Saturday, June 25, 2016

People in Paanama, Sri Lanka protest again demanding their lands back

21st June 2016

People in Paanama chased away from their lands on 17th July 2010 by the official thugs of the Rajapaksa government. Since then, people in Panama demand for return to their lands with the support of the civil society organization in Sri Lanka.
As a result of the continues struggles for several years by the people of Panama and civil society together, landless people of Panama were confirmed to ensure their land rights and giving back their lands by a cabinet decision made on 11th February 2015 by the "good governance" government.
But the government officer who was addressed by the cabinet decision to take required actions to release the lands back to the people continued to neglect the government decision, therefore people of Panama decided to move to their lands again on 26 March 2016. However the officer has sent demanding letters to the people asking to evacuate themselves from the lands before 30th June 2016.
Hence, a protest campaign was held in Panama on 21st June 2016 against this dreadful situation asking the government whether their cabinet decision a joke. People in Panama number of civil society organization and their members from all around the country was participated in this protest campaign.

"Do not try to take us away from our lands. If anyone tried, that will be a catastrophe. These are our lands. Good governance promised us we would be given them back. Please do this without providing false and fake solution. A sticker was also distributed among tourists in Panama and Arugambay to build their awareness on the issue.  


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Farmer’s Message for Narendra Modi

Was the prime minister’s standing ovation for farmers a cruel joke?
The Wire

http://i2.wp.com/thewire.in/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/15686455816_bacea3fb20_o.jpg
Paddy farmers in Tamil Nadu. Credit: Feng Zhong/Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In July 2014, barely 60 days into his new role as the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi was addressing a group of agricultural researchers and scientists in New Delhi on the occasion of the 86th foundation day of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. It was also his first public event as a newly-elected prime minister.
In a speech that was nothing more than politically correct rhetoric, Modi called for a standing ovation for India’s farmers. He even took a dig at the scientists, reportedly telling them that it is not enough to spend time in five-star seminar rooms analysing why things cannot be done, but also important to think about how these problems can be overcome.
Modi was evidently scoring a point over his predecessor, who was often accused of turning a blind eye to India’s farm force. He wanted to craft an image of a farmers’ leader. Amidst the many things he said, he also coined a new punchline, ‘per drop, more crop’,which was splashed across newspapers at the time.
Two years on, I am sitting in my farm in Gattawady village, Erode, Tamil Nadu, filled with mixed feelings. Here is why.
Low budget allocation
That dig at scientists notwithstanding, the budget allocation for agricultural research is despicably low. There are some indigenous drought resistant varieties of crops, but Indian universities and institutions remain heavily underfunded and unable to make any serious research interventions on that front. A little bit of a push from the government to promote indigenous research could go a long way in addressing the climate-induced distress that we are witnessing of late. Instead, what we are seeing is a systemic weakening of public sector research and institutions, and attempts to serve the interests of transnational corporations.
No visits during drought
While the country has been under the grip of one of the most severe droughts of recent times, the prime minister, between his hectic foreign trips and election sloganeering, could not find time to visit any of these parched pockets, including mine. It is one thing to be occupied with delivering monologues on public radio and quite another to actually pay heed to the concerns of people on the ground. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of India had to remind the government that rural distress needs urgent attention.
Inadequate increase in MSP and low farm incomes
The most important of these points for me is that one of the poll promises of the Bharatiya Janata Party was to increase the minimum support price (MSP) to 50% above costs. A few days ago, they made a joke of that promise by increasing the MSP of rice by 4.5%.
How does the government decide on the MSP? The answer lies with the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). They conduct national MSP calculations, which apply only to 25 crops. The methodology is opaque and questionable, especially when the same MSP is declared for all states, irrespective of the varying labour and input costs in each region. Or to borrow the prime minister’s words, a group of people who sit in air-conditioned seminar rooms decide on the MSP for paddy while completely neglecting the reality on the ground. The functioning of the CACP is always to satisfy the government’s treasury rather than farmers. This is evident from the announced MSP for rice as well.
There is a reason why a farmer produces paddy or wheat despite low prices. It is because she or he is assured that the produce will be procured by the government at the MSP. However, oilseeds and pulses are most often sold in open markets and there is no assured procurement from the state. If someone says that this was done to motivate farmers to produce pulses (thereby reducing the import burden), that argument farthest from reality.
What is unimaginably hurtful is the fact that on one hand they talk about doubling farm income, while on the other we see a dead end for the MSP. It also makes you think: the average farm income in this country hovers around Rs 6,000 per month. By 2022, even if by some wave of a magic wand the government doubles this, it still amounts to the pitiable sum of Rs 12,000.
Apart from qualifying as a good headline, what use does the promise of doubling farm income serve? Was Modi’s standing ovation for farmers a cruel joke?
Kannaiyan is a farmer, General Secretary of the South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (SICCFM) and associated with La Via Campesina, a global peasant movement. He can be contacted at sukannaiyan69@gmail.com 

