بھوک کا عالمی دن 2022: خوراک کی خود مختاری اور موسمیاتی انصاف کی جدوجہد

پریس ریلیز 16 اکتوبر 2022

زراعت اور خوراک کا عالمی ادارہ فاؤ دنیا کی اشرافیہ کے ساتھ ملکر آج خوراک کا عالمی دن منا رہی ہے جبکہ چھوٹے اور بے زمین کسانوں، شہری اور دیہی مزدوروں اور عوام کے لیے یہ بھوک کا عالمی دن ہے۔ پوری دنیا میں بھوک اور قحط کی موجودہ صورتحال عالمگیریت کے بھیانک چہرے کی عکاسی کرتا ہے۔

عالمی سطح پر بھوک کے اعداد و شمار ایک بار پھر بلند ترین سطح پر پہنچ گئے ہیں۔ 2021 میں، دنیا بھر میں تقریباً 2 ارب 30 کروڑ افراد غذائی کمی اور غذائی عدم تحفظ کا شکار ہیں اور تقریباً 83 کروڑ افراد بھوک کا شکار ہیں۔ رپورٹ کے مطابق جولائی 2022 میں 82 ممالک شدید غذائی عدم تحفظ کا شکار ہیں جس سے 34 کروڑ 50 لاکھ افراد متاثر ہو رہے ہیں۔

اس بھوک کو مزید ہوا سامراج کا پیدا کردہ موسمی بحران دے رہا ہے۔ صرف پاکستان میں حالیہ مون سون کی شدید بارشوں کے نتیجے میں 80 لاکھ ایکڑ سے زائد کھڑی فصلیں تباہ ہو چکی ہیں۔ لاکھوں کی تعداد میں مال مویشی، بڑی تعداد میں گندم کا ذخیرہ اور جانوروں کا ذخیرہ شدہ چارہ 8 ہفتوں کے دوران ہونے والی مسلسل بارشوں اور سیلاب کی وجہ سے ضائع ہو گیا ہے۔ واضح رہے کہ پاکستان موسمیاتی تبدیلیوں سے سب سے زیادہ متاثر ہونے والے دس ممالک میں شامل ہے۔ اقوام متحدہ ادارہ برائے انسانی فلاح نے عندیہ دیا ہے کہ تقریباً 57 لاکھ سیلاب زدگان کو اگلے تین ماہ میں خوراک کے سنگین بحران کا سامنا کرنا پڑے گا۔ عالمی ادارہ برائے صحت (ڈبلیو ایچ او) کے مطابق حالیہ سیلاب سے پہلے بھی 16 فیصد آبادی کم یا شدید غذائی کمی اور عدم تحفظ کا شکار تھی۔ Continue reading

Govt asked to protect rights of small, landless farmers

Bureau Report | March 30, 2022

PESHAWAR: Representatives of farmers, agriculture workers and non-governmental organisations said here on Tuesday that the government was allowing free market forces to take over land, livestock, food production and processes as well as markets instead of promoting small and landless farmers.

They vowed to fight all forms of feudal encroachments and grabbing of agricultural land by big corporations and to strive for food security.

Addressing a press conference at Peshawar Press Club, representatives of Pakistan Kisan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) and peasant movements demanded of the federal government to provide substantial economic relief through social protection initiatives to all the marginalised people, especially women.

The presser was organised in connection with the Day of the Landless. It was addressed by representatives from across the country, including PKMT general secretary Tariq Mehmood, Dr Azra Saeed of Roots for Equity, Zahoor Joya from Multan, Ali Nawaz from Ghotki, Nabi Jan from Peshawar and others.

“Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, instead of promoting and implementing policies that would promote sustainable food system, the United Nations supported mega business platforms and corporations to promote industrial-chemical methods of agricultural production,” he said.

Mr Mehmood said that corporate farming systems, including those being used in the dairy and livestock sector, were responsible for eviction of small and landless farmers from their communities. A key example, he claimed, was the authority’s taking away control of the fresh milk sector from small producers and giving it to huge corporations.

He said that digitalisation of the food production system would allow further encroachment of not only agro-chemical corporations, but also financial and IT corporations to control agriculture.

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2022

https://www.dawn.com/news/1682440/govt-asked-to-protect-rights-of-small-landless-farmers

Corporate Capture in Dairy and Livestock

Press Release | Women Farmers’ Press Conference on Corporate Capture in Dairy and Livestock

On November 10 2021, women farmers and members of Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) held a press conference at the Sahiwal Press Club to protest against governments crackdown on fresh milk, the proposed ban on the sale of fresh milk along with the impending implementation of the Minimum Pasteurization Law as well as increasing trade liberalization and corporatization of the dairy and livestock sector.

Women farmers said that dairy corporations seeking to capture the dairy sector for their own profits are leading the attack against fresh milk by labelling it unsafe and unhygienic. Majority of the people in our country prefer the taste of fresh, whole milk and it is due to corporations’ failure to increase the popularity of packaged milk that they are resorting to other means, including pushing for stringent processing regulations and enlisting doctors and scientists to back unfounded claims regarding the safety of farmer-produced milk. According to PKMT members, international standards dictated by Codex and WTO form the base of attacks against fresh milk, corporate maligning of fresh milk makes no logical sense since our ancestors have been producing and consuming milk in the traditional way since many millennia without any negative impacts on their health.

Women farmers also spoke of the recent drive to import foreign cattle for increasing milk productivity. They said that such measures only benefit large cattle farms since small and landless farmers cannot afford to buy and sustain imported cattle due to high cost of industrial animal feed, veterinary costs and infrastructural costs. Additionally, there are high security risks of keeping expensive cattle in villages. The popularization of high-tech processes including artificial insemination techniques and genetic manipulation as well as company-produced products including hybrid fodder seeds and mechanized milking equipment are part of a drive to establish large-scale dairy farms and drive out small and landless farmers from the dairy and livestock sector.

Asserting their position as the key workforce in livestock rearing and maintenance, women farmers also highlighted how land and livestock are complex and deeply interconnected components of rural economies and are crucial to their livelihoods. Women reiterated the demand for just and equitable land distribution, saying that land access is crucial for accessing fodder to sustain livestock. They also said that the sale of milk, milk products and dung cakes ensures regular income that is critical for daily household expenditure.  A ban on fresh milk and corporate takeover of the sector would not only steal their livelihoods but would also be detrimental to their health; access to fresh milk works to offset rural nutritional deficit due to consumption of milk, butter, yoghurt, lassi and ghee.

Women said that the imposition of anti-farmer and pro-corporate standards and policies is threatening their lives, livelihoods and their right to food sovereignty. They made the following demands:

  • Prioritize just, equitable and genuine land reforms that allow land redistribution to landless farmers, including women agriculture workers
  • Ensuring women’s right to own and control land, livestock and all productive resources
  • Reject WTO-enforced international food safety standards and all WTO Agreements, including TRIPs Agreement that has captured farmers’ seed resources and now, is attacking livestock genetic resources
  • Conserve hardy indigenous livestock species that are resilient, well-adapted to local climate and produce high-quality milk (using local varieties of fodder)
  • Government must disallow foreign investments in farming, dairy and livestock sector that are encouraging the formation of large-scale, mechanized corporate entities

Release by: Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek & Roots for Equity

Urdu Press Release; Press Release_Press Conference_Sahiwal

Corporate entities, IFIs and neoliberal policies are directly responsible for the hunger, malnourishment and economic destitution

Press Release | PKMT 14th Annual Conference 2021 | October 15-16, 2021

Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek held its 14th Annual Conference from October 15 -16 at Renewal Centre, Lahore and simultaneously, held panel discussions and demonstrations to mark International Rural Women’s Day and World Hunger Day. During the events, speakers held corporate entities, IFIs and neoliberal policies accountable for creating food systems that are directly responsible for the hunger, malnourishment and economic destitution of more than a billion.

Azra Sayeed, Roots for Equity exposed corporate hijack of the United Nations Food Systems Summit, highlighting the role of the World Economic Forum, and foundations especially, the Gates Foundation and philanthropies who have provided corporate-driven policies depriving farmers of land, livelihood and food by funding technology intense systems in third world countries; the entire UNFSS was termed as nothing but a hallmark of false solutions to hunger e.g. pre-mixed therapeutic food that accrues billions of dollars in profit for corporations. Wali Haider, PKMT General Secretary highlighted the neoliberal policies in food and agriculture introduced in Pakistan amidst the pandemic reflecting much of the neocolonial policies emitting from the UNFSS. These policies are a fresh wave of attacks on small and landless farmers in Pakistan, embedded in the Pakistan Agricultural Transformation Plan, Kisan Card scheme, CPEC’s agricultural policies and livestock development programs. Policy features of digitalization of the agricultural economy, value chain strengthening and cluster-based food production panders to the corporate lobby, facilitates corporate land grab for export-oriented production, benefits landlords and industrialists and captures natural resources e.g. water, agricultural land, forests and rare minerals for company use. Essentially, it is a blueprint of UNFSS’s vision for food systems transformation and completely overrides small farmers’ rights to land and livelihood.

