National Farmers 3 month caravan launched in India: 2 Oct

Below is an article about the Kisan Swaraj Yatra [literally translated as Farmer Sovereignty Journey] taken from:

LVC farmers organizations are also part of this effort and upcoming events will be posted on this blog.

For more info on the yatra please visit: the route and map:

Kisan Swaraj Yatra: To Promote self reliant Farming
by Kavitha Kurugunti

This is about Kisan Swaraj Yatra, an outreach effort from Sabarmati to Rajghat (from October 2nd to December 11th) – a call to join forces to save Indian farming and farmers, to promote self-reliant farming….

This is a bus yatra that will start at Sabarmati Ashram on Gandhi Jayanti to traverse through 20 states of India before it reaches Rajghat on December 11th 2010, being organised under a broad informal banner called ALLIANCE FOR SUSTAINABLE & HOLISTIC AGRICULTURE (ASHA).

This Yatra is to remind all Indians of our hard-won independence and the insidious ways in which agri-business corporations and others are taking this independence and sovereignty away, especially with regard to our food and farming. This Yatra is a call for joining forces to save Indian farming and farmers mired in deep distress and to forge a sustainable path forward for Indian farming.

This is a historic juncture for the farmers in the country. There are obviously strong forces pushing farmers out of agriculture, with the vision that Indian agriculture will be more ‘manageable’ and ‘productive’ with around 15% of population engaged in farming, under the domination of corporatization, hybrid seeds and biotechnology and heavy machinery. There is also a vision driving policies that believes that pushing people out of farming and rural areas into other sectors and into cities is what constitutes development. The effects of this are already evident, with the distress migration from villages to cities, the forcible acquisition of agricultural land for industry and SEZs, and the increasing difficulty of the farmers to make ends meet where more than two lakh anna daatas were forced to commit suicide. This Yatra will seek to create a debate on this ‘developmental inevitability’ that is being pursued.

This is the time to speak more loudly than ever, about the return of the small farmer and sustainable and holistic agriculture in our national conscience. There is a growing body of research, knowledge and opinion against the diabolic fallacy of pursuing the market agenda in food and agriculture, and in favour of biodiversity-based self-reliant ecological agriculture. The IAASTD report issued in 2008, prepared over four years and based on the work and deliberation of over 800 scientists and intellectuals across the world, has pronounced that sustainable, ecological, smallholder agriculture is the only way forward, if humanity was to have any semblance of purposeful survival in future.

This is also that point of time when large scale ecological farming has re-established itself at a convincing scale in many parts of the country and yet, the State tends to discount evidence related to such a livelihoods-based approach to farming and pursues an anti-farmer agenda.

It was 80 years ago that Gandhiji led the Namak Satyagrah ( Salt March or the Dandi Yatra) to claim people’s sovereignty over their natural resources. It was hundred years ago that he extended a development model for India centred around the concept of “Hind Swaraj”. This year, on 2 October 2010, dozens of farmers’ movements and other organizations across the country will launch the “Kisan Swaraj Yatra” that will take off from the Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat and traverse through 20 states to reach Rajghat (New Delhi) on 11 December. The Yatra will be flagged off by renowned natural farmer Shri Bhaskar bhai Save.

The Yatra will highlight issues such as seeds sovereignty, land grab, climate change, food sovereignty and security, GE seeds, chemical pesticides, farm produce pricing, etc. that directly and indirectly affect small farmers in addition to bringing up a debate around the proposed Green Revolution in Eastern India, the tie-ups that several governments have with MNCs like Monsanto, the continuing saga of farmers’ suicides and so on. The Yatra will also raise the concerns over free trade and bilateral agreements, the proposed food security and seeds laws, BRAI Bill, the handing over of public resources for private gains etc. The Kisan Swaraj Yatra will also draw in urban consumers into its fold and will raise issues of food safety, consumer choices etc.

The Yatra will celebrate the conservation of diversity by farmers, farmers’ knowledge and will highlight the successes of ecological farming. The participants will develop concurrent events, programmes, campaigns in accordance with the needs and priorities in their respective states.



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