Please find the article on the following link:
http://thewire.in/2016/06/07/a-farmers-message-for-narendra-modi-40948/

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

On April 17th, 2016-- KRRS inaugurates first Migrant Farmers

17 April - International Peasants Day- The Struggle Migrates to the City!
Migrant peasant women and men launch organisation in Bangalore city. Most now work as domestic workers, auto rickshaw drivers, street vendors or coconut sellers, yet they maintain their peasant identity and want to continue their social justice struggle protecting the rights of migrants
‪#‎KRRS‬

Chukki Nanjundaswamy speaks in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, April 17th, 2016 as a new chapter of KRRS is inaugurated

Domestic Worker Representatives

Auto Rickshaw Driver Representatives


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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A wholesome agro-culture, A healthy citizenry, A toxin-free nation - A step forward to accept Ecological Agriculture as a policy in Sri Lanka

A wholesome agro-culture, A healthy citizenry, A toxin-free nation - A step forward to accept Ecological Agriculture as a policy in Sri Lanka 

Toxin-free Agricultural Education Trade Exhibition and Academic Dialogue started today, 6th March 2015 at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Convention Hall in Colombo Sri Lanka organized by the National Program of Food Production of Precedential Secretariat of Sri Lanka. The event has organized under the theme of "A wholesome agro-culture, A healthy citizenry, A toxin-free nation" as the launching ceremony of shifting Sri Lanka's agriculture in to chemical free ecological agriculture under the guidance of Sri Lanka's president Mithreepala Sirisena.

Mithreepala Sirisena pledged that he will convert the Sri Lanka's agriculture into a more sustainable, environment friendly, healthier and ecological farming system at the last presidential election which he won in January 2015. After he got in to power as the Sri Lanka's precedent, Sirisena banned five toxic pesticides including world's most used weedicide Glyphosate which is a most selling product of Monsanto Company. Propanil, Carbaryl, Cholopyrifos and Carbofuran are the other four pesticides banned in Sri Lanka in February 2015 together with Glyphosate. According to the ban these pesticides are prohibited to import, store, distribute, sale and use for any reason.

President took this fearless decision according to the revelation of WHO report saying that these pesticides has direct links to the Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown etiology (CKDu) which has affected more than 200,000 farmers in the main agricultural regions in the country during last decade. According to the hospital reports more than 9 farmers are dying every day due to CKDu in Sri Lanka. However the president decision was under heavy attack by the agro-chemical companies, agronomists and scientists backed by the agribusiness but farmer organizations like Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) and handful of scientists and academics supported his wise decision to ban these silent killers.

This toxic-free agricultural exhibition is another step by the president in this long process and will be open for public until 8th Mach 2016. This is an opportunity for the farming community, farmer organizations, researches, scientists, journalist and artists who are committed to create toxin-free nation and will accommodate discussions, debates, seminars, lectures and presentations by the agro-ecologists and activists. 


Thursday, February 4, 2016

MAJOR FARMER UNIONS OF INDIA REJECT GM MUSTARD; ASK JAVADEKAR NOT TO ALLOW GEAC TO PROCEED WITH ITS SECRET MEETING TO PROCESS GM MUSTARD APPLICATION ON FEB.5TH

*MAJOR FARMER UNIONS OF INDIA REJECT GM MUSTARD:*
 
*ASK JAVADEKAR NOT TO ALLOW GEAC TO PROCEED WITH ITS SECRET MEETING TO
PROCESS GM MUSTARD APPLICATION ON FEB.5TH*
 
*New Delhi, February 3rd, 2016*: All major farmer unions of India, in a
joint statement, have slammed the Minister for Environment, Forests and
Climate Change for allowing the regulatory body for transgenics to meet on
February 5th to decide on the fate of GM mustard. They demanded that the
secret meeting of the regulator be cancelled immediately by the Minister.

“All major mustard growing states in India, including BJP-ruled states,
heeding to citizens’ voices and scientific advice, have come out against GM
mustard. They have also expressed concern about the secretive processes
adopted by the regulators and for not putting out biosafety data in the
public domain. The Supreme Court has issued notices to the Centre’s
regulators on a contempt petition. Despite all of this, Prakash Javadekar
is allowing Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) to hold its
meeting to process the GM mustard application on Friday (Feb.5th). It makes
us wonder what and wherefrom is the need and pressure emerging from”, they
said. They objected to the secretive manner in which the government is
proceeding on this matter, without public scrutiny of data or any public
consultations including with farmers’ unions, despite the GMO being created
ostensibly for farmers’ benefit.
 
