‘Protection of the Farmers right’ in India Challenges and Road Ahead
Written By: Sreshta Satpathy
The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001, made India one of the first countries in the world to pass legislation granting farmers’ rights. India’s skill is crucial because of its worldwide contributions to negotiations on Farmers’ Rights, it’s status as a biodiversity hotspot, and the difficulties of agriculture in India, where these rights are being implemented. India has enacted unique laws, but the challenge of putting them into practice remains unsolved, as there is no clear agreement among the numerous parties on how to accomplish these rights.
This should serve as a warning to the rest of the world that enacting law alone will not be enough to properly advance farmers’ rights. To encourage some kind of unanimity in defining and executing these fundamental rights, an international system is urgently needed. What has been gained so far in the fight to create these rights may be lost if the global community does not take on the issue of unambiguously expressing Farmers’ Rights. Farmers in India and other developing nations rely on Farmers’ Rights to defend their livelihoods, gain access to resources, defend their rights to seeds, and, most importantly, to pull people out of poverty. Farmers who have been protesting at Delhi’s borders for the past eight to nine months have to suffer a lot of major problems regarding the farm laws.
Challenges Faced And Road Ahead
Thousands of small-scale farmers end up dead in India because they are unable to repay their debts. They began modern farming two decades ago, with the support of government subsidies, and began growing market crops. Harvests were good at first, but as time went on, the government’s financial support became less and less. To pay for the expensive new seeds, fertiliser, and insecticides, the farmers were obliged to take out even larger debts. They have become despondent as a result of repeated poor harvests. Some of the challenges they faced due to the protests are; there is a significant gap between the farm and the market.
On the one hand, warehouses have extra buffer supplies of food grain, while consumers frequently encounter shortages of essential vegetables such as onions. Secondly, there is only a sliver of political resolve to confront the massive ecological concerns that exist on the ground.
No party has proposed plans to address issues such as rising soil erosion, plummeting water tables, and pesticide overuse. Thirdly warehouses, cold storage facilities, and processing units are in short supply or non-existent in rural areas. As a result, the gap between the rural farm and the urban table expands, resulting in waste. Lastly according to me the price at which output is sold does not match the sector’s expanding investment needs, the farming sector is in serious financial trouble. The predicament is being exacerbated by the diminishing per-capital land holdings with each new generation. None of these issues are addressed by the new farm laws, and none of them would be rectified if the laws were repealed. In fact, these issues have accumulated throughout the decades while the minimum support price regime was in place.
If actually looked into there can be a lot of solutions to this issue. Apart from these challenges, there are more that these farmers have to face in general. For Example; the non-availability of standard fertilizers and pesticides at low rates is a major problem. The second big issue affecting our farmers is poverty and a lack of resources. In reality, our farmers’ poverty, ignorance, and unwillingness to employ modern farm machinery and techniques go hand in hand. The farmer cannot readily obtain loans from rural banks or loaning agencies to construct a small tube well, purchase buffaloes or cows, or build a house, etc. The government and social welfare organizations should collaborate to develop low-interest loaning agencies for qualified farmers.
The International Treaty’s Governing Body must now focus on setting clear rules for defining and implementing Farmers’ Rights. To protect national sovereignty while fostering global collaboration, an international movement for farmers’ rights would have to tread carefully. Farmers’ Rights would have serious consequences if each country erected obstacles to accessing genetic resources, limited resource exchange, and competed to establish claims on innovations. Farmers’ Rights is a movement with a long and tumultuous history. To encourage some kind of unanimity on defining and executing these fundamental rights, an international system is urgently needed.
What has been gained so far in the fight to create these rights may be lost if the global community does not take on the issue of unambiguously expressing Farmers’ Rights. Farmers in India and other developing nations rely on Farmers’ Rights to defend their livelihoods, gain access to resources, defend their seed rights, and, most importantly, pull people out of poverty. On the other hand, farmers’ fears that the government will discontinue acquiring grain at the minimum support price without putting in place a replacement mechanism has come as a startling shock to an already distressed farming community. Nevertheless, if agriculture is to remain a viable long-term economic base for the agricultural community, it is critical to recognize that a more efficient production system, rather than high pricing, serves the interests of farmers better. This is something that planners should keep in mind.