According to Raja Mujeeb, Steering Committee member, PKMT, the Global People’s Summit, a Global-South counter to the UNFSS main objective was to mobilize landless farmers, agricultural workers, indigenous peoples, fisherfolk and rural women across the world to develop a People’s Action Plan and draw up a Declaration for a people-led radical transformation of the current food regimes towards just, equitable, healthy, and sustainable food systems. The GPS is a testimony of the people’s collective resistance against the global corporate food empire and a call for genuine food systems transformation.

As part of the panel on movements and struggles, Asif Khan, PKMT Steering Committee member, presented an overview and analysis of peoples’ struggles and movements across the world, saying that revolutionary politics and direct action is the only way to grant farmers complete rights overall productive resources and complete autonomy and decision making in food and agriculture.

A number of other activities highlighted Rural Women’s Day with a tribute to rural women for the formal and informal, paid and unpaid work in food and agriculture. PKMT also celebrated 10 years of its struggle for seed sovereignty by holding a seed mela with indigenous seeds from all over Pakistan.

In addition, a protest was held as part of the Global Day of Action against IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings. The protest actions called for an immediate TRIPS waiver, debt cancellation and an end to resource plunder and greenwashing practices in the name of development.

Demands:

  • Implementation of agroecological approaches to agriculture based on food sovereignty principles that center peasants’ right to land and collective rights over all critical productive resources, in order to create just, equitable, healthy and sustainable food systems that ensure safe and nutritious food for all;
  • Recognition of the role that women and rural communities play in conserving plant and animal genetic resources through agricultural practices rooted in traditional knowledge;
  • Boycott all neoliberal corporate-led platforms, policies and action plans such as UNFSS and bilateral and multilateral trade agreements such as the RCEP, CPTPP and others that allow the monopolization of global trade by TNCs;
  • Provide climate justice now by demanding greater accountability and higher compensation for solutions from countries with a higher level of development who have destroyed Earth’s life systems due to extractive and polluting capitalist production model.

Release by: Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT)

Farmers Reject United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS)

Press Release

22 September 2021

Roots for Equity and Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek held the National Food Systems Summit at Renewal Center, Lahore on September 22, 2021. The National Summit was held as national mobilization towards the Global People’s Summit (GPS) for Just, Equitable, Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems. The GPS has been organized through the coordinated efforts of peoples’ movements and farmers’ movements, a unity of more than 21 organizations across the world, and is a Global-South led initiative to counter the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) and its neoliberal corporate agenda being held on September 23, 2021.

We, the people, maintain that UNFSS has been overtaken by the private interests of the corporates and elites. Dr. Azra Talat Sayeed, Executive Director at Roots for Equity, shed light on how the UNFSS platform is using neoliberal policies to reinforce corporate control over food and agriculture through propagating false solutions (e.g. food fortification, genetic modification, industrial meat production systems, monocultural food production) to climate change, hunger and malnutrition. It is clear that corporate-driven approaches are marginalizing, criminalizing and co-opting indigenous knowledge as well as eroding biodiversity through industrializing agriculture. The National Food Systems Summit Pakistan aims to counter the corporate-controlled narrative of UNFSS by amplifying people’s demands for genuine food systems transformation.

Through the panel sessions on land and environmental rights, women’s rights and collective rights over natural, genetic and productive resources, the National Summit highlighted the injustices that prevail in our current corporate-controlled, feudal-controlled food systems. In particular, Asif Khan and Chowdhry Aslam talked about issues of landlessness and corporate capture of genetic and productive resources. Roop Kanwal, a member of PKMT Youth Wing said that a critical issue remains the total control of land by a handful of feudal families in the country and absolute negation of women farmers’ rights, an overwhelming majority of whom are landless. Shaheen Maher said that women agriculture workers receive pittance for their backbreaking labour, especially working on export-driven crops such as cotton and sugarcane. Malik Aman, PKMT member from Manshera posited that environmental degradation by corporate-led systems are a discord to environmental justice.

Furthermore, the National Summit engaged farmers, including women, youth and landless farmers, trade union, academics, civil society and activists from various sectors in a series of workshops. As a contribution to the collective global response of peoples’ movements, participating farmers and activists formulated concrete demands and developed initial action plans for achieving food sovereignty through genuine agrarian reform, sustainable system change and a radical transformation of the world’s food systems.

Tahir Mehdi from Punjab Lok Sujag, Fozia Parveen from LUMS, Neelam Hussain from Simorgh Publications and Tahira Abdullah, a human rights defender, also raised key issues during their interventions in the panel sessions.