The farmer unions pointed out that the government is pushing unneeded,
unwanted and unsafe GMOs on the farming community, when viable and feasible
alternatives that are safe, affordable and farmer-controlled are already
available that need to be promoted with farmers for sustainable farm
livelihoods. In the case of mustard for instance, there are non-transgenic
hybrids already available in the market, in addition to high-yielding
mustard varieties. Further, new agro-ecological approaches like System of
Mustard Intensification (SMI) are out-yielding these unsafe solutions
significantly, ensuring vastly-increased profitability for farmers, if
yield is a concern in the first instance. Such alternatives are not however
being invested upon by the government, probably because of collusion with
the seed and chemical industry. The experience with Bt cotton, which has
not addressed the issue of farm crisis or reduced the number farm suicides
is another example. This year, lakhs of farmers in Gujarat, Punjab,
Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Telangana suffered due to whitefly and
pink bollworm attack on Bt cotton while the seed companies are going
scot-free without being made accountable for the losses. Leaders of the
farmer unions pointed out that after 13 years of Bt cotton in India, the
myth around GM crops has been busted fully, while a deadly unaccountable
experiment was unleashed on the lives of farmers. Agro-chemical usage has
gone up in cotton, including of pesticides, and most cotton seed in the
market is today controlled by one MNC, known for its anti-farmer operations
– Monsanto.
 
There was deep concern expressed about control in farming wrested from
farmers’ hands into the hands of agro-industry, whether it be of seed
companies or chemical companies. The developers of GM mustard hold several
patents related to the product, and are obviously free to sell these IPRs
to any large corporation despite wearing the garb of public sector
scientists at this point of time. There is also the question of native seed
varieties being contaminated by GM mustard. Foreign genes related to male
sterility and herbicide tolerance will then affect the crop of non-GM
growers also. There are many farmers in north India who also take up
bee-keeping along with mustard cultivation, and scientific evidence on GM
mustard shows that bee population will get affected. This would lead to
losses in both mustard production and honey production for these farmers,
they pointed out. The farmer unions also informed that while there are many
extant farmers’ varieties waiting to be registered with the Plant Varieties
Protection and Farmers Rights Authority, this is not happening while
public-sector and private-sector varieties are being prioritized for the
purpose. Why is the government not protecting these farmers’ varieties and
promoting the same, they demanded to know.
 
These farmer unions warned that the fate of the government in the case of
GM mustard will be that of an unwanted land ordinance that the government
pressed for again and again, uncaring of the public mood and demand. They
reiterated that they will resist any environmental release approval of any
GMO in the country with all their strength, and work towards real solutions
that will support farm livelihoods.
 
*For more information, contact*:
Shri Mohinimohan Misra (BKS): 090136-19587
Com Malla Reddy (AIKS): 094900-98666
Shri Yudhvir Singh (AICCFM): 098681-46405
 
Com Hannan Mollah, General Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha (36 Canning Lane)

