potential lying in faraway lands.
    And by the 1950s, farmers started migrating to the US and Canada. » He, however, says migration among farmers to overseas shores in other states such as Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar started much earlier, in the 16th century, during the time of Mughal emperor Akbar. Interestingly, in this latest phase of migration from the Punjab-Haryana belt, though Madagascar is the hot destination, farmers are trundling to other African countries as well, including Kenya, Ghana, Namibia and Ethiopia, all looking for the right farming skills and modern practices to boost agricultural output to combat abject poverty in parts of the continent.

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