Indian farmers plough a field. Photo credit: Rajesh Ram on Unsplash

Indian farmers continue nationwide demonstrations

Thousands of farmers in India marked its 100th day of protest by blocking a six-lane expressway outside New Delhi. 

Since September 2020, tens of thousands of farmers representing over 30 farmers’ unions remain camped outside of New Delhi in protest of the new reform. The uptick of demonstrations occurred after several rounds of failed negotiations between farmers and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The growers still reject the deregulation of agriculture markets.

Demonstrations started after the Indian parliament passed three laws that disrupted Indian agribusiness’s “mandi” system. The operation is a complex, government-regulated system where farmers sell directly to traders or agents with guidelines for pricing. Under the new system, the sales, pricing and storage have loosened and can be dictated by private players and supermarket chains. Farmers say that this places farmers in economically vulnerable positions.

| Read: Protests in India signal frustration with lack of protection for the country’s most vulnerable farmers

While President Modi says the new laws are market-friend, the farmers allege that he is making it easier for corporation-magnates to undermine and exploit farmers. In particular, the farmers claim that Modi is making it easier for tech billionaires such as Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adan to enter into farming.

Already farmers have felt the brunt of economic hardship when COVID-19 hit. Now as harvesting season begins, they are unsure of what their future will be under new legislation.

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