Yudhvir Singh, General Secretary, All India Coordination Committee of Farmers Movement (AICCFM)
Mohinimohan Misra, National Secretary, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS)
Atul Kumar Anjan, General Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha (Ajay Bhawan)
Yogendra Yadav, Jai Kissan Andolan
Raghav Sharan Sharma, President, All India Agragami Kissan Sabha
Ch. Rakesh Tikait, National Spokesman, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU)
Ram Pal Jat, National President, Kissan Mahapanchayat,
Chamarasa Malli Patil, President, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS)
Baburam Sharma, President, All India Krantikari Kissan Sabha
Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, State President, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Punjab
Uttam Gayen, General Secretary, Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity, West Bengal
K. Sella Mutthu, President, Tamil Nadu Farmers Association
Maganbhai Patel, President, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), Gujarat
S. Malla Reddy, Vice President, All India Kisan Sabha
Badribhai Joshi, Secretary, Khedut Samaj, Gujarat
Badri Narayan Chaudhary, Mahamantri, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Rajasthan
Virendra Kumar Shrivastava, President, Laghu Simant Krishak Morach, Uttar Pradesh
Chukki Najundawamy, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS)
KT Gangadhar,Coordinator, South India Coordination Committee of Farmers Movement (SICCFM)
Ambubhai Patel, Secretary, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Gujarat
Vijay Jawandhia, Shetkari Sangathana, Maharashtra
B. Chandra Reddy, Secretary, Telangana Rythu Sangham
Kodand Reddy, President, Kisan Khet Mazdoor Congress, Telangana
Saroj Mohanty, Paschim Odisha Krushak Samanvay Samiti
Sagar Rabari, Secretary, Khedut Samaj, Gujarat
Bhagwan Dadhich, Kisan Sewa Samiti, Rajasthan
Jayant Verma, Vice President, All India Agragami Kissan Sabha
Kiran Vissa, Raithu Swarajya Vedika, Telengana
Rajesh Singh Chouhan, State President, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Uttar Pradesh
Ms. Rajariga, President, Women Wing, Tamil Nadu Farmers Association
Gurman Singh, President, Bhartiya Kissan Union, Haryana
K.P Illias, Secretary, Kerala Jaiva Karshaka Samithi,
S. Kannaiyan, Secretary, South India Coordination Committee of Farmers Movement (SICCFM)
KS Puttanaiah (MLA), Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS),
Selvaj, Tamil Nadu Organic Farmers Federation
Jagdish Singh, State President, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Madhya Pradesh
Vidyadhar Olkha, State President, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Rajasthan
Pradeep Singh Thakur, General Secretary, All India Krantikari Kissan Sabha
Ms. Nilam Prabhat, State Coordinator, Aroh Mahila Kisan Manch, Uttar Pradesh
Ratan Singh Mann, State President, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Haryana
Vettavalam ManiKandan, President, Thamizaga Vivasaayikal Sangam,
Indhiya Uzavar Uzaippaligal Katchi 
Nallagounder,  Uzhavar Ulaippalar Katchi, Tamil Nadu Farmers Association
Davison, Kerala Coconut Farmers Association
Gomathinayagam, President,
Vivasaya Seva Samgam-Puliangudi,Thirunelveli Dist 
Vellaiyan, President, Tamilnadu Vanigar Peravai, Chennai
Sukhdev Singh Gill, State President, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Himachal Pradesh
Satnam Singh Cheema,State President, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Uttrakhand
Dhan Singh Sherawat, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Maharashtra
Virendra Dagar, State President Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU),
Delhi Rural Pamayan, Thalaanmai Farmers Movement
Adv Pradeep Kumar, Kerala Haritha Sena
Balaji Sankar, Tharcharbu Iyakkam
Pasya Padma, Secretary, Telangana Rythu Sangham
 
 
 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Business Standard: Sugarcane farmers block national highways

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/sugarcane-farmers-block-national-highways-116020101310_1.html
February 1, 2016

Sugarcane farmers, under the aegis of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, blocked traffic movement on major highways, including the Lucknow-and Dehradun-Delhi highways, demanding payment of and increase in sugarcane prices.
BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said the Uttar Pradesh government has fooled the farmers through its "delaying tactics" by not forcing sugar mills in the state to pay them an arrear amount of Rs.673 crore.
He named Titavi, Simbhaoli, Mahana and Daurala sugar mills as the major defaulters, and said only Rs.112 crore has been paid till now after a hue and cry by the farmers.
"There has been no increase in sugarcane prices in the last four years. A price of Rs.280 per quintal was announced in 2012 and it remains the same," said V.M. Singh, another farmer leader and a former Uttar Pradesh legislator from Pilibhit.
Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Daljeet Chaudhry said the situation was under control and police maintained a "lenient attitude" towards the agitating farmers though they blocked the and local roads in Bijnore and Meerut.

GEAC meets Feb 5th to decide on GM Mustard: Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements Cautions against Commericalization

PRESS RELEASE: NATIONAL FARMERS COORDINATION CAUTIONS AGAINST COMMERCIALIZATION OF GM MUSTARD 

FEBRUARY 2, 2016

The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements demands the GEAC committee to say "no" to the commericalization of GM Mustard. 

We are a network of farmers movements that is committed to dignity and self-respect for farmers, and many of our members are in the international peasants’ movement La Via Campesina.  We represent thousands of villages in India and hundreds of thousands of farming families. Our member movements, such as Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, have taken staunch action against the giant enemies of farmers since it’s founding in the 1980s (For example Operation Cremate Monsanto in 1993, which created an international fervor). We have, and continue to, reject the so-called benefits of GMOs to our farmers, environment, and citizens

Last March 2014 we occupied the home of Union Minister Veerappa Moily after he gave a sweeping approval to GM trials, and we continue this fight even under the new government; we will not hesitate to take to the streets to make stand that GM is a dangerous bargain known to the world. We urge you to stop the commercialization of GM Mustard, and annul the clearance of all remaining GM crops for field trials.
Genetically modified crops are a threat to the livelihoods of the farmers of the nation; one threat among many, in truth. The proliferation of GM crops will transfer the ecological wealth that farmers conserve and protect to the bank accounts of profit-hungry corporate interests. The privatization of seed further and the property rights associated with Genetically Modification Organisms is a dangerous weapon against farmers who can be sued by corporations for “infractions” and a push towards acute economic distress. It is also an affront on the sovereignty of our nation and our right to control our own biological diversity.

