Last month farmers in India demonstrated their frustration and anger at the failed model of industrial agriculture that benefits corporations, not farmers. Over a period of 71 days, farmers across the country participated in a Farmer Freedom March, or Kisan Swaraj Yatra, that traversed 20 Indian states and involved thousands of people.
The march began at the birthplace of Gandhi, who had envisioned a future India made up of vibrant village economies. Farmers saw this vision sidelined by the "Green Revolution" industrial model of agriculture, replete with patented hybrid seeds and reliance on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. For years now, farmers in India have been steeped in debt, battling failing crops and suffering health impacts from pesticide exposure. The Farmer Freedom March highlighted other costs of the Green Revolution model as well: threats to ecological health, loss of people’s control over agricultural resources, and pesticide-laden produce and ground water.
Dr. G.V. Ramanjaneyulu from the Kisan Swaraj Yatra stated the farmers’ demands: “the [Indian] government has to … ensure environmental sustainability of our agriculture and protect rights and resources of farmers including seeds and land. Only then can we have sustainable livelihoods for farmers.” These demands are echoed by farmers across the Global South, as well as by family farmers fighting the corporatization of agriculture in the US.
See images from the protest below: