No end in sight for India’s protesting farmers – BBC News

from their fields and their land they came on tractors trucks on horseback in a roadside resistance tens of thousands of farmers determined to peacefully protest new laws it's become the biggest challenge facing india's prime minister narendra modi government is not listening to us government is so stubborn for those farmers under 10 acres they'll die they'll die tensions have been building for months this is a fight over the future of farming in india those of us who worked on this reforms for 50 years you know this is thrown at us old versus new so what started this standoff and who will win it's opposition to three new agriculture laws passed last year which has fueled this movement the first is all about giving farmers freedom of choice by allowing them to sell to anyone anywhere in india at the moment farmers sell their produce through local government regulated markets where they're guaranteed a minimum price under the new law these wholesale markets would still exist but farmers would also be able to sell directly to big businesses the government says farmers will be better off by having more options but farmers fear that once corporations are involved price guarantees will disappear the second law sets the rules for how farmers draw up contracts with businesses things like setting a price for crops before they're even planted the third allows private businesses to stockpile basic crops like lentils onions and potatoes until now only the government was able to store large reserves of these it means private companies can buy these in bulk farmers fear this will impact pricing even further [Music] what would you say to the farmers i've met at these protests who say these laws will destroy them so all these three reforms do three new laws do is give the the farmers the freedom they don't take away anything it gives them freedom to sell when where through a contract not a contract it just gives freedom why does the agriculture sector in india need to modernize for 70 years 70 years agriculture has had an average productivity grow of 50 percent of world average we've just been stuck there with no change this is the national highway 44 it's usually a busy road into the indian capital delhi and now it's busy for a very different reason this place is packed with protesters mostly farmers from the neighboring states of punjab haryana and uttar pradesh now they first got here at the end of november they weren't allowed into the capital city delhi and so they set up camp here they've been here through the bitterly cold winter protesting three government farm laws that they believe will destroy them now i first came here at the beginning of december and this camp has grown in size since then it's basically a mini city a mini town a mini community people are living here they're sleeping on the back of their trucks they're eating here there are hospitals there's even a gym here it's a sign clearly that they're in this for the long haul [Music] mohan singh made the seven hour journey from his farm in berwada in punjab to join the protests he told me he's been sleeping in the back of this truck through india's cold winter months many people have died due to the harsh weather conditions foreign [Music] agriculture matters in india not only does it feed this vast nation it's a big source of employment four in ten indians work as farmers and more than half of the country depends on agriculture as their main source of income as the months have gone on what i found striking is how what began as a male-dominated protest has become more female while women make up a large chunk of india's farm workers only a small percentage own any land seen but rarely heard they're becoming a powerful voice at these protests accuse the government of trying to silence them and their supporters security at the camp was stepped up an internet was temporarily shut down journalists and activists backing the calls have been jailed despite rounds of talks the farmers and the government still can't reach a deal this is becoming a bigger challenge for prime minister modi as every day goes by a politician who rarely backs down in a standoff with the nation's farmers who say they won't budge until the laws are repealed you

Add Comment