An Innovative Protest By Women Farmers Demanding Fair Price For Their Produce
November 16th, 2017
What comes to your mind when you hear the word farmer? A feeble man, with protruding bones maybe. Sadly, women, who work at par with men in the field are often ignored. To highlight the woes of the neglected women farmers, Swaraj Abhiyan on November 15th organised an innovative protest in Delhi.
A group of women farmers gathered in front of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ welfare at four o’çlock with baskets of produce to meet the Commissioner for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). CACP is responsible for the recommendation of Minimal support price (MSP). “How can farmers survive with such #KisanKiLoot?”, the women ask.
Their protest is not a general sit-in demonstration. The women are seen carrying the commodities in a basket on their head. The products are necessarily the ones whose MSP is less than the cost of production. They have been in conversation with CACP officials, but no action has been taken.
So, today, they gathered in front of the gates of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ welfare to draw public attention.
CACP said that they are still working on the MSP, but if the question of PM Modi’s promise comes up then they have nothing to say as they do not have the authority. They suggested that the farmers should start selling their produce to traders and quote a price which starts from MSP, that way they can procure more money. RajBhala, a farmer from Haryana, who spoke to the CACP officials says “This commission is more concerned about protecting the interests of those who import crops rather than that of farmers”
Kavitha Kuruganti, an activist and member of ASHA (Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture) says, “It’s very clear that CACP with its wide terms of interest is defending itself saying it has to balance other interests too. This then means that there is no institution which is ensuring that MSP covers at least the cost of production and then provides a profit margin. It only reinforces how ineffective CACP is protecting farmers’ interest”
Women in farming
According to the 2011 census, there are nearly 98 million women involved in agricultural jobs. But out of them, almost 63% of them work as agrarian labourers as they do not have land of their own. There has been an increase of 24% of women working as agricultural labourers in 2011 than in 2001. As farmers they don’t get a fair price for their produce, neither do they get the deserving pay as agricultural labourers.
PM’s promise and the betrayal
Narendra Modi promised a margin of 50% on the cost of production and also included the same in BJP’s manifesto. This promise led him to win the 2014 election, but he did not implement that in reality. This protest wishes to highlight the betrayal faced by the farmers.
— Elamparithy (@Parithykalai) November 13, 2017