India’s Role in the New Global Farmland Grab

See how CII, CIFA, FICCI etc have played an important role in new farm land grab by Indian companies

indias role in new global farmland grab

This report explores the role of Indian agricultural companies that have been involved in the
recent trend in large-scale overseas acquisitions of farmland, criticised as “land grabbing”.
While many international companies have traditionally grown cash crops abroad, and more
recently crops for producing biofuels for global markets, this report is focused especially on
the issue of Indian companies that invest in food production overseas.

The report examines the various factors driving the “outsourcing” of domestic food
production. Primary among these are the Indian Government’s growing strategic concerns
about ensuring the country’s long-term food security, and its concerns about diminishing
ground water tables in Northern and Central India. Other factors include the allure for Indian
foreign investors of much cheaper land and more abundant water sources in overseas
locations and the eager welcome of many developing country governments, many of which
have courted Indian agricultural investors. In many cases, such countries have offered special
incentives, including the offer to lease massive tracts of arable land at very generous terms,
including access to water and the ability to fully repatriate profits generated.

The report also lists the major ways in which the Indian Government has been increasingly
pro-active in taking steps to facilitate this trend for overseas agricultural investment by Indian
companies, such as high-level trade diplomacy and lines of credit from the Export-Import
Bank. India’s outward foreign direct investment has been enabled by a series of reforms and
modifications over the last decade to India’s rules and regulations on Indian companies
investing in overseas operations.

Also reviewed are the pro-active roles played by national Indian business associations such as
the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII), the Associated Chambers of Commerce and
Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and
Industries (FICCI), as well as by sector-specific groups, such as the Consortium of Indian
Farmers Association (CIFA) and the Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) of India. Such
groups have been actively engaged in high-level trade delegations to countries which are
interested in luring Indian agricultural firms to invest, and have arranged a series of business
conclaves and trade fairs. The groups are all active in lobbying the Indian Government to
pursue even further reforms to trade policy, Exim Bank credits and the rules on outward
foreign direct investment in order to facilitate the overseas acquisitions of agricultural land by
Indian companies.

The report also explores the negative consequences of such a trend. It looks at why critics
have called the trend “land grabbing” and reviews the impacts on local peoples on the
ground, who are often displaced in the process. It considers the negative ethical, political,
human rights and environmental consequences for the people and host countries involved in
such investments by Indian companies.

Although information about such overseas operations by Indian companies is difficult to get
from the Indian Government, this report used available research and press accounts to explore
the details of 19 Indian companies who have made such land acquisitions abroad, including
an exposé of the actual contracts of 5 Indian companies operating in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has
taken center stage in the story of “land grabbing” because it is one of the developing

countries where some of the largest agricultural land acquisitions by foreign investors have
occurred, including by Indian firms.

The report reviews the calls by many advocates for a major shift away from the current model
of large, corporate commercial agricultural production based on monoculture, which depends
on chemicals and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), towards an alternative
agricultural production model based on a more decentralised approach that favors small
holder farmers. Such an approach is based on agro-ecological methods that support and
enhance biodiversity, environmental sustainability and community control.

Finally, this report gives voice to those Indian activists fighting for small farmers rights and
against the “land grabbing” going on within India, and their call to create international
linkages of solidarity with small farmers in other countries who are facing similar problems.
They see a “common struggle” everywhere in the world and are calling on Indian citizens to
take action to address the problem of landing-grabbing by Indian companies operating
overseas.

Response to Rahul Gandhi’s statement ‘I feel ashamed to call myself an Indian after seeing what has happened here in UP’

Rahul Gandhi: “I feel ashamed to call myself an INDIAN after seeing what has happened here in UP”.

Dear. Mr. Rahul Gandhi…PLEASE DON’T BE ASHAMED OF U.P. YET

Please don’t be ashamed of Uttar Pradesh yet. Congress ruled the State for the Majority of the duration Pre Independence to Post Independence.. from 1939 to 1989 ( barring the Periods of Emergency.. Thanks to your Grand Mom Indira G. and a couple of transitional Governments)

8 out of the total 14 Prime Ministers of India have been from UP, 6 out of those 8 have been from Congress…

I think your party had more than half a century and half a Dozen PM’s to build a State…

The Reason Mulayam Singh, subsequently came to Power is because your party wasn’t exactly Gandhian in their dealings in the State.. So May be If you look at in totality the present chaos in UP is the outcome of the glorious leadership displayed by Congress in UP for about 50 years!

So Please don’t feel ashamed as yet Dear Rahul.. For Mayawati is only using the Land Acquisition Bill which your party had itself used to LOOT the Farmers many times in the Past!

WHY DIDN’T YOUR PARTY CHANGE THE BILL WHEN IT WAS IN POWER FOR SO LONG?
Not that I Endorse what Mayawati is doing.. What Mayawati is doing is Unacceptable..

But the past actions of your party and your recent comments, puts a question mark on your INTENT and CONSISTENCY.

YOU REALLY WANT TO FEEL ASHAMED

But don’t be disappointed, I would give you ample reasons to feel ashamed…

You really want to feel Ashamed..?

First Ask Pranav Mukherjee, Why isn’t he giving the details of the account holders in the Swiss Banks.

Ask your Mother, Who is impeding the Investigation against Hasan Ali?

Ask her, Who got 60% Kickbacks in the 2G Scam ?

Kalamdi is accused of a Few hundred Crores, Who Pocketed the Rest in the Common Wealth Games?

Ask Praful Patel what he did to the Indian Airlines? Why did Air India let go of the Profitable Routes ?

