The People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty congratulates the 35,000-strong Kisan (Farmers) Long March in India for its victory.
We commend the determination and militancy of the thousands of Indian farmers in the state of Maharashtra led by the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) who marched for 180 km from the city of Nashik to Azad Maidan, Mumbai in six days, from 6 to 12 March 2018. Because of their resolve, the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) government conceded with all their demands and agreed to address the concerns in the next six months.
The Kisan Long March serves as a noteworthy example to many farmers around the world in the collective assertion of people’s food sovereignty. Such people-based reforms on food production systems and agriculture – an effective loan waiver program, compensation to recover from natural disaster-related losses, restoration of tribal people’s rights over forest lands, and the end of all corporate grabbing of farmers’ lands, among others – are very possible to be won as long as we strive for the strengthened unity and empowerment of our social movement.
The Coalition recognizes that this victory is a result of a sustained struggle, stemming from the peasant strikes in June 2017. The Indian farmers were able to link and raise the issue of alarming farmers suicide rates to the neoliberal state policies that allow the growing control of foreign agro-industrial corporations over farmlands and natural resources.
The experience of the Maharashtra farmers’ Long March is a timely occurrence as we approach the commemoration of the Day of the Landless on March 29. On this day, we highlight land and resource grabbing as a human rights issue. We call on all PCFS members and networks to take part of our coordinated action by organizing local activities on landlessness, right to land, militarization, and the plight and struggles of the rural youth. Our theme for this year is “Peasants of the World, Intensify our Struggle for Land and Life!”
May the Kisan Long March inspire farmers, indigenous peoples, small-scale food producers and peoples of the world in pursuing our fight to land, human rights, and food sovereignty. ###
(Photo from Press Trust of India.)