Demands:

Genuine agrarian reform and implementation of just, equitable and self-reliant sustainable food production and consumption systems that are based on small and landless farmers, including women farmers, ownership and control over land and other critical productive resources, access to safe and decent livelihood, and sustainable food production and consumption systems;

Women’s control over land and livestock as a key resource for protecting and promoting a healthy balanced life for women, their children and communities;

Recognition of the role that women and rural communities play in conserving plant and animal genetic resources, ensuring the continuity of biodiverse ecosystems and perpetuating agricultural practices rooted in traditional knowledge;

Promoting environmentally safe technologies that are controlled and owned by communities as the ultimate guardians of our environmental resources;

Prevent farmers’ evictions from indigenous land and ensure that no development work acts as a cover for further land grabbing or resource grabbing by corporations;

Ensuring that all farmers and indigenous populations retain their customary rights over commons/public lands, forests, water resources and other ecologies which is crucial sources of their life and livelihood;

An end to the stronghold of monopolistic agrochemical transnational corporations over global food production and distribution systems;

An end to trade liberalization through dismantling of institutions and mechanisms such as the WTO, and other inequitable bilateral and multilateral trade agreements such as the RCEP, CPTPP among other that allow the monopolization of global trade by TNCs;

Accountability of Transnational agribusinesses for the industrial fossil-fuel based industrial production to the imminent climate emergency vis-à-vis unchecked high levels of greenhouse gas emissions;

Immediate, state-led action towards outlawing toxic chemical pesticides and fertilizers and reinstating sustainable agroecological/indigenous farming and livestock practices based on food sovereignty principles;

Ensure a robust public healthcare system that makes quality healthcare accessible to rural populations, including free testing services for Covid-19 as well as immediate provision of free and accessible vaccination;

Establish markets, led by small farmers, particularly women farmers;

Mobilize farmers and other sectors to form unions and associations that build and strengthen the movement against capitalist corporate hegemony of capitalist countries in food and agriculture.

Release by: Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek & Roots for Equity

“Building a Healthy Planet: Promoting Safe and Nutritious Food for All.”

Press Release; July 1, 2021

On July 1, 2021, Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) and Roots for Equity held a webinar to launch their joint campaign titled “Building a Healthy Planet: Promoting Safe and Nutritious Food for All.”

Mr. Tariq Mehmood provided an overview of the campaign with its objective of sensitizing small producers, consumers and society in general regarding the human and environmental cost of corporate-controlled and chemical-intensive industrial agricultural production and promoting the use of agroecology and food sovereignty as an antidote to corporate agriculture.

Dr. Azra Talat Sayeed from Roots for Equity highlighted the need for an alliance of progressive voices and platforms in urban and rural areas that can struggle for access to safe and nutritious food for all, especially in the face of a global crisis the Covid-19 pandemic. She highlighted the urgent need for solidarity amongst small producers, industrial workers, consumers, academics, women, youth and other actors in the struggle for food sovereignty. According to her, that was the most needful act as a way forward in the face of multiple social, economic and political factors that are impacting food production and consumption. She highlighted the numerous crises including food and economic crisis, environmental, health and climate among others. Dr Sayeed identified the role of corporate agriculture along with other imperialist institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other institutions that should be held accountable for the destruction of the environment and sharply rising global inequities, including rising hunger.

Shaheen Mahar, a PKMT member from Ghotki, highlighted women farmers’ immense, unparalleled labour and demanded immediate redressal for the injustices they face, especially their lack of access to food, let alone safe and nutritious food. In the face of Covid-19, women are facing acute hunger as well as lack of decent livelihood. She stressed the need for not only women’s right to land but implementation of land ownership for women farmers. She pointed out that the ongoing trade liberalization and corporatization of the dairy sector along with government-led crackdowns on the sale of raw milk are a direct threat to rural women’s livelihoods and their right to food sovereignty. Shaheen also elaborated on the gendered impact of chemical pesticide usage; since women agriculture workers are extensively involved in pesticide application, they face numerous health risks due to direct exposure to toxic pesticides.

Asif Khan, a farmer from Haripur and PKMT Steering Committee member stressed the need for self-reliance in food and agriculture production. He emphasized that unchecked industrial development, capitalist first-world countries and fossil-fuel driven corporate agriculture are responsible for environmental destruction, climate crisis and are a source of a high percentage of past and present emissions. Yet, it is small and landless farmers in third world countries, along with other marginalized groups, who disproportionately bear the brunt of climate change. Asif critiqued the inequitable nature of the world food system; despite having tenuous access and ownership rights to land and other productive resources, small farmers toil ceaselessly to produce most of the world’s food. He stressed the need for an alternate just and equitable food system as the basis for healthy, nutritious food production.

Mr. Zahoor Joya presented an outline of the scheduled activities for the campaign starting from today and continuing until October 16, 2021, culminating in programs to mark 15th and 16th October as the International Day for Rural Women, and World Food Day which PKMT and Roots for Equity mark as World Hunger Day.