Why should the Tax Payer pay for the Air India losses, when you intend to eventually DIVEST IT ANYWAY!!!

Also, You People can’t run an Airline Properly. How can we expect you to run the Nation?

Ask Manmohan Singh. Why/What kept him quiet for so long?

Are Kalmadi and A Raja are Scapegoats to save Big Names like Harshad Mehta was in the 1992 Stock Market Scandal ?

Who let the BHOPAL GAS TRAGEDY Accused go Scot Free? ( 20,000 People died in that Tragedy)

Who ordered the State Sponsored Massacre of SIKHS in 84?

Please read more about, How Indira Gandhi pushed the Nation Under Emergency in 76-77, after the HC declared her election to Lok Sabha Void!

(I bet She had utmost respect for DEMOCRACY and JUDICIARY and FREE PRESS)

I guess you know the answers already. So My question is, Why the Double Standards in Judging Mayawati and members of your Family and Party?

I condemn Mayawati. But Is She the only one you feel Ashamed for?

What about the ones close to you? For their contribution to the Nation’s Misery is beyond comparison.

You talk about the Land being taken away from the Farmers. How many Suicides have happened under your Parties Rule in Vidarbha ? Does that Not Ashame You ?

THE 72,000 CRORE LOAN WAIVER

Your Party gave those Farmers a 72,000 Crore Loan Waiver. Which didn’t even reach the Farmers by the way.

So, Why don’t you focus on implementing the policies which your govt. has undertaken, instead of earning brownie points by trying to manufacture consent by bombarding us with pictures of having food with Poor Villagers….

You want to feel ashamed. You can feel ashamed for your Party taking CREDIT for DEBITING the Public Money (72,000 crores) from the Government Coffers and literally Wasting it…

You want to feel ashamed.. Feel ashamed for that…

WHY ONLY HIGHLIGHT THIS ARREST?

Dear Rahul, to refresh your memory, you were arrested/detained by the FBI the BOSTON Airport in September 2001.

You were carrying with you $ 1,60,000 in Cash. You couldn’t explain why you were carrying so much Cash.
Incidentally He was with his Columbian girlfriend Veronique Cartelli, ALLEGEDLY, the Daughter of Drug Mafia.
9 HOURS he was kept at the Airport.
Later then freed on the intervention of the then Prime Minister Mr.Vajpayee.. FBI filed an equivalent of an FIR in US and released him.

When FBI was asked to divulge the information, by Right/Freedom to Information Activists about the reasons Rahul was arrested … FBI asked for a NO OBJECTION CERTIFICATE from Rahul Gandhi.

So Subramaniyam Swami wrote a Letter to Rahul Gandhi, ” If you have NOTHING to HIDE, Give us the Permission”

HE NEVER REPLIED!

Why did that arrest not make Headlines Rahul? You could have gone to the Media and told, “I am ashamed to call myself an INDIAN?”.

Or is it that, you only do like to highlight Symbolic Arrests (like in UP) and not Actual Arrests ( In BOSTON)

Kindly Clarify…..

In any case, you want to feel ashamed, Read Along…

YOUR MOTHER’S SO CALLED SACRIFICE OF GIVING UP PRIME MINISTER SHIP in 2004.

According to a Provision in the Citizenship Act.

A Foreign National who becomes a Citizen of India, is bounded by the same restrictions, which an Indian would face, If he/she were to become a Citizen of Italy.

(Condition based on principle of reciprocity)

[READ ANNEXURE- 1&2]

Now Since you can’t become a PM in Italy, Unless you are born there.
Likewise an Italian Citizen can’t become Indian PM, unless He/She is not born here!

Dr. SUBRAMANIYAM SWAMI (The Man who Exposed the 2G Scam) sent a letter to the PRESIDENT OF INDIA bringing the same to his Notice. [READ LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT IN ANNEXURE -3]

PRESIDENT OF INDIA sent a letter to Sonia Gandhi to this effect, 3:30 PM, May 17th, 2004.

Swearing Ceremony was scheduled for 5 PM the same Day.

Manmohan Singh was brought in the Picture at the last moment to Save Face!!

Rest of the SACRIFICE DRAMA which she choreographed was an EYE WASH!!!

Infact Sonia Gandhi had sent, 340 letters, each signed by different MP to the PRESIDENT KALAM, supporting her candidacy for PM.

One of those letters read, I Sonia Gandhi, elected Member from Rai Bareli, hereby propose Sonia Gandhi as Prime Minister.
So SHE was Pretty INTERESTED! Until She came to know the Facts!

So She didn’t make any Sacrifice, It so happens that SONIA GANDHI couldn’t have become the PM of INDIA that time.

You could be Ashamed about that Dear Rahul!! One Credential Sonia G had, Even that was a HOAX!

THINK ABOUT YOURSELF.

You go to Harvard on Donation Quota. ( Hindujas Gave HARVARD 11 million dollars the same year, when Rajiv Gandhi was in Power)

Then you are expelled in 3 Months/ You Dropped out in 3 Months…. ( Sadly Manmohan Singh wasn’t the Dean of Harvard that time, else you might have had a chance… Too Bad, there is only one Manmohan Singh!)

Some Accounts say, You had to Drop out because of Rajiv Gandhi’s Assassination.

May be, But Then Why did you go about lying about being Masters in Economics from Harvard .. before finally taking it off your Resume upon questioning by Dr. SUBRAMANIYAM SWAMI (The Gentlemen who exposed the 2G Scam)

At St. Stephens.. You Fail the Hindi Exam.

