Skip to main content

Farm laws to open floodgates for corporate loot of agriculture: NGO alliance

Counterview Desk

The day farmers Bharat bandh, December 8, Oikotree India, which is attached with the Geneva-based international alliance called Oikotree, claiming to work for a more just and sustainable world economy as an “essential to the integrity of the Christian faith”, held a virtual discussion with 37 members of its members from 15 Indian states representing several movements and civil society organisations to declare "solidarity" with the protesting farmers.
Deliberating on pros and cons of the three farmers bill introduced by Government of India, in a statement at the end of the discussion, said, “Big companies will have the freedom to stock commodities -- it means they will dictate terms to farmers which may lead to less prices for the cultivators, while at the same time encourage hoarding which will push the prices to the consumers higher.”

Text:

Farmers from several Indian states are protesting against three new Agriculture Reforms Acts, that the government says will open up the tightly-controlled agriculture sector to free-market forces. It is claimed that the bills, passed by India’s parliament make it easier for farmers to sell their produce directly to private buyers and enter into contract farming with private companies.
The government suggests that private sector investments will stimulate growth. The Union government says the ordinances are pro-farmer and will provide barrier-free trade for farmers produce outside notified Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) or mandis and empower farmers to enter into farming agreements with private players prior to production for sale of agri-produce.
The farmer unions opine that the ordinances will not only phase out the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and the traditional APMC market system but will also be disadvantageous for the small and marginal farmers. Besides the farmers, the commission agents fear that the new laws will bypass their business and they will be rendered jobless.
Interestingly, the farmers want the mandi system to remain intact, albeit with appropriate reforms due to a variety of reasons. The biggest fear which is haunting the farmers is withdrawal of the MSP and procurement by Food Corporation of India (FCI). They say farming is no more a profitable vocation and if MSP is withdrawn they will not be able to survive as real crop value will not be realised.
The farmer unions have expressed the apprehension that by allowing contract farming agreements, the big players and companies will control the farming which will harm the small and marginal farmers. They also fear that the lack of procurement would affect the Public Distribution System (PDS) system that would lead to reduced food security, pushing the country’s hunger index to even lower levels than it is.
The other reason of the farmers is that in the present system they are able to avail hand-loan finances from the commission agents to sow the crop and return it when the product reaches the market (mandi), as the banks are hesitant to lend money to the poor farmers and moreover it is a laborious process to avail loans from the banks, hence they mainly depend on the private money lenders and these commission agents.
The farmers fear that once the private markets are established, the traditional APMC (mandi) markets will be diluted and made defunct. The farmers will have to depend on corporations and private firms. The bill relating to commodities aims to remove cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion, potatoes and other essential commodities from the list of essential commodities. It provides for deregulation of production, storage, movement and distribution of these essential food commodities. 
Big companies will have freedom to stock commodities. They will dictate terms to farmers leading to less prices for cultivators
Big companies will have the freedom to stock commodities -- it means they will dictate terms to farmers which may lead to less prices for the cultivators, while at the same time encourage hoarding which will push the prices to the consumers higher. The three Acts undermines the food security concerns, particularly of the poor.
For decades, farmers found themselves driven deeper into debt by crop failures and the inability to secure competitive prices for their produce. Finding themselves unable to cope, many have resorted to taking their own lives, the new laws would only exacerbate this situation.
These ordinances will cause irreparable damage to farming and food security in the country. The farmers are already stressed and are committing suicides every day. These three laws will destroy agriculture and hike the food costs and destroy the PDS, thus food security and increase in hunger.
The farmers are demanding complete withdrawal of the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020. Farm laws are to open floodgates for total corporate loot of agriculture.
We the civil society and the members of Oikotree India stand in solidarity with the farmers and their rightful demands and we urge the government to immediately repeal the three farm bills which are against and threat to the farmers survival, their culture and agriculture as well as affect the food security for the poor and food sovereignty of the farmers. We also condemn the inhuman and undemocratic way of treating the farmers and their rightful struggle to protect all our lives who feed us every day and all day. No Farmers No Food, In Solidarity.

