Vidarbha farmers to join Sept 20 bandh against FDI
DNA / Yogesh Pawar / Monday, September 17, 2012 8:30 IST
URL of the article: http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_vidarbha-farmers-to-join-sept-20-bandh-against-fdi_1741780-all
Cotton farmers of Vidarbha and farm widows will join the nation-wide bandh on September 20 to protest the government’s decision to operationalise 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.
They have decided to block national highways passing through the Vidarbha region, many of which connect the eastern parts of the country with the south and west.
A statement issued by farmers’ advocacy group Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) says most suicides are caused by MNCs pushing the wrong technology eyeing profit margins and the state’s pro-MNC policies.
Readers will recall that more than 9,000 farmers have ended their lives since 2005 when American MNC Monsanto was allowed to take over the cotton economy of the region.
“Following sustained and intense opposition, the government finally conceded by banning Bt cotton. But poor farmers paid the price of this decision with their lives,” said Kishore Tiwari of the VJAS.
According to him, Vidarbha is a classic example of how allowing FDI in agriculture inputs helps MNCs create monopolies and unfair trade practices like cartelisation. “The entry of Walmart, Tesco and Carrefour will aggravate the agrarian crisis, which has led to an average of one farmer suicide every eight hours. First they break the farmers’ backs to favour these companies and now when years of the debts and crop failures have left them in such misery, theymock them by arguing how this will help them compete with farmers across the world.”
Tiwari feels these reforms will be the proverbial last straw for farmers, destroying them in a way they will never be able to recover from.
“These reforms like 51% FDI in multi-brand retail, 49% investment by foreign airlines in the aviation sector, sale of equity in four PSUs and the diesel price hike and reduction of subsidies will allow MNCs to control the entire agrarian economy.”
“Given the way the government is pushing ahead, this is bound to float conspiracy theories on who is actually trying to help,” Tiwari said.