‘The End Consumer Must Connect With The Farmer’

Kavitha Kuruganti, a Bengaluru-based member of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, says repeal of farm laws is just the beginning; a lot more is needed to protect small farmers and Advasis

I handle the media relations and public statement of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha and was actively involved in drafting the resolution adopted by Kisan Sansad held at Jantar Mantar in August this year.

We wanted something positive in terms of entitlement to farmers with regards to the crop prices. And our demand is in sync with the promises made by NDA government which had committed itself of doubling the farmers income during their tenure. It is unfortunate that even to this date they haven’t made any progress on this front.

While the government has rolled back the farm laws what farmers need beyond the repeal is guaranteed price for their produce. Towards this end, we asked for four things under the title Kisan Swaraj Neeti. These four steps are the essential elements of changing the paradigm in favour of the country’s farmers.

First is income security to be guaranteed to all framers. It’s not correct that we talk in bits and pieces in terms of insurance, better technology. At the end of the day, whatever the government does in the name of farmers or rural development and agricultural reforms, it has to manifest itself in terms of a dignified living income. The government has to make itself accountable to deliver the income and not schemes, as they do not add up to better income. If you make the overall goal of raising their income, all other things will be better aligned and there will be a self-correcting mechanism of them becoming falling in place.

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The second is environmental sustainability in agriculture. There is no point in degrading our resources or overexploiting our resources. A short term prosperity, if at all there is any such thing, at the expense of those very resources which are required to sustain livelihood for the future is unacceptable. If our soil degrades, out water tables dry up, our diversity erodes, how can farming sustain in future? So making environmental sustainability a key focus and commitment in everything we do. Sarkar, Bazar and Samaj all three have equal responsibility towards this end.

The third is the control of resources must remain in the hands of farmers. You can’t take away their land, forest seeds and expect them to still survive in this enterprise. The government cannot lay claims to agricultural resource; that will be resource-grabbing.

The fourth and final one is to save diverse and nutritious food for all citizens. We want consumers to be connected to food, farming and farmers. The struggle for farmers cannot just be their struggle alone; it is the food system struggle and consumers have a large stake in it. This is how we in ASHA Kisan Swaraj articulate the Kisan Swaraj Neeti and while by doing so we visualize the invisible actors in farming like women farmers, tenant farmers, and Adivasi farmers. Without that social responsibility building, the structure will not sustain.

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