Regarding GM mustard, and other oil seeds, after the Rajiv Gandhi Oil Seed Mission, you may recall that India was nearly self sufficient in oil seeds. Only after that, in 1994, when cheap oil imports began after liberalization, the local market was crushed and our self sufficiency was eroded. Now, proponents of GM Mustard claim that it will increase yield and reduce our imports! We urge you to address the root cause of the issues, asymmetrical and harmful trade agreements and the project of neoliberalisation, than stick to the ‘growth for growth’s sake’ propaganda that helps line the MNC’s pockets with profits.

However, we are not just concerned about the wellbeing of oil seed. We are concerned about the environment, which affects farmers, consumers, and other agricultural producers and the urban poor alike. GM crops are designed to be grown in a mono-culture, chemical input-intensive, large scale manner. Industrial agricultural is environmental suicide. This is not an exaggeration – more than 50% of greenhouse gases are produced through this unsustainable, illogical, and corporate-driven system. Climate change is real, and it is has already started. Conflicts such as the war in Syria can be traced to climate-related migration. If we do not halt climate change we will not only see the destruction of our planet but the destruction of global harmony as we know it.

This is why we take action to promote small scale farming, as a solution to climate change and as a necessary ingredient to a self-sustaining and resilient India. Agriculture is more than just an industry whose profits can be maximized and its costs reduced: it is a way of life, a social structure, a collaboration with nature, and, first and foremost, the only method for us to feed ourselves. We promote peasant agroecology by saving our local seeds, strengthening our local economies and carrying for our unique ecological systems. We defend our seed sovereignty as an essential piece here: seed is patrimony, developed by generations of farmers through their intellectual labour. All the varieties of mustard that we have today have been developed by women and men farmers over generations. India is a Center for Diversity for mustard, and perhaps even a center of origin. 12,755 accessions of rapeseed mustard are available in India according to Directorate of Rapeseed Mustard Research of Indian Council of Agriculture Research . Introducing GM Mustard is a threat to this biodiversity as farmers increase market dependency and stop saving seed.

The food supply being contaminated by GM crops is a risk we farmers are not willing to take. Long-term, independent studies to verify the safety of GM crops have not been completed. The studies which exist were completed by the corporations themselves: how can the sick man be his own doctor? In countries such as the United States, citizens are unaware that 90% of their food is genetically modified and are rushing to get it labeled. Corporations are blocking them. Citizens want to know if their food is safe. Why are the corporations so scared if they have nothing to hide? India can go one step further by stopping the invasion of GM crops before it is too late. Before we are another example of a country who jumped on the “technology” wagon without realizing it was a doomed journey.

GM crops are an unproven technology, which has not stood the test of scientific rigor. They are an unnecessary addition of pressure into a system that is already squeezing the farmer dry. And they are an unchangeable relinquishment of national sovereignty to corporate interests that will threaten our food supply and our ability to control our own food chain. In short, the case for GM crops is weak, though the vested interests are strong.
We are shocked to see BJP deviating from its Manifesto
[1] and its National Executive’s Resolution on Agriculture that condemned GM crops and clearly demands moratorium on it and following the path of its predecessor in betraying the interests of farmers. We hope that you stand for what you promised us and demonstrate the self-respect that we demand of our state’s farmers.

We urge you to take these points into consideration, to stop the commercialization of GM Mustard and to annul the approval of all GM field trials. In doing so you avoid the irreparable damage that GMOs will cause to our food sovereignty.

Sincerely,

Yudhvir Singh BKU
Rakesh Tikait, BKU U.P
Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, State President, BKU Punjab,
KS Puttanaiah, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha,Karnataka
Chamarasa Patil, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha,Karnataka
Sh Vijay Jawandhia, Shetkari Sanghatna Maharashtra
S Kannaiyan, South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements
Tanmay Joshi, South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements
CK Janu, Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha
Chukki Nanjundaswamy, Karnataka Rajya Ryot Sangha, Karnataka
Sella Mutthu, President, Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, Tamil Nadu
Selvaraj, VTMS, Tamil Nadu