Hindi Exam!!!

And you are representing the Biggest Hindi Speaking State of the Country?

SONIA GANDHI’s EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS

Sonia G gave a sworn affidavit as a Candidate that She Studied English at University of Cambridge

[SEE ANNEXURE-6, 7_37a]

According to Cambridge University, there is no such Student EVER! [ SEE ANNEXURE -7_39]

Upon a Case by Dr. Subramaniyam Swami filed against her,

She subsequently dropped the CAMBRIDGE CREDENTIAL from her Affidavit.

Sonia Gandhi didn’t even pass High School. She is just 5th class Pass!

In this sense, She shares a common Educational Background with her 2G Partner in Crime, Karunanidhi.

You Fake your Educational Degree, Your Mother Fakes her Educational Degree.
And then you go out saying, ” We want Educated Youth into Politics!”

Letters sent by Dr. Swami to EC and then Speaker of Lok Sabha are in ANNEXURE 7_36 &7_35 RESPECTIVELY

Contrast that with Gandhi Ji , who went to South Africa, Became a Barrister, on Merit, Left all that to work for South Africa, then for the Country….

WHY LIE ABOUT EDUCATIONAL CREDENTIALS?

Not that Education is a Prerequisite for being a great Leader, but then you shouldn’t have lied about your qualifications!

You could feel a little ashamed about Lying about your Educational Qualifications. You had your reasons I know, Because in India, WE RESPECT EDUCATION!

But who cares about Education, When you are a Youth Icon!!

YOUTH ICON

You traveled in the Local Train for the first time at the Age of 38.

You went to some Villages as a part of Election Campaign.

And You won a Youth Icon!! … That’s why You are my Youth Icon.

For 25 Million People travel by Train Everyday. You are the First Person to win a Youth Icon for boarding a Train.

Thousands of Postmen go to remotest of Villages. None of them have yet gotten a Youth Icon.

You were neither YOUNG Nor ICONIC!

Still You became a Youth Icon beating Iconic and Younger Contenders like RAHUL DRAVID.

Shakespeare said, What’s in a Name?

Little did he knew, It’s all in the Name, Especially the Surname!

Speaking of Surname, Sir

DO YOU REALLY RESPECT GANDHI, OR IS IT JUST TO CASH IN ON THE GOODWILL OF MAHATMA?

Because the Name on your Passport is RAUL VINCI.

Not RAHUL GANDHI..

May be if you wrote your Surname as Gandhi, you would have experienced, what Gandhi feels like, LITERALLY ( Pun Intended)

You People don’t seem to use Gandhi much, except when you are fighting Elections. ( There it makes complete sense).

Imagine fighting elections by the Name Raul Vinci…

It feels sadly Ironic, Gandhi Ji, who inspired Icons like Nelson Mandela ,Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lennon, across the world, Couldn’t inspire members of his party/ Nehru’s Family, who only seem to use his Surname for the purposes of FIGHTING ELECTIONS and conveniently use a different name on their PASSPORT.

You use the name GANDHI at will and then say, ” Mujhe yeh YUVRAJ shabd Insulting lagta hai! Kyonki aaj Hindustan mein Democracy hai, aur is shabd ka koi matlab nahin hai!

YUVRAJ, Itna hi Insulting lagta hai, to lad lo RAUL VINCI ke Naam se!!! Jin Kisano ke saath photo khinchate ho woh bhi isliye entertain karte hain ki GANDHI ho.. RAUL VINCI bol ke Jao… Ghar mein nahin ghusaenge!!!

You could feel ashamed for your Double Standards.

YOUTH INTO POLITICS.

Now You want Youth to Join Politics.

I say First you Join Politics.

Because you haven’t Joined Politics. You have Joined a Family Business.

First you Join Politics. Win an Election fighting as RAUL VINCI and Not Rahul Gandhi, then come and ask the youth and the Educated Brass for more involvement in Politics.

Also till then, Please don’t give me examples of Sachin Pilot and Milind Deora and Naveen Jindal as youth who have joined Politics..

They are not Politicians. They Just happen to be Politicians.

Much Like Abhishek Bachchan and other Star Sons are not Actors. They just happen to be Actors (For Obvious Reasons)

So, We would appreciate if you stop requesting the Youth to Join Politics till you establish your credentials…

WHY WE CAN’T JOIN POLITICS!

Rahul Baba, Please understand, Your Father had a lot of money in your Family account ( in Swiss Bank) when he died.

Ordinary Youth has to WORK FOR A LIVING.

YOUR FAMILY just needs to NETWORK FOR A LIVING

If our Father had left thousands of Crores with us, We might consider doing the same..

But we have to Work. Not just for ourselves. But also for you. So that we can pay 30% of our Income to the Govt. which can then be channelized to the Swiss Banks and your Personal Accounts under some Pseudo Names.

So Rahul, Please don’t mind If the Youth doesn’t Join Politics. We are doing our best to fund your Election Campaigns and your Chopper Trips to the Villages.

Somebody has to Earn the Money that Politicians Feed On.

NO WONDER YOU ARE NOT GANDHI’S. YOU ARE SO CALLED GANDHI’S!!

Air India, KG Gas Division, 2G, CWG, SWISS BANK Account Details… Hasan Ali, KGB., FBI Arrest..

You want to feel ashamed..

Feel Ashamed for what the First Family of Politics has been reduced to…

A Money Laundering Enterprise.

NO WONDER YOU ARE NOT GANDHI’S BY BLOOD. GANDHI is an adopted Name. For Indira didn’t marry Mahatma Gandhi’s Son.

