Dear farmer, your eviction notice

Agricultural news from India:  a mirror image modified in Britain 

Devinder Sharma sent us news of his article in The Times of India, Oct 2, 2011.  He writes: 

Agriculture has been turned into a losing proposition with over 250,000 farmers taking the fatal route in the past 15 years to escape the humiliation of growing indebtedness, and with over 42% farmers expressing the desire to quit agriculture . . . Ironically, more than 40 years after the launch of the Green Revolution, those who feed the nation are going hungry. 

In 1996 I heard Dr Ismail Serageldin, a vice president of the World Bank and also the then chairman of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, warn of the rapid swing in population from the rural to the urban centres. 

Agricultural policies have been re-written to usher in corporate farming, and appropriate lows introduced to acquire fertile land and groundwater for real estate and industry: it has become obvious that the bank was actually laying the ground rules . . .

Following the policy directives of World Bank/IMF, the government has been on a fast-track mode to divest farmers from their meagre land holdings. Rural India is literally on the boil. In the past decade, more than 2 million hectares of cultivable land, equivalent to the total arable land of Kerala, has been acquired for non-farm purposes. Uttar Pradesh alone is set to acquire 6.6 million hectares for the proposed expressways. Several studies have shown that India will turn into a major food importer somewhere around 2017-18, back into the days of ‘ship-to-mouth’ existence. 

Forcibly driven out from their only source of economic security, thousands of people are trudging out of the countryside everyday in the hope of a better future. They are swarming the smaller towns, cities and metros, which are bulging at the seams . . .

The ablebodied men are the first to move out, leaving behind the old and the weaker sex. They comprise the new breed of agricultural refugees.

What India needs is a production system by the masses, and not for the masses.  

In Britain:  a different sentence 

Farmers will not be required to move out, but to focus on setting up IT industries and heritage museums in their barns and taking care of countryside parks which will be designed and managed for tourists. 

Food? Can be imported – continuing an ongoing process. The only production to be actively encouraged in both countries will be large-scale intensive farming for export. 

The only beneficiaries from implementing these US-bonded WB/IMF/WTO policies in both countries will be those in the travel, leisure and import-export business. 

Sharma’s article can be read in full here.


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