On 9th - 10th (Saturday-Sunday), February 2008,
Sachivalaya Gymkhana, Opposite Mantralaya, Mumbai
24th January 2008
The National Policy for Farmers, 2007, was announced in November last year with the stated aim of substantially improving the livelihood of peasants and agricultural labour in India. The policy is largely drawn from the final report of the National Commission on Farmers chaired by Prof. MS Swaminathan. In October 2006, the Commission had submitted a revised draft of the national policy in order to 'serve farmers and save farming'. The new policy is apparently aimed at improving farmers' productivity and profitability and providing an appropriate price policy and risk management measures. It also aims at improving the economic viability of farming by "substantially improving the net income of farmers" and seeing that the govt "ensure that agricultural progress is measured by the advance made in improving that income".
The policy has been announced at the time when Maharashtra is reeling
under a high rate of suicide deaths among farmers in Vidarbha and other
parts of Maharashtra. Small and marginal farmers in the state are
quitting agriculture because of its non-viability. There is an urgent
need to look at the crisis in agriculture and find solutions. Does the
National Policy for farmers address these concerns? Does it provide
concrete solutions to the agrarian crisis?
There is a need to review the national policy, its implication for the national agriculture and the serious agrarian crisis in Maharashtra, and whether it would help serve farmers and save farming.
In order to initiate this process, Focus on the Global South, India along with others is calling a meeting of experts, academicians, farmer leaders, researchers and activists to discuss different aspects of the farmers' policy. We can also provide a citizens perspective of the current agrarian distress and policy guidelines which can be introduced in the new policy through amendments in the Parliament.
We would therefore invite you to attend the two days conference scheduled for 9th-10th February (Saturday-Sunday) at Sachivalaya Gymkhana, Opposite Mantralaya, Mumbai.
We are looking forward to have your confirmation at the earliest.
SP Shukla, Gajanan Khatu, Meena Menon, Jatin Desai, Afsar Jafri