The Indo-Norwegian Project in Kerala: A "Development" Project Revisited

  • Johan Galtung (Autor/in)

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In this article the effects of a development assistance project - the Indo-Norwegian Project in Kerala - are examined. it is pointed out that the project was initiated in 1952 so that long term processes have had a chance to unfold themselves before the project data were collected thirty years later. The project had an explosive impact on fisheries in Kerala and in India as a whole, in terms of "modernization", trawlers with modern nets, deep freezing of the catch. The social, or rather non-economic, effects, however, were very negative in five important respects:
1) there is less fish protein available than before because storage place etc. is used for seafood for the export market (shrimp etc.);
2) the fishermen have not had their material standard of living improved;
3) considerable conflict and tension, even violence, have arisen in the fishermen communities as a result of the "modernization";
4) the natural resources are to a large extent depleted as a result of the overfishing now made possible;
5) the export to Japan was stopped for a short period, then resumed when the prices fell (considerably) - showing the vulnerability of the entire exercise. It is pointed out that this is likely to be the general story whenever a processing (or extraction) technology, accompanied by a storage (or distribution) technology, canbeused to make several products available, some more and some less expensive, to a market where the higher classes and richer countries are willing to pay for the more expensive products.