The global angle to the farmer protests -Utsa Patnaik

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published Published on Dec 30, 2020   modified Modified on Dec 31, 2020

-The Hindu

It is not just domestic firms that are potential beneficiaries of the new farm laws; foreign agribusinesses are a danger too

The farmers’ movement for the repeal of the three farm laws which affect them closely but have been rammed through without consulting them, has now entered its second month. It is of historic significance. It is not just about minimum support prices but also about the survival of the entire system of public procurement and distribution of foodgrains. Without ensuring the economic viability of foodgrains production in North India — the grain basket of the country — no continuity can be ensured for the public procurement and distribution system, which, despite its drawbacks, continues to provide a modicum of food security to vast numbers of our population.

Recreation of colonial times

Northern industrial countries, namely the United States, Canada and the European Union (EU), cannot produce the tropical and sub-tropical crops in high demand by their own consumers while they have mountains of surplus grain and dairy products, the only goods their single-crop lands are capable of producing for climatic reasons. They must find export markets for these. For over two decades, they have put relentless pressure on developing countries to give up their own public procurement systems, insisting that they should buy their food grains from advanced countries, while diverting their food-crop-producing land to contract farming of export crops that these industrial countries want but cannot themselves produce. In short, they want a re-creation of the economic scenario of the colonial period.

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Please click here to access the paper titled Destroying Public Provisioning of Food in India: The Latest Neo-Imperialist Attack Through the WTO -- Using the Agreement on Agriculture by Utsa Patnaik.

The Hindu, 30 December, 2020,

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