From our India correspondent – who says any ideas for making connections, forging links, are most welcome. A counter-summit is planned. Please circulate.
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) / Karnataka State Farmers Association
November 25th, 2011 Bangalore, Karnataka
PRESS RELEASE *** for immediate release***
Agri-Livelihood Summit: A response to the Global Agri-business and Food processing Summit – 1&2nd of December 2011
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha(KRRS) strongly opposes the Global Agri-business and Food processing summit’s agenda to aggressively transform Karnataka’s small farmer-based agriculture into a capital-intensive, high-tech, large scale, corporate-led food production. We denounce the Government of Karnataka’s partnership with multinational companies and agricultural universities in promoting an investment-heavy, chemically-mediated agriculture which locks small farmers into unhealthy dependencies and puts them at the mercy of the fluctuating global market. Chief Minister is proud to announce a decline in farmers’ suicides, but may the number be 79 compare to 242 last year, every suicide is symptomatic of the current agrarian crisis. The state government’s further liberalization and corporatization policies, in the name of economic growth, will only exacerbate these same problems.
We condemn the slapping of Chief Minister(1), but we also condemn Karnataka Government’s selling out our livelihoods and lands. While the state government declared that only dry and barren lands will be “acquired” for the remaining 30,000 necessary acres (out of 40,000 acres) to be used by the investors, everyone knows that most of Karnataka’s farms are defined as “dry lands”. Incidences of grabbing fertile lands, renamed ‘barren’ lands by the state government have been recorded, for instance in Bellary’s farmer struggle opposing Posco, the mining giant.
The Agri-livelihood summit is organized by the farmers for the farmers as a constructive response to the destructive Global Agri-investment and Food processing summit (2). The latter is an attempt to further dispossess the farmers from their means of production by denying their knowledge and capacity to feed the people. The Government of Karnataka doesn’t consider the farmers as stakeholders of his Agribusiness policy, but simply as puppets waiting for ministers, experts, scientists and investors to guide them in the path of ‘development’. KRRS’s response is clear: Our land, our culture, our crops, our seeds and our future are not for sale. Karnataka is home to one of India’s biggest movements of “natural farming” (3); an accessible, profitable and agro ecological practice that guarantees self-reliance and dignity for the farmer. But the Government of Karnataka prefers to sacrifice its farmers’ livelihoods for a share of quick profit.
The Agri-livelihood summit will also take place on 1st and 2nd of December 2011. The program includes series of workshops, key speakers and practical skill shares. Hundreds of farmers from all over Karnataka will be attending.
Everybody is welcome to attend and participate.
For more information, contact: S Kannaiyan 09444989543, Chukki Nanjundaswamy 9845066156
firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com
Notes to Editor:
(2) On the Global Agri-investors summit: http://bounteouskarnataka.com/
(3) Delegates travelled from ten different Asian countries to learn from Natural Farming practitioners in Karnataka in November 2011. http://lvcsouthasia.blogspot.com