US farmer groups deliver a solidary statement to protesting farmers in India

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Farmers protesting in India against the three farm laws passed in September. (Image Source: Twitter/@Savekisaan)

In the solidarity statement, US farmer groups expressed respect for the struggles of the farmers and farmworkers and requested the Indian and US government to help the farmers and protect food sovereignty in India. 

Around 87 farmer organizations, allied agroecology, farm and food justice groups in the United States delivered a solidarity statement in support of the ongoing farmers protest in India to Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a body of around 40 Indian farmers unions. In the statement, US farmer groups expressed respect for the struggles of the farmers and farmworkers and requested the Indian and US government to help the farmers and protect food sovereignty in India. 

The statement said: “India’s farmers have mobilized to create one of the world’s most vibrant protests in history against unjust farm laws that will increase agribusiness’ stranglehold over their food system. They have rallied around a cry for the repeal of three laws — passed without farmers’ knowledge or consultation — that aim to liberalize Indian agriculture and food sectors, not only at the cost of farmers but also the food security of India’s poor.” The statement also stated concerns over additional issues including, the unconstitutional manner of passing the farm laws without proper parliamentary rules and the Indian government’s authoritarian measures to deny farmers their right to dissent democratically.

The solidarity statement also said: “The US-based signatories of the solidarity statement recognize the role the US government has played in creating the conditions that led to these repressive laws. The US has been a key opponent of India’s limited use of MSP (Minimum Support Price) at the World Trade Organization, arguing that it represents an unfair subsidy. Yet, the US government spends tens of billions of dollars on its agriculture, much of it in programs that directly contribute to low prices and commodity dumping in international markets.” It added that under the Joe Biden administration, the United States has a powerful opportunity to shift its trade policy that will let other countries boost fair markets for farmers and shift its own agricultural policy to ensure parity, environmental and racial justice in the country. 

US farm, food, and racial justice organizations including, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, National Family Farm Coalition, Rural Coalition, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, and the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance co-sponsored the solidarity statement. The co-sponsors also compromise diasporic Indians who work with farmer groups in India.

Executive Director of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) Sophia Murphy said that liberalizing markets without hearing farmers’ political voices and not taking into account protection against concentrated buyer power makes a mockery of what markets should stand for. She said: “We denounce the three farm bills, the lack of consultation with farmers and their organizations, and stand in solidarity with the brave stance India’s farmers are taking.”

Senior Policy Analyst at IATP Shiney Varghese said: “India is at a turning point: it can decide to honor the demands of its farmers or continue to stand by Indian billionaires who would benefit from these farm laws.” 

Chair of Rural Coalition John Zippert said: “The Rural Coalition, which has fought for four decades for the civil and human rights for all producers and farmworkers in this nation, sends our strong support and deep respect to the heroic family farmers and farmworkers of India.” 

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