Email your MP to ask for their support
Farmers and farmworkers in India are protesting against three bills affecting the agricultural sector and demanding a fair Minimum Support Price (MSP) guaranteed by the Indian givernment for their crops. You can learn more about the bills and why farmers are protesting here
, but the take-home message is that the new legislation will loosen rules around sale, pricing and storage of farm produce allowing a farm sector which has historically been protected by government regulation to be liberalised and opened to corporate investment. The farmers are resolutely and peacefully refusing to accept the consequences of these bills and are vowing to continue protesting until they are repealed. The farmers are saying "They tried to bury us, they didn't know we were seeds!"
The farm bills take India down the development route that the UK has already taken towards the consolidation and industrialisation of the agriculture sector. As we have already learned in the UK- this is a path for agriculture that consolidates the control of corporations and supermarkets and negatively impacts the independent SME farming sector, destroying our food sovereignty.
In India the impact of these Bill on farmers will be particularly accute. India is a nation of highly productive small farmers with over 120 million farmers
& 140 million agricultural
workers/labourers comprising nearly a third of the total rural population and 50% of the national workforce. Many states in have strong powers to provide a guaranteed minimum price to farmers, which provides a fair livelihood for them and the agricultural workers they may hire, alongside ensuring basic food security for India. Removal of these protections will have a direct impact on the livelihoods of these millions of farmers farmworkers in India and will cause hunger and loss of dignity on a scale we can only begin to comprehend.The UK government, is implicit in promoting market reforms and providing expertise to the Indian government to allow private investment and increase corporate control of the agricuture sector in India.
We are asking our MPs to act now to support India's farmers in two ways:
the UK approach to aid to India, including the Conceptual Farmework on Agriculture and the UK-India Infrastructure Technical Co-Operation Facility (ITCF),which promotes contract farming (one of the issues the farmers are protesting about) and finances consultants to "alleviate bottlenecks to private sector investment in agriculture" in India.
- Stop exports of pesticides banned in the UK to India and other countries, including Paraquat, which is responsible for thousands of farmer deaths in India - a situation so severe that doctors in India have resorted to hunger strikes demanding a ban on its usage.
Please send a letter to your MP asking them to act on these two issues.
In solidarity with India's farmers!