Demands:

  • An end to poisonous agricultural inputs and an end to monopolistic control of TNCs in the food and agriculture sector;
  • Provision of food and agriculture laws that promote agroecological food production as a safe, viable & sustainable alternative to corporate agriculture;
  • Mobilization of peasant movements to fight for their right to self-reliance and self-determination in food production & distribution;
  • Promotion of healthy and nutritious cultural foods like local fruits and vegetables, milk, desi ghee, butter and lassi as opposed to mass-produced, processed foods devoid of nutrition
  • Repeal of detrimental neoliberal food and agriculture policies that impede farmers’ right to decent livelihood
  • Prioritize just, equitable and genuine land reforms that allow land redistribution to landless farmers (including women agriculture workers) along with control over all productive resources;
  • Farmers’ access to and control over reliable markets for agricultural and non-agricultural products
  • Small and landless farmers’ access to government credit schemes, government subsidies and social security benefits.

 Release by: Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) & Roots for Equity

بڑھتی ہوئی صنعتی زراعت اور زرعی زمینوں پر قبضہ: کسانوں کا لائحہ عمل

پریس ریلز

پاکستان کسان مزدور تحریک (پی کے ایم ٹی) ضلع شکارپور کا دوسرا ضلعی اجلاس بعنوان”صنعتی زراعت اور زرعی زمینوں پر قبضہ“ مورخہ20جون2021کومنعقدکیا گیا۔ جس میں ضلع بھرکے چھوٹے اور بے زمین کسان مزدوروں کی جانب سے شرکت کی گئی۔ اجلاس کی شروعات پی کے ایم ٹی کے ترانے سے کی گئی۔

0پی کے ایم ٹی کے رکن علی گل نے سرمایہ دارانہ زراعت کے کسانوں اور مزدوروں پر اثرات کے موضوع پر بتایا کہ ”پاکستان ایک زرعی ملک ہے جس کی 70 فیصد آبادی بلواسطہ یا بلا واسطہ زراعت سے وابستہ ہے۔ ہماری دیگرکئی اور ضروریات بھی کسی نا کسی طور اس شعبے سے ہی منسلک ہیں “۔ کسان ملک بھر میں کئی طرح کی فصلیں کاشت کرتے ہیں جس کی وجہ سے آج ہم دنیا کے صف اول کے ان دس ممالک میں شامل ہیں جہاں گندم، چاول، کپاس، گنا، مکئی، سبزیاں، گوشت، اور دودھ کی پیداواربھر پور طور سے ہو رہی ہے۔ لیکن پیداوار پر زیادہ تر اختیار مٹھی بھر سرمایہ داروں اور جاگیرداروں کے ہاتھ میں ہے۔ بیج سے لے کر کھاد اور دیگر زرعی مداخل کسان منڈی سے حاصل کرنے لگے اورساتھ ہی زمین کی تیاری، فصل کی کٹائی میں تھریشرکا بھی استعمال شروع ہوا جوکہ تمام تر ایندھن سے چلتی ہیں۔ جس کے نتیجے میں کسان اپنے دیسی اور روایتی بیج سے محروم ہوئے اور بے روز گاری میں بھی اضافے کاسبب بنا۔ ان تمام عوامل کی اہم وجہ صنعتی زراعت ہے جس کے نتیجہ میں ہماری روایتی کھیتی باڑی مصنوعی زراعت میں تبدیل ہوچکی ہے۔ صنعتی زراعت کی شروعات 1960 کی دہائی میں زرعی پالیسی یاسبز انقلاب کے نام سے ہوئی۔ہمارے کسانوں کو زیادہ پیداوار کی لالچ اور سبز خواب دکھائے گئے۔ غیر ملکی بیج اور کھاد بنانے والی کمپنیوں نے زیادہ پیداوار دینے والے بیج، کھاد، زہریلی ادویات اور جدید مشینیں متعارف کروائیں۔ جس پر مکمل اختیار سرمایہ داروں کے پاس تھا۔کسان اپنے دیسی اور روایتی بیج سے محروم ہوئے بلکہ بے روز گاری میں بھی اضافہ ہوا۔ غیر معیاری بیج کے آنے سے کسان نہ صرف بیج سے محروم ہوا بلکہ اس پر استعمال ہونے والے زہریلی اودیات اور کیمیائی کھاد کی وجہ سے کسان بیماریوں میں جکڑے گئے اور ماحول کی تباہی الگ سے ہوئی۔ فصلوں کی کٹائی کا زیادہ تر کام کسان عورتیں ہی سرانجام دیتی ہیں، لہذا ان کی ایک بڑی تعداد کو ان مشکلات کاسامنا ہے۔

