On the International Day of Peasants Struggle, 17th April 2020, Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee (PKRC) issued a statement calling upon the national government to waive all debts of small farmers and to announce a relief package to support rural and urban workers.
LAHORE: The Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee has demanded that the government waive all debts of small farmers for this year in view of the losses they incurred in the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement issued here on Thursday, PKRC general secretary Farooq Tariq said not only all debts of small farmers should be waived for this year but a compensation of at least Rs30,000 per farmer should be announced for those who have lost their income and Rs25,000 to all landless peasantry and agriculture workers.
The PKRC also urged its members and allies to stay home because of Covid-19 circumstances and denounced the fact that no compensation for small farmers, landless peasantry and tenants was announced [so far] by the government though farmers have lost a lot because of the lockdown and prices of fruit, vegetables, poultry and dairy products have gone down tremendously.
Mr Tariq said: “The crisis shows that now is the time to demand structural reforms of the agri-food systems at a global level. States must ensure their populations’ access to healthy, culturally appropriate food and prevent shortages. In this fight against hunger, there is an urgent need to invest in agriculture and support local peasant markets, while complying with the necessary health measures.”
He said food sovereignty of communities must be upheld and peasants and other rural people be guaranteed rights.
Referring to the International Day of Peasants’ Struggle falling on Friday (April 17), he said it revived our memories that on this day in 1996, at least 17 peasant leaders were killed by police in Brazil while they were demanding land rights.
He demanded release of Mehar Abdul Sattar of Okara Military Farms who was arrested on this day four years earlier when he was to organise a mass meeting of tenants to celebrate the international day of peasants.
Read the statement in Urdu here.
This press coverage of the PKRC statement first appeared on The Dawn