For even if you had one GENE OF GANDHI JI in your DNA. YOU WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN PLAGUED BY SUCH ‘POVERTY OF AMBITION’ ( Ambition of only EARNING MONEY)

You really want to feel Ashamed.

Feel Ashamed for what you ‘ SO CALLED GANDHI’S’ have done to MAHATMA’S Legacy..

I so wish GANDHI JI had Copyrighted his Name!

Meanwhile, I would request Sonia Gandhi to change her name to $ONIA GANDHI, and you could replace the ‘R’ in RAHUL/RAUL by the New Rupee Symbol!!!

RAUL VINCI : I am ashamed to call myself an Indian.

Even we are ashamed to call you so!

P.S: Popular Media is either bought or blackmailed, controlled to Manufacture Consent!

My Guess is Social Media is still a Democratic Platform. (Now they are trying to put legislations to censor that too!!)

Meanwhile, Let’s ask these questions, for we deserve some Answers.

For we are all Gandhi’s. For Bapu is the Father of the Nation!

To know more, Try looking for Dr. SUBRAMANIYAM SWAMI. He is the reason today 2G SCAM is being Investigated!!!

Nitin Guptha, IIT

OVERNIGHT OR DAWN POLICE ATTACK IMMINENT ON POSCO AFFECTED VILLAGES

The Odisha police have called in heavy reinforcements and are moving into positions all evening around the villages of Dhinkia and Gobindpur in Jagatsinghpur District of Odisha state. These villages form the epicentre of over 6 years of successful peaceful resistance to the scandalous POSCO steel-mining-power-port project – the world’s largest. This project is being pushed through by Odisha and Indian Governments in blatant violation of fundamental rights and a variety of environmental and economic laws of India.

According to confirmed sources within the Odisha establishment, the attack on this peaceful resistance is more than likely early morning tomorrow, if the police do not unleash terror overnight. The resilient people of these villages including women, children, elders, youth and men are holding overnight vigils along the borders of their villages now and will stay so till the police withdraw.

An alarming aspect of such abuse of police powers is that over 26 platoons of police have been mobilised around these villages over the past two weeks. Such heavy police presence betrays the Odisha Government’s claims that the acquisition of land for the project is peaceful.

The current Senior Police Officer in charge of the operation is the former Superintendent of Police of Kalinganagar, who had ordered firing on villagers protesting the Tata Steel plant, killing many tribals and injuring scores more. Under this officer’s ruthless leadership, the Odisha police has effectively declared an emergency on the resisting villages, completely halting normal life over the past several weeks. It is more than likely now that a needless carnage will result because of the such strong arm tactics of the police.

On behalf of the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samithi (PPSS), this urgent release is being made requesting your earliest attention to this impending disaster.

For more details about the ground situation, please contact:

Prashant Paikray, Spokesperson, PPSS: Cell: 09437571547prashantpaikray@gmail.com

Ranjan Swain of PPSS: Cell: 09178643193

 

REVOKE THE ILLEGAL LEASE GRANTED IN THE KANNEDHARA HILLS: 120 TRIBALS ARRESTED, PREVENTED FROM MEETING A.P. CM

REVOKE THE ILLEGAL LEASE GRANTED IN THE KANNEDHARA HILLS: 120 TRIBALS ARRESTED, PREVENTED FROM MEETING A.P. CM

by Srinivas Ganjivarapu on Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 5:53pm

9th June, 2011

REVOKE THE ILLEGAL LEASE GRANTED IN THE KANNEDHARA HILLS:  120 TRIBALS ARRESTED, PREVENTED FROM MEETING A.P. CM

 

Brief Background:

Who We Are:

  • We, who are protesting against this destructive mining of our hills, are from the Savara andJatapu tribes. 
  • We are culturally, socially and economically bound to the glorious Kannedhara Hills in Pulliputti panchayat, Seethampeta Mandal, Srikakulam District where no quarrying is allowed.
  • We worship the Kannedhara Konda as our deity and temples dedicated to Lord Anjaneya and local deity Polamma have existed here for centuries . 
  • Apart from being rich in various medicinal herbs, Kannedhara is a precious water-source, filling 14 tanks that help raise 2,000 acres of paddy.

What We’re Protesting Against:

  • 1980 acres in the Pulliputti panchayat, Seethampeta Mandal have been surveyed as containing granite worth Rs. 1000 crores.
  • Out of this, 10 hectares worth Rs. 100 crores have been leased to Virgin Rock Pvt. Ltd.
  • This company is owned by Ram Manohar Naidu, son of Roads and Buildings Minister,Dharmana Prasad Rao.
  • The lease was given on the basis of a fraudulent NOC issued by the Revenue Dept., when Dharmana Prasad Rao was the Revenue Minister for the State. This is a brazen case of conflict of interest.
  • Moreover, many tribals had been allocated land in Survey No.289 where mining lease was granted.

Present Situation

 

Our group of 120 girijans was arrested this morning, while we were on our way to discuss our situation with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister (CM)Kiran Kumar Reddy in Srikakulam.

We had undertaken a 3-day padayatra (protest march on foot) from our villages in the Kannedhara Hills, to protest against the mining lease granted to Ram Manohar Naidu, son of State Minister Dharmana Prasad Rao.

Finally reaching the city, after covering a gruelling 65 km by foot, we were confronted by new obstacles. First, the police barred our entry into the city, only to let us go after we sat down in the middle of the road and refused to budge. Then, herded by 3 police jeeps and 1 truck full of constables, we were prevented from meeting the minister and made to wait another night.

