"Our Food, Our Farmers" - Support Indian Agriculture:
What: Mass Candlelight Vigil on Gandhi Jayanti to support Indian farmers and Agriculture and Solidarity Hunger-strike.
When: Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007 - Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Where: In your city or in your own home! Please join in or hold one in your city. http://agri.aidindia.org/node
Why: Indian Government has completely failed to protect our Farmers' interests. Farmers in India are in extreme social and economic distress. In our mad rush in 'development' path, we certainly have left behind our farmers who are facing oppression from our very Government, which is not providing them the minimum support price and credit loans while from the giant corporations, which are taking away their indigenous seeds and pushes them into state of despair. With huge inflation and raising input costs but lesser and lesser price for his production has left him in neck-deep debts and huge social and economic distress.
Goal : Let Indian Government know that we will not tolerate this injustice to Indian Agriculture and the farmers and they have to protect their interests.
Mass Candlelight Vigil on October 2nd, 2007 to support Indian farmers and Agriculture
"Our Food, Our Farmers"
"The Lord gave us farmers two strong hands so we could grab as much as we could with both of them", said Joseph Heller - such a thoughtful statement, indeed. A Farmer tills not for himself but for the entire World and the World will certainly be unimaginable without farmers. He sweats in his land to put food in our table and we share such natural connection with him. When we are very happy to be receiving his fruits of labor and are thankful to him, we have failed to look out for his wellness and prospects.
Indian Government has completely failed to protect our Farmers' interests. Farmers in India are in extreme social and economic distress. In our mad rush in 'development' path, we certainly have left behind our farmers who are facing oppression from our very Government, which is not providing them the minimum support and the giant corporations, which are taking away their indigenous seeds and pushes them into state of despair. With huge inflation and raising input costs but lesser and lesser price for his production has left him in neck-deep debts and huge social and economic distress.
This situation has led farmers to take extreme step of suicide, but not before his years of fighting this social discrimination and call for support, leaving the families in acute pain and dismay. Our apathy and lack of action and support is the main reason for this mounting tragedy, which has claimed an estimated 100,000 poor farmers to have killed themselves over the last ten years in India's "suicide region" – it was 1,442 farmers who ended their lives in 2006 in the Vidarbha region alone and over 560 farmers so far this year; many more farmers in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Punjab. The man/woman, who feeds us every meal, cannot put two square meals to his/her own children. What a sad irony?
If we don't wake up from our slumber and stand up for farmers' 'Right to Live', farming community will soon be extinct and so will human race. Let us connect our food directly back to our farmers and look out for his well-being. On October 2nd, birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, who always put farmers as heart of our nation, we will act together for our farmers. This Candlelight vigil across the globe is a show of solidarity and support with our farmers as well as to send a strong message to Government that we will NOT tolerate this indifference anymore.
Let us shout out high and clear – it is "Our Food, Our Farmers". We will demand the Government in one-voice, and fight to achieve, that Government:
- Provide a guaranteed Minimum Support Price that is more than the cost of production
- Waive debt currently owed to private money-lenders
- Set up a committee, with proper representation from farmers and people's groups, to carefully analyze the current situation, and implementation of Government relief packages, in suicide prone region and make real numbers of farmer's suicides public.
- Increase grants and provide training to farmers who wish to move away from mono-cropping to multi-crop, or organic agriculture – this will serve to increase food and livelihood security
- Set up a system of checks and balances in the marketing of seeds, and make available at the time of sowing, good quality seeds
- Explicitly make agriculture a permissible work under the NREGA – this will allow farmers, who want to make the shift to low-external input, sustainable farming, to hire the help they need for activities such as mulching, sowing, weeding and composting. Such a move would address aims of the NREGA as stated in section 1.1 of the NREGA, 2005 – protecting the environment as well as reducing rural-urban migration
- Support farming of traditional Jowar and Ragi – this will not only provide local access to nutrition, but will also provide a source of fodder for cattle that were part of your previous relief package
"Let us not forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man. When tillage begins, other arts will follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of civilization." - Daniel Webster
Save Farmers, Save India.