Indian farmers have been protesting against the Indian governments decision to introduce three new legislations under the Indian Farm Reforms on the 27 September.
By December, the movement gained international support and over 250 million people have taken part in this demonstration which has made it the largest peaceful protest on earth according to reports.
The new legislations allow farmers to buy and sell outside their designated Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC). Farmers can also establish contracts with larger firms to sell their harvest and hoard produce in abundance without breaking the law.
However, Indian farmers perceive the new farming reforms to favour big corporations which could jeopardise jobs of those working in family-owned farms. The protesters claim the reforms are exploitative because they lay down the groundwork for big corporations to take over the farming sector.
Earlier this month, leaders of 13 Farmer Unions unanimously rejected the governments latest proposal. The Unions have stated that they want the Government to repeal all three new legislations.
In light of this, starting from the 12 December the unions blocked the Delhi-Jaipur and Delhi-Agri highways.
Two days later, the unions held a nationwide protest where they encouraged supporters to boycott corporate projects, especially Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani.
Reliance Jio is India’s largest mobile operator and in February Ambani leveraged in a $5.7bn partnership with Facebook to create an app called ‘JioKrishi’ which is a ‘Farm-to-Fork’ supply chain in India. The app will provide farmers and stores with accurate data of crop yields all over India.
Farmers and supporters have decided to boycott Jio products because they believe the platform will ultimately provide Reliance Industries with real-time insights and data that will help big corporations internally control the farming supply chain.
The Hindustan Times analysis reported that the average Indian farmer will earn 10,329 rupees per month in 2018-19 and 263.1 million Indian farmers rely on agriculture to keep their families afloat. Despite this, data from the Spices Board Indian says India caters for roughly 68% of the world’s spices demand. Globally, India is the leading exporter of Basmati rice and the worlds largest milk producer.
On the 15 December, scholar of religion and history, Simran Jeet Singh tweeted to support the movement and he said:
“Indian farmers are leading the largest strike in human history.
“They are fighting new laws that hurt the working class and decades of government abuse and neglect that has had disastrous results on their health, environment, and economy.”
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