We were finally given an appointment to meet the CM at 9 am this morning. As we made our way to the RIMS hospital at 8:30 am, where Mr. Reddy was fielding members of the media, the police moved in and arrested our entire group.

We strongly condemn the arbitrary arrests made by the police, especially since it was senior officers who had conveyed the time appointment time in the first place. Why were we prevented from exercising our right to express our grievances non-violently?

We condemn the apathy of the state. When members of a vulnerable community have endured severe hardship, walked for three days across the forest and tar roads in the blazing heat, many of us falling sick along the way, isn’t it the responsibility of the state to at least listen us and find out why we’ve decided to take such a difficult journey?

With no mention of why we were arrested and what we’d done wrong, the only justice that we got to see was in the back of a police truck. We were taken to a facility 40 km from our destination, where we were later released and told to go back to where we came from.

We see this as an affront to democracy and an act of extreme callousness on the part of state officials. We call for a serious enquiry into the its granting of mining leases in Kannedhara hills and a redressal of issues directly affecting us.

 

We are determined to protest till our Kannedhara konda is saved, and request you to join in our fight.

 

On behalf of Kannedhara Porardha Samiti,

Thotasavara Mukhalingam

Sarpanch, Pulliputti Panchayat 

Seethampeta Mandal, Srikakulam

Andhra Pradesh 

 

For Additional information please contact :

 

Mr. B.Sanjeeva Rao, Velugu, Kothuru (09440283837)

 

 

For high Res. images please contact @ aruna.c.sekhar@gmail.com

 

 

 

Regards

www.dhimsa.net

 

 

Padayatra by Tribals of Puliputtu Panchayat

 

 

Police arresting Protesters in Srikakulam

 

Uttar Pradesh: 3 people have died in skirmishes between the police and farmers protests over the land acquisitions for the Yamuna Expressway in the state of Uttar pradesh over the past week. This is because approximately 40,000 acres of land is being acquired for the construction of an expressway between Agra and Noida. Land around the proposed expressway is also being acquired for the construction of a township and the farmers are not being adequately compensated even after slight increase in compensation from 449 to 570 Rs per sq meter and the farmers remain unsatisfied.

BKU farmers have also joined the already protesting farmers in their struggle against unfair grabbing of agricultural land. Ch Tikait [head of BKU] will be joining farmers in Tappal [in Aligarh] after a protest march from village Sisauli to Tappal. At Tappal, a kisan panchayat [farmers meeting] will be organized to plan the future course of events. BKU spokesman Yudhvir Singh said, “we are not against the construction of a highway but the construction companies are being donated land by the UP government at such a low cost not only on the highway route but also all along the sides of the highway. Farmers will get a mere 570 Rs per square meter but the Jaypee company will colonize that area by developing real  estate like farm houses, malls and condos and then selling the same land for more than 1000 times the price.” We are not talking about a couple of acres here, but more than 21% of the land in India’s largest state U.P. has already been earmarked for such projects.

So the issue is not just adequate compensation, it is as much about how the land is used. The government quietly meting out  extra chunks of fertile land to corporations for commercial construction  will be a very profitable business venture for a few at the cost of the livelihood of thousands and India’s food security itself.

Farm land grabbing is a major problem in India with the wave of land acquisitions for development such as Special Economic Zones [SEZ’z], highways and townships springing up everywhere. In a country where there is rampant hunger and unemployment, cities on the verge of explosion and a huge agricultural population the only sensible and just  thing to do is to support people who work the land and protect its productive capacity. We need to create policies that will appreciate the farmer’s  role in society as the food growers of the nation and provide them a dignified life and a decent income. What will we achieve by wasting fertile land on more malls, condo’s and disney lands?- hunger,  more farmers suicides and even more slums in the cities.

For more information of farm land grabs world wide: http://farmlandgrab.org/
News articles on the current UP Yamuna expressway issue:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/Aligarh-farmers-seek-Tikaits-help-to-intensify-agitation/articleshow/6333396.cms

http://stockmarkettoday.in/2010/08/19/up-govt-offers-enhanced-package-to-agra-farmers/

http://ibnlive.in.com/generalnewsfeed/news/bku-extends-support-to-farmers/243165.html

Kisan Incorporated

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/op-ed/kisan-incorporated-414

August 28th, 2009

By G.V. Ramanjaneyulu & Kavitha Kuruganti

Some recent developments in India’s agri-related laws might make former finance minister P. Chidambaram’s infamous dream of seeing “only 15 per cent of Indians in villages” come true much faster than anyone thought possible. Moves are afoot to ensure large-scale displacement of farmers and agricultural workers — the most blatant move is already underway in Andhra Pradesh, under Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy. An experiment under the garb of “farmers cooperative” was approved by the state Cabinet recently, not very different from what his rival N. Chandrababu Naidu attempted some years ago. The arguments too are old: Small holdings lead to low productivity, low income, low investments and, this vicious cycle goes on.

This argument ignores the fact that more than 900 scientists from 110 countries have recently concluded an international process, called the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), pointing out that small-holding ecological farming is the way forward. We are also familiar with the subsidies that prop up intensive, large-scale models of farming elsewhere, despite claims of efficiency. Numerous studies have confirmed the inverse relationship between the size of farms and the amount of crops they produce per unit.

A study from Turkey shows that farms less than a hectare are 20 times more productive than farms that are over 10 hectares! But why should anyone be looking at such data when the sizes of land holdings and their alleged low productivity is used as an excuse to grab land?

