Thursday, December 15, 2011

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Indian Farmers Protest At Governments "Unsustainable" Agribusiness Meet

Dec 2, Bangalore: Farmers from South India organized a parallel platform and protest at Karnataka governments Global Agri-business and food-processing Meet of 2011. This was Karnataka governments attempt to lure foreign corporate investment in the agriculture sector of the state- starting from seeds to retailing and food processing, from dairy to fishing and apiculture. Farmers movements of south India members of LVC have been opposing the corporate onslaught on India's and global agriculture. These agribusiness companies they say are not interested in feeding people, preserving the ecology and biodiversity or generating livelihoods. Their main aim is to patent nature for themselves, industrialize farming for exports, monopolize nature and make farmers and people dependent on them for food and farming. Their primary concern is the generating profits while the continue to cause climate change and increase hunger. Ironically the Karnataka government called it “sustainable” agribusiness summit, when agribusiness promotes a type of agriculture that is far from sustainable.

Globally as a result of the peasants movement, environmentalists, economic justice movement, and others fighting for safe food, the UN and other bodies have already agreed that in the future, the only sustainable way to feed the world and prevent climate change is to promote small farmers and let them continue to feed the world. Industrial agriculture on the other hand has already proven completely unsustainable. More than half the worlds population relies on agriculture and the worlds food is produced primarily by small farmers, who also protect nature and biodiversity and minimize climate change.

Below is an article among other media reports documenting the protest of the farmers who tried to disrupt this open selling out of their livelihoods by the Governent of Karnataka.

Farmers be damned, moolah-chasing govt seemed to say [Deccan Herald]
Keen on exploring the latest technologies ‘up for grabs’ in farming, Shivanand G Ninganoor from Bilagi taluk of Bagalkot district hopped onto a bus to Bangalore to be part of the Global Agri Business and Food Processing Meet 2011

Ninganoor spent Rs 600 on a bus ticket and booked a room for himself at a hotel, hoping to find suitable technologies for sunflower seed oil extraction at the Meet.


But little did this farmer know that he would not only be not entertained at the Meet, he would also have to face the humiliation of being roughed up by the police for trying to make way into the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre.


“As the advertisements said that everybody was welcome, I was shocked when the police brandished their lathi at me. They also pulled off my entry pass from my neck. Despite the harassment, I made my way through in search of the exhibition centre. But to my utter dismay there is nothing here. There isn’t anybody here who can guide us around or tell us what is happening. Why is the government making a mockery of us farmers?” he said.


And mockery it was. The BJP government’s pro-farmer stand on Thursday proved to be nothing but cosmetic. In stark contrast to the plush arrangements made available inside the fully air-conditioned venue, the government paid no heed to the pleas of hundreds of farmers who were stranded outside in the scorching heat.


The Meet was designed to specifically cater to the needs of big companies, and not that of the real stakeholder – the farmer - who was gagged, manhandled, ignored, and insulted in every manner possible by the authorities.


Apprehending trouble, the government had stationed police personnel all along the Tumkur Road leading to the venue, stopping any individual adorning a green shawl.