ایک طرف ملک کی اکثریتی زرعی زمین چند خاندانوں کے قبضے میں ہے جبکہ دوسری جانب کسان منڈی کے محتاج ہو چکے ہیں۔ آج کے دور میں بڑھتی ہوئی مہنگائی اور عوام دشمن پالیسیوں کی وجہ سے کسان و مزدور بھوک، افلاس اور فاقوں کا شکار ہیں۔ یہ طبقہ گرمی، سردی، دھوپ کی پرواہ کیے بغیر ہمارے لیے کھانا اگاتے ہیں لیکن ان کے اپنے گھروں میں دو وقت کی روٹی بھی مشکل سے پوری ہوپاتی ہے۔ان تمام مسائل کا حل بے زمین کسانوں میں زمین کا مساویانہ بٹوارہ، بیج پر کسانوں کے مالکانہ حقوق کو تسلیم کرنا اور زرعی مداحل کو کسانوں کے اختیار میں دے کرہی کیا جا سکتا ہے۔

پی کے ایم ٹی کے رہنما حاکم گل کا کہنا تھا کہ” شکارپور تاریخی طور پر تجارت کے حوالے سے مشہور رہا ہے۔ ضلع کی کل آبادی تقریباََ 12لاکھ سے زیادہ ہے۔ گزشتہ کچھ سالوں سے نہ صرف شہر بلکہ دریائی علاقوں تک ہاؤسنگ اسکیموں کے نام سے زرعی زمینوں پر قبضہ کیا جارہا ہے۔کسانوں کو اپنی زرعی زمینیں جبراََبیچنے پر مجبور کیا جارہا ہے۔ اور اس کام میں سرکاری افسران، بڑے جاگیردار اور سرمایہ دارملوث ہیں“۔ زرعی زمینوں پر اگر پیٹرول پمپ، ہاؤسنگ سوسائٹی، ہوٹل بنا دیئے جائیں گے تو آنے والے وقت میں کسان اناج کہاں اگائیں گے؟
شکارپور میں ڈاکووں اور پولیس کے آئے دن مقابلے جاری ہیں۔ کیا واقعتا ڈاکو ہیں یا اصل معاملہ شکارپور میں جنگلات کی زمین پر قبضہ کرنا ہے؟ پولیس سرچ آپریشن کے نام پر تگانی جنگل میں گاؤں کے گاؤں خالی کروارہی ہے۔ درختوں کو کاٹا جارہا ہے اور آگ لگائی جارہی ہے تاکہ ڈاکوں کو پکڑنے میں آسانی ہو۔ حکومت کو اس معاملے پر سنجیدگی کا مظاہرہ کرتے ہوئے حقیقت کو منظر عام پر لانا چاہئیے۔

پی کے ایم ٹی کے رکن شوکت علی نے بتایا کہ ”پاکستان دودھ پیدا کرنے میں دنیا میں پانچویں نمبر پر ہے۔ اوردودھ ہماری خوراک کا ایک اہم جزو ہے۔جبکہ ضلع شکارپور میں چارہ کم ملنے کی وجہ سے دودھ کی پیداوار میں مسلسل کمی ہورہی ہے۔ دوسری جانب دودھ کے شعبے میں کمپنیوں کا کردار ہے جو ٹی وی اور اخبارات میں اشتہارات کے ذریعے سے یہ باور کرنے میں جتے ہوئے ہیں کہ کھلا دودھ انسانی صحت کے لیے مضر ہے۔ جانوروں کے لیے چارہ اگانے میں کسان عورتیں پیش پیش ہیں لیکن اصلمنافع دودھ کی کمپنیاں حاصل کر رہی ہیں۔
پاکستان کسان مزدور تحریک مطالبہ کرتی ہے کہ

۔ خوراک اور زراعت کے شعبے میں کمپنیوں کے قبضے سے نجات کے ساتھ زرعی قوانین پر پابندی لاگو کی جائے جو کہ چھوٹے اور بے زمین کسانوں کو نقصان پہنچا رہی ہیں۔
۔ کسانوں کے آبائی زمین سے بے دخلی پر مکمل پابندی عائدکی جائے۔ ترقیاتی کاموں کے بہانے زمین اور وسائل پر سرمایہ کاروں اور سرمایہ داروں کے قبضے کو فروغ دینا بند کیا جائے۔ ساتھ ہی ساتھ، مقامی اور قبائلی لوگوں کے جنگلات، شاملات اور دیگر قدرتی وسائل پر مقامی حقوق کو لازم کیا جائے۔
۔ منصفانہ زمینی بٹوارے کو یقنی بنایا جائے تاکہ بے زمین کسانوں اور زرعی مزدور عورتوں کو زمین اور خوراک کی خودمختاری یقینی ہو۔
۔ ڈیری اور لائیو سٹاک کے شعبے میں مقامی اور غیر ملکی نجی سرمایہ کاری کو ختم کریں اور ان پالیسیوں پر عمل درآمد کریں جو چھوٹے لائیوسٹاک اور دودھ پیدا کرنے والوں کے حق میں ہوں۔