This is what the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister is proposing: Get farmers to pool their land into a cooperative/society/company. Farmers sell their land to the new entity in return for some shares, which will then take up all agricultural operations and pay dividends. Farmers can exit by selling their share to existing members and, if there are no takers, government will buy the shares at a pre-determined market price. Land cannot be obtained back. Though many questions remain unanswered — what will happen to the farmers and how will they take part in any decision-making? What will tenant farmers and agricultural workers do? Why will land not be returned to the farmers? — the state Cabinet has decided to take up a pilot project in 50 villages by investing Rs 5,000 crore and there are moves to introduce a new legislation along these lines.

To begin with, the entire reasoning that bashes small holdings is faulty. Two, an experiment taken up by Mr Naidu some years ago along these lines (“Kuppam Project”) failed in delivering the promised benefits and had environmental repercussions. Most importantly, this move will take away land permanently from farmers and is truly an exit mechanism.

Incidentally, it is in Andhra Pradesh that the world’s largest ecological farming project is unfolding, supported by the state’s rural development department, which is proving that farming can indeed be made viable through alternative technologies and people’s organisations.

This programme, yielding results on more than 20 lakh acres, all small and marginal holdings, has attracted great attention already. Is it by design that the state government chose to ignore such vastly successful models and set about “to make farming viable” through proven-to-have-failed models?

While this is happening in Andhra Pradesh, in neighbouring Tamil Nadu a bill was introduced in the Assembly and supposedly passed on a day when 30 bills were passed without much discussion. This new legislation, called Tamil Nadu State Agricultural Council Act 2009, is about setting up a council that will be empowered to inspect agricultural institutions, courses of study, examinations etcetera, all to ensure that standards are conformed to.

“At present, there is no law to provide for the regulation of agricultural practice… it’s been considered necessary to regulate agricultural practice and registration of agricultural practi-tioners…” states the object of the legislation. Sounds inane enough? However, the law says that no one can render agricultural services unless his/her name is registered in the “Tamil Nadu Agricultural Practitioners Register” with a formal agricultural qualification from Tamil Nadu (outsiders can register within 90 days of their entry!).
In a country which has always had a rich tradition of farming based on an oral and experiential knowledge and in a state where paddy productivity levels are recorded to have been up to 13 tonnes per hectare (in 1807 in Coimbatore) without qualified agriculture scientists, this move is an outright rejection of the vast untapped knowledge of our farm women and men.

Worse, in the name of regulating agricultural services, this seems to be a way of controlling the farmer-to-farmer spread of ecological farming in the state, which is led by farmers themselves, their networks and other civil society groups. Tamil Nadu is also the state where the anti-genetically modified protests against Tamil Nadu Agriculture University’s unthinking capitulation to agro-MNCs like Monsanto are running at a high-pitched level. A connection between the resistance movement and this new law cannot be ruled out.

This new regulation of “agriculture services” will effectively provide more and more markets for particular kinds of technologies at the expense of farmers, as the advisories will be driven by the mindsets that prevail in the agriculture education/ research system in the country and the commercial interests of the agri-services to be set up. This route of a “qualified” advisory system will obviously facilitate conflicting interests and help in improving exclusivity of “markets” by reducing competition, while ignoring the causes for the current agrarian crisis. While a law of this kind should regulate services provided by agricultural research and agri-business bodies to ensure accountability for their services, especially in relation to economic, environmental and social viability and sustainability of farming, it should not be used as a weapon to penalise farmers and civil society

groups which are trying to promote sustainable farming.

These two initiatives in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are not to be seen as isolated attempts to create more markets for agri-businesses, but as an orchestrated move towards an unwritten “exit policy” for farmers.

These two moves will set a bad precedent for the rest of the country.

Given that agriculture is contributing a lower and lower share in the country’s gross domestic product, its importance in the mainstream economic development model might be diminishing for many policymakers. However, this is a question of livelihood for millions of Indians — without ensuring access and control over basic productive resources and without moving towards sustainable production technologies, the current saga of agrarian distress, including suicides, will only increase.

Such legislations and programmes cannot be brought in without comprehensive debates and without the government clearly stating its vision for farming livelihoods and how they would be liable when things go wrong.

* Dr G.V. Ramanjaneyulu is the executive director of Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Hyderabad, and Kavitha Kuruganti is a trustee of Kheti Virasat Mission, Punjab.

