COLIN TODHUNTER: Farmers’ Protest in India: Price of Failure Will Be immense // Global Corporations' plans for India's agriculture
NB: This is some information - kindly sent to me by a friend - on the implications for Indian agriculture and Indian livelihoods, of the governments' plans. It provides clues as to why critics and opponents are being defamed, intimidated and arrested. This is the altar of 'muscular' nationalism and pseudo-patriotism at which our democratic freedoms are to be sacrificed. This government is the RSS' gift to the Nation, as has been clear ever since 2013-14. For all their swadeshi / deshaj talk, their central impulse is total power. If this requires handing over the entire economy to corporations, Indian or foreign, so be it. The masses will be kept in line with culture wars, revenge politics and vigilantism; while democratic institutions and the constitutionally mandated separation of powers will be subverted by communal ideology.
While all political parties are complicit in this nefarious scheme, the Sangh Parivar has emerged as the delivery vehicle of choice for global corporate totalitarianism. This is what some consider a civilisational renewal. In the light of this brazen scheme to destroy our country's hard-won freedoms, let us resolve to support the kisan's non-violent struggle to defend their livelihood. As also the activists, Nodeep Kaur, Shiv, Disha Ravi, and all those like them, who stood up for dignity, freedom and justice. Let us also think carefully about our rulers' endless talk about the national interest. Who is anti-national? Farmers, students, activists? Or our rulers? DS
Globally, there is an ongoing trend of a handful of big companies determining what food is grown, how it is grown, what is in it and who sells it. This model involves highly processed food adulterated with chemical inputs ending up in large near-monopoly supermarket chains or fast-food outlets that rely on industrial-scale farming.
While the brands lining the shelves of giant retail outlets seem vast, a handful of food companies own these brands which in turn rely on a relatively narrow range of produce for ingredients. At the same time, this illusion of choice often comes at the expense of food security in poorer countries that were compelled to restructure their agriculture to facilitate agro-exports courtesy of the World Bank, IMF, the WTO and global agribusiness interests.
In Mexico, transnational food retail and processing companies have taken over food distribution channels, replacing local foods with cheap processed items, often with the direct support of the government. Free trade and investment agreements have been critical to this process and the consequences for public health have been catastrophic.
Mexico’s National Institute for Public Health released the results of a national survey of food security and nutrition in 2012. Between 1988 and 2012, the proportion of overweight women between the ages of 20 and 49 increased from 25 to 35 per cent and the number of obese women in this age group increased from 9 to 37 per cent. Some 29 per cent of Mexican children between the ages of 5 and 11 were found to be overweight, as were 35 per cent of the youngsters between 11 and 19, while one in ten school age children experienced anaemia…
The NVA India Business Council serves as an informal, high-level leadership group to champion private sector collaboration and investment to drive sustainable agricultural growth in India. (See the source of this self definition here). In 2014, the NVA constituted the India Business Council to champion private sector collaboration and investment to drive sustainable agricultural growth in India. The Council serves as an action-oriented platform of global and national business leaders that will identify, develop and scale new opportunities for partnership and collaboration in India’s agriculture sector. Members include:
UPL Ltd (chair)
Adani Wilmar Group
Bayer CropScience Ltd
Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd
Louis Dreyfus Company
MTR Foods Pvt Ltd/Orkla ASA
Novozymes South Asia Pvt Ltd
PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt Ltd
State Bank of India
Swiss Re Services India Pvt Ltd
Wal-Mart India Pvt Ltd