4 December 2013
Indian Farmers urge Minister Sharma to continue support to farmers and right to food
The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movement (ICCFM) reiterates its support to Minister Anand Sharma and the Indian government for taking a strong stance in support of the hungry and small farmers of not just India, but the entire developing world at the WTOs 9th ministerial meeting. There is tremendous pressure on the Indian government to accept the Bali package, which could result it being forced to roll back the farmers Price Support System and the National Food Security Act, which provides subsidized food to more than 800 million people in India.
Members of ICCFM from Bhartiya Kisan Union, KRRS and SICCFM are present in Bali and are closely monitoring the ongoing talks and the stand of the Indian delegation in Bali. They have been part of several actions both inside and outside of the WTO venue, and demonstrations on the streets of Bali in order to demand the rights of farmers and the hungry and to keep the WTO and its free trade agenda out of Agriculture. “The millions of small farmers in India depend on farming as the main source of their livelihood. Agriculture is not a business in India, it is a culture and a way of life for the poor. We will not allow the WTO or any other free trade deal to endanger the livelihood of millions of our farmers,” said Yudhvir Singh of BKU.
The ICCFM urges the Indian government to deliberate deeply on its position on agriculture and global trade along with Indian farmers after the Bali talks end and permanently safeguard the interests of Indian farmers and hungry by ensuring strong national food security laws that support local production.
The WTO is forcing developing countries to cut already meagre subsidies to their hungry and poor, while allowing rich to continue huge trade distorting subsidies to their own agribusiness. At the same time it is forcing developing countries to open their markets to rich country products, while they face several barriers to exporting their own products. The Peace Clause in the current Bali package is an empty promise to developing countries which will leave them open to challenge in the four year interim period. “The peace clause is just a way to get us to accept the deal, eventually we will totally lose our ability to produce food and thousands of farmers will commit suicide if agriculture imports from rich countries flood our markets,” said Nandini Jairam of KRRS.
“We have communicated our concerns to Minister Sharma here in Bali. We will wait to see the stand that the Indian government takes at the end of the talks. If they don't reject the Peace Clause and protect Indian farmers and hungry, then we will come out on the streets all across the country and the consequences will be serious,” said Rakesh Tikait of BKU.
The ICCFM announced its intention to mobilize in a strength of more than 1 lakh in March 2014, the exact form and intensity of the mobilization will depend on the stance taken by the official Indian delegation here in Bali, and its behavior back in India.
For more information, please contact:
Yudhvir Singh, Coordinator and National Secretary, ICCFM (Yudhvir55@yahoo.com)
Rakesh Tikait, Spoksperson, BKU
Ms. K.S. Nandini Jayaram, President, KRRS Women’s Unit (firstname.lastname@example.org)