Campaign against 'Conspiracy of Silence' on Agrarian Crisis

India – smugly described to be the largest democracy on earth is witnessing increasing demise of villages and the hapless people who happen to be farmers. With villages getting desolate and farmers compelled to opt for noose to terminate life that has become an everyday disgrace, contemporary India presents a picture of orchestrated silences on the part of government and corporate governors. Today the only largesse farmers get are a death trap, debt, and utter callousness at the hands of our much-hyped democratic establishment. One must be alert to the fact that the destruction of farmer is an organized act. All through the six decades of independence our democratic dispensation has persistently kept silent on the fundamental questions determining the fate of the huge populace dependent on agriculture and allied activities. In its quest to oust agriculture from national economy, the establishment has
continuously resorted to manufacture false definitions. Thus the category of ‘common man’ has been emptied of a farmer eventually leading to the exit of farming as a source and mode of livelihood.
One would do well to look at how farming has fared in the over all national economy. In 1947,according to official statistics, agriculture and allied activities accounted for 67 percent in the gross domestic product, however down the years it has plummeted to as low as 17 percent in 2008. The phenomenon is that agricultural production during this period has become fourfold. Thus valuation of this fourfold produce has nose-dived to one-fourth in relative terms
or one-sixteenth in absolute terms. How could one explain the anomaly that while the actual agricultural production has witnessed a four-fold increase, the price, to the contrary, has registered as much fall?
The fall in prices of agricultural produces has to do with the definition that governments have thrust upon it. It could not have been otherwise unless the governments struck at the very root of it by fixing up Agriculture as an unskilled vocation. It is precisely this enlightened conspiracy that has forced agriculture into a strait jacket. Thus it is not surprising to see that a farmer can earn only 30-35 rupees a day while as per the sixth pay commission fourth class government employee gets away with as much as 400 rupees for a day’s remuneration. And instead of any concern about this gross injustice, the vision document of UPA and NDA, projects with pride the share of agriculture and allied sectors at 6% in 2020. The share of `Top 10′ in the country that stands at 60 % in 2008 and may easily move up to 70% in 2020. 
But now the farmers cannot take the drubbing anymore. No matter if political parties refuse to take cognizance of the plight of them. Farmers have woken up to the challenge: now they will interrogate leaders and send directives to political parties from Village Assemblies. This is the sentiment that has emerged from a two-day meeting of National Campaign for Eradication of Inequality.
Deliberating various issues that might be included in a common programme of action, the participants focused on issues like 

1. Why work in agriculture has been classified as unskilled? This is a direct attack on farmers’ honour!
2. Why two principles for wage determination are in vogue simultaneously, one for the organized sector, that is one person should be able to earn for the family, the other for the unorganised where no such stipulation is honoured? This duality is a fraud on the people of India.
3. Why compound interest is levied on agricultural credit in total contravention of the spirit of the law in that regard? How were the doors of law courts slammed against farmers in 1984?
4. How is force and even provisions of civil jail used in recovery of credit that abrogates fundamental right of the victim?
The meeting ended on a consensus on a three-point action plan that would comprise the following, to begin with, that may grow with experience of struggle in the field and people’s response there to. Firstly, Village Assemblies in the country would issue directions to the Parliament and State Assemblies to amend the relevant laws. This
may be the beginning of people-centric structural change that has been ignored and now totally dropped by the rulers.
Secondly, the realization of dues based on levy of compound interest would be directly resisted. The banks shall be told that this blasphemy is not acceptable to the people. The 1984 amendment in Companies Act may be challenged in the Court of Law. Lastly, all political parties may be called upon to place before the people their formal stand on these four vital issues. The Campaign is of the view that the entry of members of those political parties who may fail to place their position, positive or negative, on these issues before the people may be politely requested not to enter the
village as members of political parties. They are welcome as ordinary citizens minus their politics. This will be a modest beginning towards fulfilling the constitutional commitment and national resolve to establish an egalitarian social order.
National Campaign for Eradication of Inequality has been initiated by a number of people’s movement groups. The launch meeting organized at Sahyog Pustak Kutir, New Delhi was attended by some of the groups including Bharat Jan Andolan, Kisani Pratishtha Manch, Jan Adhikar Sanghtan, Jan Mukti Sangthan, Bagar Kisan Majdoor Sangthan, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Construction Workers Panchayat Sangam, Jagaran Jan Viaks Samiti, Parivartan etc. Meeting was
presided by former Commissioner of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Dr. B D Sharma of Bharat Jan Anlodan.
Dr. B D Sharma Gian Singh Pankaj Pushkar (011-24353997) (09416358044) (09868984442)

Consequences for agriculture and food security

http://www.india-seminar.com/2008/582/582_bhaskar_goswami.htm

BHASKAR GOSWAMI

AROUND 160 years back political economist John Stuart Mill wrote, ‘Land differs from other elements of production, labour and capital in not being susceptible to infinite increase. Its extent is limited and the extent of the more productive kinds of it more limited still. It is also evident that the quantity of produce capable of being raised on any given piece of land is not indefinite. This limited quantity of land, and limited productiveness of it, are the real limits to the increase of production.’1 Never more do his words ring true than today in India.

With the pressure of billion-plus mouths to feed, and returns on agricultural inputs declining, it would seem prudent to protect the area under agriculture, if not bring more area under cultivation. However, what we are witnessing is the reverse. Faced with competing demands for land from the non-agriculture sector and rapid urbanization, large chunks of prime agriculture land are being diverted for non-agricultural purposes. This has serious implications for food security.

A little over 46 per cent of the country’s area is under agriculture. Between 1990 and 2003, the area cultivated went down by around 1.5 per cent. While in percentage terms this may seem insignificant, in absolute terms it translates to more than 21 lakh hectares. If this area was brought under wheat (for the sake of argument), it would amount to a mind-boggling 57 lakh tonnes, which can feed more than 4.3 crore hungry people every year. Had political will to prevent this diversion prevailed, the number of hungry would have gone down substantially. On the other hand, between 1990 and 2004, land under non-agricultural uses has gone up by 34 lakh hectares.

All across the country, agriculture land is shrinking. In Kerala, the area under paddy is around 3.5 lakh hectares as against 10 lakh hectares in 1980. As a result the demand for rice is about five times higher than what is produced by the state. Mineral-rich Orissa is losing agricultural land to mining and power projects. Even in the case of a small state like Himachal Pradesh the net sown area has declined by 33,000 hectares between 1991 and 2001.

