Skip to main content

Gujarat govt's policies are "not in consonance with objectives of international family farming year"

By Our Representative
Three voluntary agencies, Paryavaran Mitra, Paryavaraniya Vikas Kendra and Millet Network of India, on the occasion of the International Family Farming Day (November 22) have sharply criticized the main thrust of the Gujarat government, of industrial growth, saying, for this it has “come up with many liberal policies for land acquisition”, putting forth “many circulars like acquisition of government and gauchar land for special economic zone (SEZ) projects and regarding use of wasteland for corporate farming.”
In a statement, they added, “It is important to understand that these types of policies are against family farming and sustainable agriculture. The rapid pace of approval of proposals on industrialization has put a great amount of pressure on land and on other livelihood options of communities. As per the survey of state Socio-Economic Review 2011-12, there is decrease in area under cultivation for food grain by 3.47 per cent and decrease in food grain production by 8.08 per cent between 2010-11 and 2011-12.”
The statement underlined, “Lack of crop production is due to decrease in agricultural land because of heavy industrialization and land acquisition. By encouraging family farming, the issue of food insecurity can be addressed as farmers can derive their own food from their farms.”
It added, “The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its report has pointed out that percentage of severely malnourished children in Gujarat had gone up from 0.85% (of total number of children weight) in 2006-07 to 4.56% in 2010-11. In the last five years in Gujarat, 26 farmers have committed suicide due to crop failure. Malnutrition and poverty are the issues which can also be dealt through family farming.”
The NGOs demanded:
* The Gujarat government should pursue the key objective of the International Year for Family Farming (IYFF), declared by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN for 2014, to promote policies in favour of the sustainable development though proper allocations in the budget. Some policies of the state government like acquisition of government and gauchar land for SEZ projects encourage the use of gauchar land for industrial use. This policy should be immediately withdrawn as it is against the concept of family farming.
* “Corporate farming” which is also one of the policies of the state government also needs to be withdrawn. Rather government wasteland on which rural livelihood is dependent should be used for family farming.

* The concept of 'animal hostels' to house cattle in a common facility in villages is being pursued vigorously in Gujarat. This concept is against family farming and should not be encouraged any further.
The statement explained, “The international year of family farming is an initiative promoted by the world rural forum and supported by over 360 civil society and farmers’ organizations. This celebration aims to become a tool to stimulate active policies for sustainable development of agricultural systems based farmer families, communal units, indigenous groups, cooperative and fishing families. All this work is being made from the perspective of effectively combating poverty and hunger and the search for a rural development based on the respect for environment and biodiversity.”
Among the key objectives of the programmes, it said, are, “support to the development of agricultural, environmental and social policies conducive to sustainable family farming; increase in knowledge, communication and public awareness; attainment of better understanding of family farming needs, potential and constraints and ensure technical support; and creation of synergies for sustainability.”
Coming to the thrust that India should take for this, the statement said, it “ought to focus on the key objectives of FAO. As agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy and many Indians derive their livelihood from the agricultural sector, the idea of family farming should be encouraged.” It adds, “As family farming which has been culture in India for many years is recently shrinking and degrading, thus adversely affecting food production and livelihood of the people.”
Calling the National Food Security Act “historic”, the statement said, it is “an important milestone in India’s fight against hunger has given importance to millets like sorghum and pearl and has been included in public distribution system. Moreover, millets have the potential to adapt to climate change and thus growing millet is one of the best ways to mitigate climate change.”
“With the changing time, more Indians are eating distributed grains like rice and wheat with decrease in millet production in the country and curbed the diversity of Indian diets as well as biodiversity in nature. By consuming more millets, farmers in dry land areas will get encouragement to grow crops that are best suited for those regions”, the statement pointed out. The NGOs demand from the Government of India that:
* Millet production should be promoted by the way of family farming by incentivizing it through Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) programme.
* Family farming should be included in National Climate Change Action Plan to encourage sustainable agriculture.

Comments

TRENDING

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.