Coming from Brampton and having numerous friends of Indian descent, I have had the privilege of witnessing the exciting fashion, music and culture of India. However, many people fail to realize the impact countries like India have on the western world. The greatest influence can be seen in our food, as many of our spices, agriculture and grains come from India’s rich and resourceful country. As Canada is home to over 1.3 million individuals of Indian descent, our proximity to these issues cannot be ignored and needs to be supported. Here is what you need to know about the current issues facing Farms of Punjab.
Protests have formed over the past weeks as a result of the three laws that have been enacted under Narendra Modi’s government on September 20. These laws include legislation many are rallying against due to the threat it imposes on the livelihoods and safety of farmers. While the government has maintained the implementation of the new laws will result in greater freedom for farms there, this is far from true. Under the new laws, farmers will experience a significant loss with the sale of their produce, with no protection from corporate exploitation. The laws also prove to be problematic as many farmers claim there was no consultation with the government prior to the laws being enacted. The only support that has been granted to farmers is MSP or Minimum Support Pricing (MSP), which is a fixed price ensuring farmers of 23 crops against any substantial falls in farm prices. However, it is almost counterintuitive, as there is a greater corporate benefit for agriculture creating the fear of the end of the system of MSP-based procurement of food-grains, largely wheat and rice which countries like Canada import.
The deeper issue amongst farmers is the diminishing government support that will occur with the sale and consumption from private buyers and larger corporations. Many people do not realize the importance of farmers within society and ultimately if they are left without income this will largely impact consumption and the production of much-needed produce. The increasing suicide rates and police brutality also threaten farmers and their human rights. The younger generation, much of which live in Canada, are protesting as without this older generation of farmers their families would not have been offered the privilege of life outside India, as Rabh Dillon describes in his Instagram post. Over 250 million people have supported and protested for the farmers in India, the most ever seen in human history, which shows the magnitude of support. With over 500 farmers reported to have committed suicide in the last year, impacted by poverty and injustices, there has never been a greater time to stand with the Farmers of Punjab.