Friday, January 11, 2013

Press note Bhartiya Kisan Union

Press note
Bhartiya Kisan Union

  • Instead of the Minimum Support Price, Farmers should be given a fair remunerative price – Tikait
  • India should stop importing raw sugar – Ajmer Singh lakhowal
  • FDI in retail is not good for Indian farmers – Yudhvir Singh

BKU organized a press conference on the 8th of Jan at the Punjab bhawan in New Delhi. The press conference was addressed by  Ajmer Singh Lakhowal of BKU Punjab, Rakesh Tikait , the spokesperson of BKU and Yudhvir Singh, the general secretary of BKU. They made the following demands from the Indian government.

  1. Farmer should receive a proper remunerative price for their crops:  Farming households should be receiving a proper monthly income and proper remuneration for their crops. The CACP is not following a fair procedure to fix crop prices. Lets look at what happened with the wheat prices during this season. During 2012-2013 the CACP had recommended a price of Rs 1400 per quintal of wheat. Following this the government had fixed the wheat MSP at 1285 Rs per quintal. But this year despite a serious increase in the production costs, there is no mention of increasing the MSP. Farmers are having to bear the burden of increasing production costs themselves. BKU demands that crop prices are fixed according to the recommendation of the Hooda committee report  as well as the National Farmers Commission which says that farmers should receive 50% above the cost of cultivation at least. These steps are urgently needed to stop farmers from committing suicide and have a dignified life in our country.

  2. Stop the import of raw sugar to protect local sugar producers: Indian sugar farmers are very worried to hear that the Indian government has approved sugar imports. In the ongoing 2012-2013, the supply of sugar in India is much higher than the national demand. Yet a total of 4,50,000 tons of sugar have been imported by sugar mills and traders. According to forecasts, this years production of sugar will amount to 24 million tons while there is still a stock of 6.5 million tons remaining from last year. A total of about 30.5 million tons of sugar is thus available locally in India itself. While the national demand for sugar is only 20 million tons leaving a 10.5 million ton surplus of sugar in India. Because of the crashing global sugar prices, sugar mills are making a profit of about 60 USD per ton by importing cheaper foreign sugar instead of buying locally. BKU demands that import duties on sugar should be increased from the current 10% to 60% percent. The Indian farmers, including sugar farmers are already not receiving a remunerative price for their produce, unnecessarily importing sugar to benefit traders and foreign producers will put a serious burden on our already suffering farmers.

  3. Farmers will not benefit from FDI in retail: The government has made a false claim that FDI in retail will benefit farmers, however according to our own experience with Pepsico which had claimed to bring in a supposed horticultural revolution in Punjab in the 80's, and when the government had made similar claims of a foreign corporation rescuing the farm sector, this is not true. At the time when Pepsico had come into Punjab, farmers followed all the instructions of the company and purchased seeds, fertilizers and cropped accordingly to the companies needs. However, when the time came to purchase farmers produce, the company imposed all kinds of grading schemes to prevent purchasing from a large percentage of the farmers, who suffered a total loss due to the false claims made by the company earlier. Pepsico did not bring in any revolution, it only succeeded in selling its own drinks in the Indian market which was always its original plan. What is the guarantee that Walmart will not do the same? How will the government prevent Walmart from importing and dumping cheap foreign agricultural produce in India? How will it prevent large retail from fixing farm gate and consumer prices according to their will? Foreign corporations have come to control the majority of the of the seed and fertilizer industry in India due to the governments policies, we cannot let them control our retail trade and take over completely our food and farming.
  4. Keep agriculture and other areas vital for human life out of free trade agreements.
  5. The government must consult BKU and independent farmers organizations before coming out with the budget.


Rakesh Tikait
National Spokesperson BKU

Ajmer Singh Lakhowal
BKU Punjab
Yudhvir Singh
General Secretary BKU

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