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State of Andhra Pradesh (AP) in South India is currently re-thinking
its approach to farming, land use and marketing. The AP Governments
vision of the future of the States food system is presented
in strategy papers and its so-called Vision 2020. Whilst fundamental
and profound transformations of the food system are proposed
in Vision 2020, there has been little or no involvement of
small farmers and rural people in shaping this policy scenario.
local and state level partners have revealed considerable
concerns over the possible impacts of Vision 2020 on livelihoods
security, agricultural biodiversity and the very fabric of
local food systems and economies. AP officials and international
donors also point to areas in Vision 2020 that need further
public consultation and refinement.
UK based International Institute for Environment and Development
(IIED) and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) were
asked to facilitate a participatory process to encourage more
public debate in policy choices on food futures for the State
of Andhra Pradesh.
the citizens jury on food and farming futures
in Andhra Pradesh (A. P.)-, was an exercise in deliberative
democracy involving marginal-livelihood citizens from all
three regions of the state of Andhra Pradesh. It took place at the Government of Indias Farmer Liaison Centre
(KVK), Algole Village, Zaheerabad Taluk,
Medak District, Andhra Pradesh, June 25-July 1, 2001.
national partners involved in this international collaboration
on deliberative democracy and the future of food systems,
livelihoods and the environment include the Andhra Pradesh
Coalition in Defence of Diversity, The University of Hyderabad,
AP and the all-India National Biodiversity Strategy and Action
and inclusionary processes (DIPs) are used in the North and
the South to give the historically excluded a stake in decisions.
Over the past quarter century a number of participatory
methods have been developed in an attempt to supplement conventional
democratic processes, moving beyond traditional forms of consultation.
Some of these methods and processes include citizens
juries, neighbourhood forums, consensus conferences, scenario
workshops, multi-criteria mapping, participatory rural appraisal,
visioning exercises and deliberative polling.
examples that have allowed local voices to influence policy
workshops and on urban planning in Denmark
Citizen jury on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Karnataka
conferences and deliberative polling on location of toxic
wastes in Switzerland
experiences from the North and South have been used to design
and organise a Citizen Jury on Food Futures for Andhra Pradesh.
citizen jury. The central component of this exercise in deliberative
democracy was a citizen jury made up of representatives of
small and marginal farmers from AP, small traders and food
processors and consumers. To reflect the reality of rural
Andhra Pradesh, most of the jury members were small and marginal
farmers and also included indigenous (known in India as adivasi)
people. Over two thirds of the jury members were women.
Visions of the future. Jury members were presented with three different scenarios.
Each was advocated by key opinion-formers who attempted
to show the logic behind the scenario. It was up to the jury
to decide which of the three scenarios is most likely to provide
them with the best opportunities to enhance their livelihoods,
food security and environment twenty years from now.
Vision 1: Vision 2020. This scenario has been put forward by Andhra Pradeshs
Chief Minister and has been backed by a loan from the World
Bank. It proposes to consolidate small farms and rapidly increase
mechanisation and modernisation. Production enhancing technologies
such as genetic modification will be introduced in farming
and food processing, reducing the number of people on the
land from 70% to 40% by 2020. DFID (UK) has begun to provide
funding and advice towards this programme.
Vision 2: An export-based cash crop model of organic production. This vision of the future
is based on proposals within IFOAM and the International Trade
Centre (UNCTAD/WTO) for environmentally friendly farming linked
to national and international markets. This vision is also
increasingly driven by the demand of supermarkets in the North
to have a cheap supply of organic produce and comply with
new eco-labelling standards.
Vision 3: Localised food systems. A future scenario based on increased self-reliance
for rural communities, low external input agriculture, the
re-localisation of food production, markets and local economies,
-with long distance trade in goods that are surplus to production
or not produced locally. Support for this vision in India
can be drawn from the writings of Mahatma Gandhi, indigenous
peoples organisations and some farmers unions in India and
vision was presented through videos. Video footage was assembled
to illustrate the salient features of life under each particular
vision. Each vision narrative was followed by a succinct
summary of the policies and institutions that steered Andhra
Pradesh towards that particular food future (or vision).
