Farmers groups seek livelihood security from political parties
Ahmedabad: The Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) along with other NGOs on Sunday urged all political parties to include livelihood security for farm households in their election manifesto.
The representatives released a charter of demands for the agricultural households` income and livelihood security at Gandhi Ashram here.
"With elections around the corner, farmer groups of the state have joined hands with other groups across the country to demand income and livelihood security to be made key promises by all parties," said farmers` representatives.
"It is high time to stop measuring agricultural development in the form of production and productivity. Now we need to focus on net returns or income accruing to farmers," said Devinder Sharma, an analyst of food policy.
"Today natural resources like land, forests and seed are being viewed as business commodities, on which corporates can make huge profits," said BKS representative Magan Patel.
"Various governments are abetting grabbing of resources away from agriculture through anti-farmer policies. Lands are acquired in the name of development," he alleged.
"There should be no forcible acquisition of agriculture land for non-agricultural purpose," he stressed.
The representatives of state-based NGO Jatan and a group of NGOs - `Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA)` - while supporting the demands of BKS cautioned monopolies already building up in various crops.
"A Supreme Court appointed expert committee has recommended to stop field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops," said Kavitha Kuruganti of ASHA.
"But neglecting that, the environment minister has recently cleared hundreds of field trials in various states," she said.
"There has been no rationale for permitting GM trials, after the earlier ministers of environment put the trials on hold," she said, while terming the practice unethical.
"Toxic technologies like pesticides are contaminating everything including our food. Our food and farming systems cannot be sustained in the intensive agriculture approach," said Kapil Shah of Jatan NGO.
"We demand to shift agriculture towards ecological farming on a massive scale in a time-bound manner. We want political parties to promise that ecological farming will get a huge thrust," he added.
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