News from the regions

Demonetisation in India: Farmers' Groups write an open letter to the Prime Minister

b_350_0_16777215_00_http___media.indiatimes.in_media_content_2016_Dec_cf267b4a-826e-45f9-bfcc-d2d371e28bef_1480574426.jpgSeveral farmers' groups in India have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister of India, highlighting the severe distress that exists in the countryside after the Indian Government withdrew nearly 86% of the currency in circulation overnight, in a supposed crackdown on corruption and 'black economy'.

Three months since the decision to partially demonetise all bills worth 1000 INR and replace all bills worth 500 INR, the move  has been widely criticised by economists of all leanings as chaotic and unwarranted. India is a predominantly cash-based economy. The government's drive to turn India into a cashless society,one where digital banking and plastic transactions would become the norm, has taken much of the rural society by surprise where digital infrastructure necessary to facilitate such a transition is barely existent.

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Promote Peasant Agroecology as an alternative to migration: LVC in Dhaka

La Via Campesina South Asia - Peasants for Food Sovereignty

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-12-28-dhaka_group.jpgDhaka, Bangladesh. December 2016.

La Via Campesina International Working Collective on Migration and Waged Workers represented the concerns of small farmers, indigenous people, landless workers, women and youth at the People's Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights. The People's Global Action is a parallel event to the 9th Global Forum on Migration and Development, and took place 5th December to the 8th of December. Hosted by the Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Workers' Federation (BAFLF) , the group of 31 delegates participated in the PGA process especially on issues connecting migration to climate change and peasant agroecology. Following the PGA, the delegation was hosted on a field visit by BAFLF.

On the 5th of December, Abdul Majeed (President of BAFLF), Nasrin Sultana (NWFA), Omoli Kisku (Bangladesh Adviasi Samiti) and Asma Begum (Bangladesh Krishok Federation) attended the Asia Civil Society meeting. They presented the situation of coastal Bangladeshi communities, rural farm workers and small holder farmers who are facing the brunt of the climate crisis.

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Removal of Import Duty on Wheat will destroy North Indian Farmers: warns Bharatiya Kisan Union

NEW DELHI: Farm leaders from Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and outer Delhi attended a meeting organized by Bharatiya Kisan Union (a member of La Via Campesina) at the Punjab Bhavan in New Delhi and laid forth their concerns about crumbling rural agriculture and their immediate demands to address this. 

Ajmer Singh Lakhoval, State President of BKU (Punjab), blamed the ill-conceived policies of the government that has turned India into a dumping yard of cheap agricultural imports. As a result of cheap dumping, Indian small farmers are not receiving a fair price for their produce and are forced to sell at a fraction of their actual cost, he said. The pressure of debt is piling up on Indian farmers forcing them to commit suicide. The most recent decision to remove import duty on wheat is just another example of complete disregard for India’s small farmers, he added. He went onto say that this decision, taken at a time when farmers have more or less completed their sowing, is cruel and anti-people and will lead to distress sale during harvest.

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Indonesia Peasants' Union protest against cheap import of potatoes

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-12-15_Potato_3.jpgA large number of small farmers and peasants in Indonesia took out a massive protest against the cheap imports of potatoes, which has thrown the local varieties out of the market and has caused distress to local farmers. 

The statement issued by the Indonesian Peasants' Union read as follows;

We, potato and horticulture peasants from particularly peasants of Dieng Plateu were worried again by circulation of imported potatoes in traditional markets which have lower price than local potato. Noted that throughout January to September 2016, import volume of potatoes reached 65.195,11 tons. 

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Global Solidarity pouring in for Karnataka Farmers demanding loan waiver

2016-12-13 - Protestoutside Mallyas House London.JPGOn the 30th of November, farmers from across the state of Karnataka in India, took to a unique protest outside “UB City”, one of Bangalore’s most expensive properties owned by controversial businessman Vijay Mallya. The farmers demanded that the commercial complex be auctioned off and the money from the proceeds be used to clear the loans that small farmers owe to cooperatives in the state. 

A series of erratic weather conditions over the years and imbalance in world trade has plunged the states farmers into absolute distress, forcing them to default on small loans that they individually owe the local banks. They allege the administration of harassing small farmers for repayment of loans despite the acute rural distress, while big defaulters from the corporate world are allowed to walk free and escape accountability with ease. 

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India: Farmers in Karnataka 'auction' off billionaires' assets, demand waiver of their loans

b_350_0_16777215_00_http___www.thenewsminute.com_sites_default_files_farmer_protest_ub_city.jpegOver 100 Karnataka farmers symbolically ‘auctioned off’ UB city, a landmark building in Bengaluru. The building that belongs to Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya was attached by the Enforcement Directorate in June this year.

On Wednesday, members of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (a leading farmer's organisation) and Karnataka Jana Shakti protested at UB City, demanding that the government should write off farmers’ loans, just like the Vijay Mallya's loans were written off by SBI.

The city police detained 80 protesters and released them in the evening. 

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"Sparks Have Turned Into Raging Fires" in Karnataka state-wide anti-drought mobilization

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-11-29-KRRS.jpgOn November 21, as legislators prepared to start on the winter session of the Karnataka Assembly at Suvarna Soudha in Belagavi, Karnataka (South India), a series of coordinated protests erupted in different cities across the State. These protests, organized under the leadership of Janandolanagala Mahamaithri (The Alliance of People's Movements) sought to bring lawmakers' attention to the problems crippling rural Karnataka. Protestors had been on a campaign trail for a month prior, mobilizing cities and villages with a three-point demand: a complete waiver of loans of farmers, farm workers and women's self-help groups; and, a scientific compensation for crop losses plus the implementation of a comprehensive drought management plan.

This is the first campaign for the Alliance, which announced its formation at a conference in Mysore a few weeks ago. The Alliance has brought together diverse people's movements in Karnataka to collectively ask for accountability from those running the State. Chukki Nanjundaswamy, Working President of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, a major constituent member of Mahamaithri, stated,  "This attempt at coming together articulated new desires of hope"-- for the future, for an imagination of collectivity. 

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