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Farmers marching across India to save agriculture

1.Bt crops trials: Farmers stage protest against TNAU
2.Farmers marching across India to save agriculture
3.Kerala Government welcomes Kisan Swaraj Yatra into the state

EXTRACT: "We will also oppose all such technologies that are anti-farmer and anti-Nature. We extend our sincere support to the Kisan Swaraj Yatra" - Kerala's Minister of Agriculture (item 3)

NOTE: Thousands of people around India are joining the Yatra to mobilize support for India's farmers. Please sign the petition for farmers' rights and against corporate control of agriculture: http://www.kisanswaraj.in/petition2/
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1.Bt crops trials: Farmers stage protest against TNAU    
Press Trust of India (PTI), Oct 29 2010
http://www.indolink.com/displayArticleS.php?id=102910101822

Coimbatore - More than 50 farmers, part of the Kisan Swaraj Yatra, today swarmed into Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) here and raised slogans against it for conducting trials in various Bt crops.

The protesters, particularly from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, demanded that the university stop acting as 'the agent of multinational corporation Monsanto' and halt trials of Bt cotton, brinjal and corn, which they said would seriously affect domestic seeds and their income.

The activists led by Pankaj Bhushan from Bihar and also some farmers belonging to Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, became restless, when they came to know TNAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Murugesa Bhoopathi was not available, with whom they had fixed a prior appointment, police said.
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2.Day 28 of farmers marching across India to save agriculture
Srijit Mishra
Digital Journal, 29 October 2010
http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/299546#ixzz13quHu7eK

Coimbatore - The Kisan Swaraj Yatra, known as the Farmers Freedom tour, is mobilizing farmers and public opinion across states of India. It is a call to save Indian agriculture.

A number of farmers and farmer organization have come together under the banner of Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA, which literally means hope in many Indian languages) and are touring across the country. The Kisan Swaraj Yatra started on 2 October 2010, Mahatma Gandhi's 141st birthday, from Sabarmati, the same place from where Mahatma Gandhi had started his famous salt sayagraha or Dandi march on 12 March 1930. It will end on 11 December 2010 at Rajghat, New Delhi after having traveled across 20 states.

Today, on 29th October 2010, the yatra has traversed Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu and now reached Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, Coimbatore, a collaborating institute with Monsanto. Farmers' protested by donating money and urging the publicly funded scientists to take up research that benefit farmers and not the agribusiness corporations.

    "The overwhelming message from farmers and non-farmers, rural and urban areas, is that such a large mobilization to save Indian agriculture is the crying need today. The Yatra is raising issues like support systems for farmers, remunerative prices, control over seeds, land and other resources, forced displacement and the vicious cycle of high-cost chemical agriculture. The yatra has had Ministers in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka endorsing the demands, farmers taking out bullock-cart rallies, promising resolutely to be annadatas (providers of food) in the face of adversity and land-grabbing, adivasi (tribal) children laying out their vision of sustainable development, film personalities coming out in support, shopkeepers and transport officials donating money to keep the yatra going."

To support their call, you may have a look at their petition to the Indian government.

    "The Kisan Swaraj Yatra is an initiative to strike out a new path in agriculture, which provides a dignified livelihood to all our farmers and farmworkers, and keeps our soil alive and our food and water healthy."

It questions the ethos that "there is no alternative" and throws upon a world of possibilities where "many alternatives exist" (MAE).
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3.Kerala Government welcomes Kisan Swaraj Yatra into the state
Kisan Swaraj Yatra, October 30 2010
http://bit.ly/cPo8JM

*Agriculture Minister reiterates the need for protecting state government's constitutional authority over agriculture"

Delhi/Palakkad: The pan-Indian 71-day bus tour called Kisan Swaraj Yatra entered Kerala today on its 29th day to a warm welcome by the Kerala Government.

Speaking on behalf of the state government of Kerala, Mr Mullakkara Ratnakaran, Minister for Agriculture, said that all the issues being raised by the Yatra are issues of concern for the state government too and that they are addressing these concerns in the state. The Minister promised to join the Yatra when it ends at Rajghat on December 11 th 2010, after covering 20 states.

The Yatra was welcomed by a large group of citizens in Palakkad here today, where the local MLA, Mr Diwakaran raised his concern around the disappearance of honeybees and the huge environmental imbalances that we are creating.

"Kerala government will not budge on its stand related to the required national ban on Endosulfan. The state government, once again in the context of endosulfan, reiterates the need for states to have the authority to regulate agriculture-related matters given that Agriculture is a State subject as per the Indian Constitution. We will also oppose all such technologies that are anti-farmer and anti-Nature. We extend our sincere support to the Kisan Swaraj Yatra", said Mr M Ratnakaran in his welcome address delivered on a phone. Due to a personal bereavement, the Minister could not join the meeting personally.

Speaking on the occasion, Sridhar Radhakrishnan of Thanal said that Kerala leads the country right now in terms of being the first state to declare itself GM-Free and have an organic farming policy that aims to convert the entire state to organic farming in a few years' time.

"It is shocking that the government continues to initiate programmes like the "Green Revolution in Eastern India" when it is very evident that the earlier Green Revolution model is what had pushed farmers into the deep agrarian crisis that they are in today. It is also unconscionable that despite two lakh farmers having committed suicides, the government is not ready to address the issue in fundamental ways, including assessing the role of unsustainable technologies in creating and exacerbating the crisis.

"The Kisan Swaraj Yatra aims to provide a message of hope to farmers in the country that there is indeed a way out of the crisis in farming today - that of adopting self-reliant, ecological farming. It also warns the government that it has to stop its anti-farmer policies and stop looking at agriculture only as markets for agri-business corporations", said Kavitha Kuruganti of Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA).

Speakers expressed their apprehension around Obama's visit to India and the fact that there is increasing American influence and interference in our farming, to the detriment of Indian farmers' and consumers' interests and our natural resources even as American corporations like Monsanto are increasing their monopolistic stronghold in our farming.

The Kisan Swaraj Yatra will spend three days in Kerala, interacting with farmers and consumers including school children participating in farming and will be hosted by Jaiva Karshaka Samiti, Thanal, Haritha Sena, Save Farmers Campaign, Save Our Rice Campaign, FERNS, The Good Food Movement and others. The Yatra has so far reached out to farmers and consumers in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka,Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. Regular updates on the Yatra are available at www.kisanswaraj.in .

For more information, contact:

Sridhar Radhakrishnan, Thanal: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 099-953-58205