Following the video presentations, expert witnesses presented
the case for a particular vision of the future. Members of
the AP Government (such as a senior member of the Department
of Agriculture), the corporate sector (including Dr Partha
Dasgupta of Syngenta) and civil society organisations (such
as Dr Sagari Ram Das of Anthra and Dr Debashis Banerji of
Samaj Pragati Sahayog) were given equal amounts of time to
present their case to the jury. Jury members were allowed
to cross question expert witnesses after their presentation.
jury was selected from a range of different livelihood systems
across the three regions of Andhra Pradesh. The selection
process was overseen by a team of participatory researchers
at the University of Hyderabad, led by Dr Vinod Pavarala,
Reader in Communication.
deliberations. Jury members considered all three visions, assessing pros and cons on
the basis of their own knowledge, priorities and aspirations.
The different contributions of invited expert witnesses was
also important for the jurys deliberations. The jury
members were not asked to simply choose between vision 1,
2 or 3. Instead, outsider facilitation encouraged them to
critically assess the viability and relevance of each scenario
for the future. They could choose a particular pre-formed
vision OR combine elements of all three futures and derive
their own unique vision(s).
The scenarios were images of different possibilities
for the future. They were meant to inspire criticism which
can assist in the generation of new visions and action proposals,
-including policy recommendations.
An oversight panel.
The jury/scenario workshop process was overseen by an oversight
panel,- a group of external observers. They checked the videos
produced and observed the whole process. Its was their role
is to ensure that each Food Future is presented in a fair and unprejudiced way, and that
the process is trustworthy and is not captured by any interest
Panel consisted of:
Justice Savant, Chair, Press Commission of India and
former Chief Judge of the
Supreme Court of India.
Dr Paul ter Weel, High Commissioner for Rural Development,
Ms Savitri, member of Giridijan Deepika, an Adivasi-run
NGO for tribal peoples empowerment working in the Eastern
Ghats region of Andhra Pradesh.
Mr Y.N. Naidu, Andhra Pradesh coordinator of AME (Man and Ecology), India
Dr Sandeep Chachra, Regional Manager, Hyderabad, ActionAid
Representatives of the World Bank and the UKs
Department for International Development were also invited
to act as independent observers.
Funding for Prajateeru came from the Dutch Government
overseas development agency (DGIS) (via IIEDs Sustainable
Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods Programme), the Rockefeller
Foundation (via IDSs Environment Group), and the Andhra
Pradesh Coalition in Defence of Diversity.
Suda Goparaju, Programme
Support Team, Rural Livelihoods Project, Government of Andhra
Kavitha Kuruganti, Programmes Division, ActionAid
Vinod Pavarala, Reader, Communication Programme, University
professionals were invited for two purposes:
To film the entire citizen jury/scenario workshop
process. The resulting comprehensive visual archives (video)
are available to any party or external agencies wishing to
learn from this experience or check for shortcomings in the
To relay information on the event and its outcomes
to a wider audience,-both nationally and internationally.
The key conclusions reached by the jury their
vision included a desire for
Food and farming for self reliance and community control
To maintain healthy soils, diverse crops, trees and
livestock, and to build on our indigenous knowledge, practical
skills and local institutions.
And opposition to:
proposed reduction of those making their livelihood from the
land from 70%-40% in Andhra Pradesh
Land consolidation and displacement of rural people
GM Crops - including Vitamin A rice & Bt cotton
Loss of control over medicinal plants including their
jury process and verdict will hopefully encourage more public
deliberation and pluralism in the framing and implementation
of policies on food and agriculture in Andhra Pradesh, thus
contributing to democratic governance. Because of APs
status as one of Indias model states, the outcomes of
this deliberative and inclusive process should be of national
and international significance.
jurys vision and priorities for food and farming will
inform the directions of
4 year action research on Sustaining Local Food Systems,
Agricultural Biodiversity and Livelihoods in Andhra Pradesh.
Prajateerpu provides a fascinating case study in which an
attempt was made for the inclusion of the genuinely poor and
marginalised into the policy process. The necessary analysis
for conclusions to be reached is now underway.
M.P and Wakeford, T., 2001. Deliberative democracy and citizen
empowerment. Special issue of PLA Notes 40, IIED. Co-published
by The Commonwealth Foundation, ActionAid and IIED.
"Sustaining local food systems,
agricultural biodiversity and livelihoods" project.
Environment Groups Democratising Biotechnology
Independent' Newspaper reports the outcomes of the Prajateerpu
Citizens jury on Food and Farming futures in Andhra Pradesh
Citizens Jury / Scenario Workshop on Food and Farming Futures
for Andhra Pradesh, India' - Michel
Pimbert (IIED) and Tom Wakeford (IDS)