Getting to know the Second Green ‘Revolutionary’ Ruler-Corporates!

July 18, 2010

A Pamphlet by Forum Against Monopolistic Aggression, Kolkata (Translated by Debarshi Das, Sanhati)

Click here to read the original Bengali version

Two central ministers Pranab Mukherjee and Sharad Pawar, fortified in the posh AC rooms, spread the glory of the ‘second green revolution’ to the representatives of six states in a two day workshop. Nodding on, sitting by their side, were chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and agriculture minister Naren Dey. Not a single word was uttered that this ‘revolution’ is in fact a meticulous corporate plan for ‘green loot’. The basis for this was the anti-national Agricultural Knowledge Initiative (AKI) signed in 2005 between India and the US. The ambit of AKI stretches from agricultural production, distribution to domestic culinary education, training, research, service industry. In short the AKI would gobble up the entire economy.

We, who walked side by side in the Singur-Nandigram episode, opposed setting up of the chemical hub, raised our voice against SEZs, against the construction of nuclear power plant in Haripur, should let people know that the fallout of this ominous programme is not a single Singur or a Nandigram or a Nayachar or a Haripur. Thousands of Singurs, Nandigrams, Haripur, Bhopal or Vidharbha could be the eventual result. Nothing is beyond the purview of AKI: agriculture, education, research, health, environment, economy, culture: all are included. Singur is a minnow in front of the Second Green Revolution.

Know the Truth!

Something is being carefully suppressed. It is not being revealed that the AKI treaty signed between India and the US is the basis for the ‘Second Green Revolution’. The full form of the AKI is Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture, Education, Training, Services and Commercial Linkages. The prime minister signed this treaty in the US in 2005 and had declared that the AKI treaty is the harbinger of the second green revolution. The principal architects of this are the American commercial agricultural firms. They seek to grab fertile lands of India, grow crops of their liking under contract farming and export them abroad. The treaty has nothing to do with the food security question of Indians. All talk of food security is merely an eyewash.

Corporates, not Farmers, are at the Root of this Revolution(?)

It is indeed a matter of shame that the global trade policy of the three profit-hungry American companies, namely Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midlands (ADM) and Walmart, has become the agricultural policy of the independent country of India. These three companies are the main actors behind the ‘second green revolution’ of India – all are board members of the AKI. Monsanto is the biggest seed and farm chemical company of the world. ADM is the biggest seller of food grains. And Walmart is the biggest monopolist fish which can gobble up the global retail market, its annual revenue is higher than the aggregate GDP of all southern African countries put together. The treaty is the result of a sinister pact with the multinational farm implements, food processing, wholesale and retails business interests. Domestic partners such as Tata, Mittal, Ambani, Goenkas have also come along. They are the apparent Indian owners of the companies.

What is Happening and What is Going to Happen as a Result of the Treaty

Following the AKI treaty big capital is entering the domestic agricultural and retail market. APMC laws of the states are being amended – so that the big business can directly enter contract farming business. They are dictating the pattern of farming according to their wishes – in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, everywhere. Foreign companies are entering the science research centres of the country, to get the required clearance certificates by influencing the scientists working there. This has been proved in the case the BT brinjal. In line with the treaty, a new Seed Act is going to be passed which would help seed and chemical companies like Monsanto establish their monopoly in the seed market. Right to preserve and exchange seeds is being snatched away from peasants. Steps are being taken which would ensure that they cannot use any seeds other than those of the companies. Futures trading acts are being changed, to send food price sky rocketing in sympathy with the global market price. Various reports of the UN have already warned of further rise in global food price in coming decade. Agricultural produce is like gold now – speculators are fueling its price by putting their money in the food market. Not a fraction of this market boom would accrue to the peasants. These would be cornered by the giant middlemen. According to the new plans, land under paddy and wheat cultivation would be curtailed. Vegetables and fruits would take their place, which would be exported abroad after adequate processing.