In recent years this rate of diversion has gone up. For instance, across 25 mandals in and around Hyderabad, 90,000 hectares of agriculture land has been diverted during the last five years. Real estate major Emaar MGF owns over 4,000 hectares of agricultural land across the country while DLF controls a land bank of around 3,500 hectares more. To sustain the high rate of economic growth, major infrastructure development projects such as construction of new airports, roads, power generation plants etc. are coming up. All this and more through large-scale diversion of fertile agriculture land.

Diversion of agricultural land for industry is frequently justified by pointing towards cultivable wasteland – around 132 lakh hectares – which can be developed and put under cultivation. However, cultivable wastelands have also declined by over 18 lakh hectares between 1990 and 2004. Further, even if these wastelands are developed and made cultivable to grow food, the productivity will remain abysmally low for several years.

In addition to increasing production of foodgrains for ensuring food security, pulses and fats are necessary for nutrition security. On the one hand, feeding half of the world’s hungry who live in India will require at least 170 lakh hectares of additional land under cultivation. On the other, to achieve self sufficiency in pulses and edible oils will require 200 lakh hectares more. Where will this land come from? Forget agricultural land; there is not enough cultivable wasteland available to meet this requirement.

The fact is that there simply is not enough land to go around. The statement of the Commerce Ministry, ‘SEZs account for 0.000012 per cent of the country’s arable area’ therefore needs to be viewed through this prism. When the ministry states that just over two lakh hectares of land will be lost once the formally and informally approved SEZs come up, it ignores the fact that this can feed over four million hungry every year in perpetuity. These numbers have gone up recently. Check the Ministry of Commerce website for latest data. Further, the argument of the ministry that most land under SEZs had already been acquired by state governments is indefensible because prior to its acquisition, it would have been under cultivation.

Agriculturally rich states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh account for over 70 per cent of the land that is earmarked for approved SEZs. Punjab and Haryana which meet a bulk of the country’s foodgrain requirement are promoting SEZs on prime agricultural land. With the Ministry of Commerce announcing on 3 December 2007 that the 5,000 hectare ceiling on multi-product SEZs may be relaxed, it is music to the ears of big developers whose projects were stalled. Now with acquisition of land left to the SEZ promoters, agricultural land is bound to come under increasing pressure.

In addition to land, water is another resource that is limited in supply and increased competition for its use between agriculture and the industry is jeopardizing food security. As it is, barely 40 per cent of the cultivated area of the country is irrigated while the rest depends on unpredictable rains to produce crops. This limited area however accounts for more than half of the total value of output of Indian agriculture. Irrigation also has the potential to increase crop yield by 30 per cent and therefore its importance for ensuring food security cannot be ignored.

Between farming and industry, which sector will have a priority over the use of this scarce resource? The SEZ Act of 2005 and SEZ Rules (2006) do not answer this question. Legislations at the state-level are either silent on this issue or clearly allow SEZs to develop water supply and distribute to its units. Given the present rules governing groundwater resources in the country, there is precious little that a state can do to prevent SEZs from running the underground aquifers dry and leaving nothing for surrounding farmlands.

Not only groundwater, even rivers and reservoirs meant for irrigation purposes are now being put at the service of SEZs. Take for instance the Whitefield Paper Mills SEZ in Andhra Pradesh. Located within five kilometres of the river Godavari, the state government has permitted the SEZ to draw 100 million litres of water per day. While the river at present has ample water, it is noteworthy that more than half of the Godavari river basin is categorized as cultivable land and, naturally, any mass-industrialization along this zone will reduce water availability for irrigation.

In Orissa, the allocation of water to industries from the Hirakud reservoir to industries has gone up 30 times over the 1997 levels. Notwithstanding protests by farmers against diversion of water meant for irrigation, the state is going ahead with its plans to increase allocation for industries – many of which are SEZs – like the Hindalco industries in Sambalpur district and Vedanta Industries Ltd. in Jharsuguda. POSCO’s proposed SEZ in Jagatsinghpur has been allowed to directly draw water from the river Mahanadi.

While industries are being given a priority over water rights by the Orissa government, Padampur subdivision of Bargarh district of the state, which falls in the command area of Hirakud dam, has remained permanently in the grip of continuous drought and agricultural failure since the 1960s. This area has also earned the dubious distinction of being one of the poorest region of the world. Obviously somebody has been busy stealing water meant for irrigating the crops of poor farmers.

There is more. The Mundra Port SEZ being developed by the Adani Group in the Gulf of Kutch, Gujarat has managed to access six million litres per day of Nar
mada water for immediate use and they expect the allotment to go up. SIPCOT SEZ in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu will receive water from the SIPCOT water supply scheme. Government of Andhra Pradesh will install a pipeline capable of carrying dedicated capacity of 20 million gallons of water per day for the FAB City SEZ coming up near Hyderabad. The list is endless.

It is unfortunate that despite over 177 lakh hectares of barren and uncultivable land lying unused, scarce resources like rich agricultural land and water are being poached upon to promote SEZs. To feed a billion plus people, 350 million of whom are chronically food insecure, the government is pushing for diversification away from foodgrains to produce non-food cash crops. The cash generated through exports of these will be used to import food.

However, there are some who believe that there may be pitfalls with this approach. ‘It’s important for our nation to be able to grow foodstuffs to feed our people. Can you imagine a country that was unable to grow enough food to feed the people? It would be a nation that would be subject to international pressure. It would be a nation at risk. And so when we’re talking about American agriculture, we’re really talking about a national security issue.’

This was President George W. Bush addressing the National Future Farmers of America Organization on 27 July 2001. For once, Bush does make sense.

Footnote:

1. J.S. Mill, The Principles of Political Economy. Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1848.