Comments

TRENDING

Arrest of Fr Stan Swamy: UN makes public letter seeking explanation from Govt of India

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Government of India (GoI), three senior United Nations (UN) officials – Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues – have said that the arrest of veteran activist Father Stan Swamy in October 2020 marks “the escalation of harassment the human rights defender has been subjected to since 2018.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Farm laws 'precursor' to free trade deal envisaged by US corporates to allow GMO

By Rajiv Shah Did the Government of India come up with the three farm laws, first rushed by promulgating ordinances in June 2020, to not just open the country’s agricultural sector to the corporate sector but also as a precursor to comply with the requirements of the United States for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as envisaged by the outgoing US president Donald Trump?

Modi govt 'implementing' IMF-envisaged corporate takeover of Indian agriculture

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* The surge of wealth of Indian billionaires and the Modi-led BJP government’s onslaught on poor, marginalised and farmers continue to grow simultaneously as masses face annihilating pandemic of coronavirus. There is 90 % rise of Indian billionaire’s wealth over last one decade. It is not accidental.

Differing from Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah holds a 'different' theory of caste system

By Banavath Aravind* I was introduced to Kancha Ilaiah’s work when I was about 20 years old. He was then in the midst of a controversy for a chapter in his book "Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution", which termed the Baniya community as social smugglers. During many of his debates, I had come to notice his undeterred fighting spirit in trying to bring up certain fundamental social issues that were hitherto undiscussed. I eventually came across some of his works and started reading them silently. I’m deliberately stressing upon the word ‘silently’ here, as this was the kind of silence particularly associated with sensitive social issues like caste, religion, etc. But, as I write this essay, I feel silences on sensitive issues should be broken. Ilaiah opened up an entirely new debate that had the vigour and strength to counter the systemic Brahmanism. His methods of research were also novel in terms of going back to the roo

New trend? Riots 'expanded' to new rural areas post-2002 Gujarat carnage: Report

A VHP poster declaring a Gujarat village part of Hindu Rashtra  By Rajiv Shah  Buniyaad, a Gujarat-based civil society organization, engaged in monitoring of communal violence in the state, in a new report, “Peaceful Gujarat: An Illusion or Truth?” has said that a “new trend” has come about in communal violence in the state, where the parts of Gujarat which didn't see communal riots in 2002 are experiencing “regular bouts” of communal violence.

Fr Stan's arrest figures in UK Parliament: Govt says, Indian authorities were 'alerted'

London protest for release of Stan Swamy  By Rajiv Shah Will Father Stan Swamy’s arrest, especially the fact that he is a Christian and a priest, turn out to be major international embarrassment for the Government of India? It may well happen, if a recent debate on a resolution titled “India: Persecution of Minority Groups” in the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament is any indication. While Jesuits have protested Fr Stan's arrest in UK and US, the resolution, adopted in the Parliament, said, “This House has considered the matter of persecution of Muslims, Christians and minority groups in India”.

A new fad in India, coding-for-toddlers culture needs to be 'nipped' in the bud

By Aditya Pandey* We are all aware of the dire consequences of subjecting young kids to intense academic pressure from an early age. In India, we have coaching institutes like FIITJEE and Resonance offering programmes for 6th standard kids to prepare them for “NTSE, IJSO, PRMO and other Olympiads”. The duration of these programmes is around 175 hours – hours that could've been spent playing games and making friends instead.

More than 5,200 Gujarat schools to be closed down, merged, says govt document

RTE Forum, Gujarat, releasing fact-sheet on education By Our Representative A Gujarat government document has revealed that it is planning to close down 5,223 schools in the name of school merger. The document, dated July 20, 201 was released by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Gujarat. It shows that the worst-affected districts because of this merger are those which are populated by marginalized communities – especially tribals, Dalits and minorities, said RTE Forum’s Gujarat convener Mujahid Nafees.

Consumption pattern, not economic shock behind 'poor' child health indicators

By Neeraj Kumar, Arup Mitra* The findings of the latest round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) conducted in 2019-20 covering 22 States/UTs under Phase-I  present a somewhat disappointing picture of children’s health in India. Majority of the experts, based on prima facie evidence, just highlighted the deteriorating sign of child health in terms of increase in proportion of stunted and underweight children in most of the phase-I states/UTs over last two rounds of NFHS (2015-16 to 2019-20).