Our national agricultural policy has been framed in line with the AKI. But one can find no mention of the farmers’ problems there. The whole thing is designed keeping in mind the corporate interests. Plans are being laid which would push up cost of cultivation so much that the ordinary farmers get pushed out of farming. This is in fact the new strategy of eviction.

On the one hand food crisis is gripping the world, on the other international food and agricultural products business is hell bent on retaining their hold over fertile lands all over the world. Already lands of many a village have been taken in Punjab. Animal feed is being produced there, whereas the local people and environment are left to withstand the lethal impact of pollution. The result has been ominous. Thousands of indebted peasants have committed suicide all over the country. According to the data of National Crime Bureau from 1997 to 2007 1,82,936 farmers have committed suicide. That’s one suicide in every thirty minutes.

Position of the Political Parties

In conformity with the India-US deal, interest of the common man and peasants are given a short shrift, agricultural and commercial laws of the land are being turned upside down in order to reverse the logic of land reform, corporate interests are changing each and every law – while all these alarming developments are unfolding, the political parties both of the left and the right are keeping mum over the AKI. When the 123 nuclear deal was signed the left parties had declared that the sovereignty of the country is at stake. The AKI is thousand times more dangerous than the 123 deal, yet these parties are silent. This criminal conspiracy against the food providers of the country is going to jeopardise food security. At the same time we see cold storages are being constructed at public expense, on public land and being handed over to monopolist traders to store food so that their higher profit is guaranteed. Rail freight corridor is being constructed on the loan given by the World Bank to cart away the agricultural wealth of the land. This  public-private partnership (PPP) is a curious circle. Water, land, labour, financial expense: all ours, profit is yours.

The First Green Revolution

The government, and even a main proponent of the first green revolution, Swaminathan, has admitted that the first green revolution has failed. But who all are paying for the failure? Punjab was the birthplace of the first green revolution. It used to be called the bread basket of India. Today Punjab is India’s cancer belt. A train by the name of Cancer Express, number 339, runs from Bathinda to Bikaner. In some families all ten members have the disease. There is poison in water, in soil, in the air. Regions which have been visited by Monsanto or Cargill have been turned into death traps. In other words, failure does not only mean failure of crop, its price is far reaching. In West Bengal for instance out of 341 blocks 81 are arsenic and 49 are fluoride poisoned. Earlier 5000 kinds of paddy used to be grown in Bengal. 4500 of them have been lost in the impact of a single revolution. The scientists were made to assure us that the green revolution would bring unprecedented prosperity to the house of the ordinary peasant. It has only set his house on fire. Small peasants have been forced to sell his meagre land to the big farmer. Bee population has dwindled, bio-diversity has declined, all this means more hardship for the poor people. The crisis would only excerabate with the second revolution. Perhaps the entire Eastern India would join the cancer belt. Perhaps this is the reason why there was the artful confession of the failure and immediately afterwards Mr. Swaminathan got busy with the ‘second revolution’.

Opposition by Scientists, Teachers, Doctors

On the eve of the aforementioned workshop, on 9th July, 2010, river scientist Kalyan Rudra, scientists Partha Sarathi Roy, Arun Kanti Biswas, Abhee Dutta Majumdar, doctor Siddhartha Gupta and others met the agriculture minister of the state Naren Dey on behalf of the FAMA to express their opposition to the ‘second green revolution’ to demand scrapping of the AKI. They were of the opinion that through these measures the days of indigo contract farming and Bengal famine are being brought back. The whole of East India may turn into a desert.

The Second Green Revolution and Plans to Starve the Small Business

‘The second green revolution’ is nothing but an attempt to starve the peasants and small businessmen. Farming, transportation, distribution, retail and wholesale trade, the market system: all these stand to be appropriated. Those who are supporting the sinister plan of gobbling up these are essentially pushing the next generation towards famine in exchange of petty personal benefits. Come, let us raise our voice against the anti-national second green revolution. This is an onus upon all patriotic Indians, no one else will do it for us.