Farming changes in India felt here
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This article was published 30/12/2020 (884 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Many families in Burrows and across Manitoba have been impacted by detrimental changes to agricultural legislation in India. These legislative changes will have a significant effect on the future of their families, both here and abroad.
For decades, Indian producers have relied on government regulation to ensure some level of fair prices and services. Due to legislative changes, government regulation has been swept aside in favour of a wide-open system that favours corporate power and consolidation.
In India, an overwhelming number of producers own small plots of land. They are under significant financial pressure to put their product up for sale immediately because most do not have the ability to store or transport their harvest. Small producers without means to hold or ship their product will be prone to the manipulations of large private corporations.
In what has become a familiar refrain of right-wing governments everywhere, the Indian government has referred to its changes as giving freedom of choice to producers. But for many producers, it means that they will have no choice but to accept unfair payment for the fruits of their labour.
This issue and this legislation transcends borders and will impact bilateral relations and international trade. Many Canadians own family farms in India, and many of their family members own and work on farms in the country. These farms have been kept within families for many generations. Their farms will be threatened with the free-market system by facing loss of workers on their farms, shortage of produce across the country, as well as the potential of making the difficult decision to sell their family farm.
In the last few weeks, Indians went to the nation’s capital, New Delhi, for peaceful protest. Across the world, people have stood in solidarity in support of small farmers, protesting against these laws in Canada, the U.S., Italy, U.K., France and New Zealand. Just last week there was a peaceful protest held here in Winnipeg and I, along with my NDP colleagues, stand against the mistreatment of farmers here and around the world.
I have spoken on this issue in the legislature on behalf of all my constituents and as the critic for agriculture, and it is my hope that with international solidarity, the Indian government with engage in peaceful dialogue with producers to rectify the situation.
With that, I would like to extend warm wishes from my family to yours for the new year. You can always reach me by email at email@example.com or by phone at 204-415-7621.
Burrows constituency report
Diljeet Brar is the NDP MLA for Burrows.