جاری کردہ: پاکستان کسان مزدور تحریک؛

English Press Release

MILKING US DRY: PAKISTAN’S DAIRY SECTOR IN CRISIS (#PEASANTSRISEUP) 

For more than a decade, corporates have been advancing their control over Pakistan’s livestock and dairy sector which as of 2016 data, contributes to approximately 56% of the country’s agriculture sector GDP.
Trade agencies like the AUSAID and USAID have pledged their guidance and support for various dairy development programs, breed improvement programs and livestock management programs. While multinational companies like Nestle and Engro hold the monopoly in packaged milk products and have been campaigning against fresh milk, its biggest competitor is based in the informal retail market. While 93% of the consumers still buy fresh/raw milk, the Punjab Food Authority will strictly be implementing the Milk Pasteurization Law by 2022. Under this law, the sale of raw milk will be a criminal offence. But this concern to provide consumers with pure unadulterated or tested milk seems to be geared towards benefiting dairy corporations at the expense of the informal milk sector largely in the hands of small and landless farmers (as producers) and a very wide network of milk vendors spread across the country both in rural and urban areas.
These multinationals have also been employing the rhetoric of Creating Shared Value (CSV) by training farmers, carrying out capacity building at the household and community level and claims to empower rural women, while also introducing expensive, high-tech equipment in the sector and attracting sizeable foreign and local investments. By doing so, these corporations are effectively ousting small producers out of the highly competitive market.

This episode is co-presented by PAN Asia Pacific – PANAP, Roots For Equity and Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT)

‘Only land redistribution can address peasants’ problems’

KARACHI: Representatives of farmers and agricultural workers and non-governmental organisations working for their rights at a webinar organised on Monday asked the government to provide immediate and substantial economic relief through social protection initiatives and subsidies that reach all marginalised sectors, especially women.

They also called upon the government to ensure that pandemic-related actions do not affect the lives and livelihoods of small and landless farmers.

The webinar was jointly organised by Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT), Roots for Equity and Asian Peasant Coalition in connection with International Day of the Landless.

Highlighting the plight of his community, Nabi Jan, a landless peasant from Garhi Bajaz village in Peshawar, said his community was facing acute hardships, including harassment and imprisonment, at the hand of feudal lords who were well-represented in the political leadership of Pakistan.

Tayyab-ur-Rahman, a small farmer from Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, spoke about the importance of farmers, communities asserting their customary rights over the ecologies they had nurtured and were an integral part of for many centuries.

“As part of the ‘land grab agenda’, government authorities are implementing measures that restrict local communities’ access to forest resources,” he noted.

Rehana Kausar, a woman farmer from Ghotki, demanded an end to feudalism, saying that land redistribution was the only way to address the concerns of landless peasants.

“In Sindh, feudal and patriarchal forces collude to keep land out of women’s hands and undervalue women’s agricultural labour, paying them much lower wages than men. Even in rare instances where women have land in their names, they are not allowed meaningful control over decisions regarding land use.”

The demands put forward by speakers included an end to neoliberal agricultural laws and corporate control of food and agriculture sector that disadvantages local farmers and initiatives that ensure that farmers were not displaced from indigenous land.

They also called for prioritising equitable and genuine land reforms that allow land redistribution to landless farmers, including women agriculture workers to ensure food security and food sovereignty for all farmers.

They also called for allocation of funds for the creation of a robust public healthcare system that makes quality healthcare accessible to rural populations, including free testing services for Covid-19 and quarantine and treatment facilities.

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2021

https://www.dawn.com/news/1615549/only-land-redistribution-can-address-peasants-problems

End corporate control in food and agriculture! Fight for genuine land reform and rural development to truly transform the world’s food systems!

Day of the Landless 2021, Joint Statement

Today, Day of the Landless, we – farmers and peasants, poor farmhands, agricultural workers, contract farmers, Dalits, rural women and youth, and land reform advocates across Asia – vow to further our resolve in fighting against landlessness. Landlessness breeds social injustice, hunger, and impoverishment. Landlessness is a bane to farmers and all the people of the world.

Now more than ever, we are ready to link arms to assert our right to land and genuine land reform in our respective countries and across the region. We are determined to espouse and achieve rural development to transform the world’s food systems dominated by corporate monopolies. We will work hard for a better world wherein the majority of the population is unbound from hunger and exploitation.

We are uniting under the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) to call an end to corporate control in agriculture and food systems. It is unacceptable that farmers and food producers who feed nations do not have access to land and are food insecure as a result of land and resource grabs and of global monopolies in agricultural production and trade.

The COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the world in 2020 further exposed the profit-oriented nature of global food systems as it drove millions of people into chronic hunger. By the end of 2019, at least 8.9 percent of the world’s population, or 690 million went hungry. By the start of 2020, hundreds of millions of people continue to suffer acute food insecurity as they face conflict, climate change, and economic crises of epic proportions.

As of October 2020, a staggering seven million people have died of hunger. Pandemic-related hunger also led to the deaths of 10,000 more children each month over the first year of the health crisis. Forecasts even warned about multiple famines in the coming months as the lowest-income households are most likely to face increased hunger. Strict lockdown policies and quarantines have affected all stages of food supply, resulting in a steep rise in food prices and widespread food insecurity.

Hunger and poverty of Asian peasants and sectors in agriculture are among the direct results of centuries-old landlessness. Large-scale land deals and acquisitions —  land grabs led by corporations have dispossessed and displaced farmers from the land they till. Millions of hectares of land planted with staples, grains, and other food crops, as well as indigenous lands, and public lands were land grabbed and converted into plantations, extractive mining projects, and farms devoted to export cash crops. Governments have become willing accomplices in these land grabs through public-private partnerships that take away land, water, and other natural resources from the people.

Profits keep pouring into the pockets of the few as the majority of peasants and their families endure worsening landlessness and land grabs amid a pandemic.

Farmers who assert land rights are faced with attacks either from local landlords, big corporations, and even government agencies. Peasant killings and other forms of brutalities against farmers happen on a daily basis.

In the past years, we have also witnessed the strengthening domination of corporations over the agriculture and food sector. We have seen mega-mergers and multi-billion deals between companies that have control over the seed market, agrochemicals, fertilizers, farm equipment and machineries, and the entire chain of food production. Conglomerates today have a tighter control of the world’s food production and distribution. They have made a profitable empire while trampling upon the lives and livelihoods of farming families and the rural people.

Deepening poverty ravages the world’s countryside as appropriate, indigenous, and collective knowledge and practices on agriculture are suppressed by agrochemical transnationals. Employing the most compassionate words and imageries, these monopolies violently impose their economic models over the peoples of the world for the singular purpose of maximizing profits. The toiling people of rural areas are increasingly cut off from their own countrymen as imported seeds, inputs, machines, and agricultural products deluge their local markets. At the same time, through coercion or force, peasants are increasingly “integrated” into the “global value chain” as cheap sources of raw materials and docile labor, and as captive dependent markets. As the people’s food sovereignty is continually undermined, there can be no genuine rural development.

Yet, even during the pandemic, we have seen the rising up of people’s movements to assert democratic and socio-economic rights. Mass protests and people’s strikes have swelled across countries. In Asia, the largest mobilizations we have seen in recent months are of India’s farmers, taking to the streets in hundreds of millions, to oppose and protest neoliberal agricultural laws that will make them more vulnerable to a few powerful corporations.

We are alarmed that ongoing efforts to address the rising global hunger and poverty through the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit will only end up in legitimizing and further advancing tighter imperialist control over food and agriculture. The overall direction that the preparations and discussions by those leading the UN Summit are leading towards the greater use of harmful and contentious technology like genetic engineering and digital agriculture. Solely motivated by maximum profits, these technologies are designed to consolidate and expand the presence and powers of big agribusiness in determining how the world should produce food.

In contrast, there are no meaningful discussions or even space to address the structural issues underlying hunger and poverty such as the landlessness and lack of effective control over the means of production by farmers and other rural sectors that directly produce the world’s food. Instead, the push in the UN Summit is to further expand monopoly capital and profits through greater liberalization, privatization, and deregulation that will drive hundreds of millions of farmers and rural people into more landlessness, bankruptcy, and impoverishment.

Thus, we call on the courageous peasant movements in Asia to organize and mobilize for our own people’s summit together with other marginalized and oppressed sectors that suffer the gravest hunger and poverty because of imperialist control and domination over the world’s food and agriculture. We must create our own spaces and assert our own voice in how a radical transformation of food and agricultural systems can and should take place.

We will actively support and lead the Global People’s Summit for Just, Equitable, Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems that would bring to the fore the peasant’s aspirations and struggles for land and genuine agrarian reform. For the people’s summit to truly make an impact, it must be built on an ever-growing and strengthening peasant and people’s movements on the ground fighting for systemic change that will pave the way for development that is truly for the people and truly sustainable.

Farmers and peasants can settle for nothing less than genuine land reform and rural development towards the true transformation of the world’s food systems. We recognize that the key to this transformation are solid people’s organizations and a global mass movement, the only real spring of change amid a decaying world order. #