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

Peasants, Rise Up against Land Grabs and Fascism!

Press Release | March 29, 2022

Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek along with peasant movements, food sovereignty advocates, and supporters of genuine agrarian reform around the world, mark this year’s Day of the Landless enraged by the renewed push of big corporations, the rich governments representing them, and the governments of poor countries subservient to foreign and private capital of their land grabbing in the name of development and so called climate friendly schemes in the pretext of climate change mitigation and sustainable food systems.

It is shameful that even during the Covid19 pandemic, instead of promoting and implementing policies that would promote sustainable food system, the United Nations directly supported and worked with mega business platforms and corporations to promote industrial-chemical methods of agricultural production that suit the very actors responsible for unsustainable food production directly responsible for the present climate crisis, that has even in the past few months reached alarming heights.

The major infrastructure projects such as the case of Northern Bypass, corporate farming systems including those being used in the dairy and livestock sector are responsible for eviction of small and landless farmers from their communities. Instead of promoting small farmers and landless farmers who practice traditional sustainable methods of agricultural production, our government is allowing free market forces to take over land, livestock, food production and processes as well as markets. A key example is the Pure Food Authority to take away control of the fresh milk sector from small producers and give control to huge corporations such as Nestle and Friesland Campina. Corporations like Pepsi Co are producing potatoes on more than 20,000 acres of land that is resulting in more and more agricultural workers to work on hunger wages. Digitalization of the food production system, an example being of the Pakistan Kissan Card is a dangerous element of trade liberalization that will allow further encroachment of not only agro-chemial corporations but also financial and IT corporations to control our agriculture. Critical food crops such as wheat production is being affected immensely. At the same time, increasing sugarcane production, a key biofuel crop, is also a contributor to drastic loss of livelihood for landless agricultural works pushing landless women to carry out backbreaking work in sugarcane harvesting just to access fodder for their animals.  These profit-seeking corporations are being fully facilitated by our state mechanism much of which is controlled by feudal lords.

The imperialist international financial system, especially the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has imposed grotesque conditionalities based on which the small farmers, the landless, the women and children of the working classes face crippling poverty and hunger. The extremely high cost of agricultural production is leading to pauperization of small farmers, many facing eviction and being forced to sell their already meagre landholding.

Additionally, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to deepen the contradictions between the land and resource grabbers — the monopoly capitalists, finance oligarchs, local compradors, landlords, and bureaucrats — and the farmers, farmworkers, fishers, indigenous people, rural women and youth, and other rural sectors. Covid19 pandemic has led to new levels of global poverty and hunger that primarily impact rural peoples. Aggravating this are the wars and conflicts perpetrated by the competing interests of big global powers. The war in Ukraine that is being driven by the US-Russia rivalry, for instance, is exacerbating the already very dire situation of global hunger and food insecurity. Under the worsening socio-economic conditions of billions worldwide due to structural social inequalities the ruling classes are increasingly resorting fascist and dictatorial measures to maintain their power amid massive social unrests. 

PKMT stands firm in its fight for the rights of small and landless farmers, for the entire working class. We will continue to fight for food sovereignty, strengthen our solidarity with the masses and expose and fight all forms of feudal encroachments and corporate grab, while promoting sustainable food systems based on the people’s rights to land and resources and a healthy planet.

  • Stop land grabs!
  • Stop the fascist attacks and human rights violations against rural peoples!
  • Advance just, equitable, healthy, and sustainable food systems!
  • Genuine agrarian reform now!

Release by: Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT)

DOTL 2022_Urdu Press Release  

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

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.


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

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

‘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

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. #


Press Release ;29 March – Day of the Landless

March 29, 2021

Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) and Roots for Equity joined hands with the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) to mark March 29, 2021 as the Day of the Landless. In this regard, a webinar was held to highlight the urgent need for genuine agrarian reform and rural development that restores farmers’ rights over land and other critical productive resources through implementing genuine land reforms as well as by putting an end to the stronghold of monopolistic agrochemical transnational corporations over global food production and distribution systems.

Kasim Tirmizey spoke on the peasant struggles in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkwa in the colonial period. He emphasized that British colonialism deliberately created landlessness in the Indian sub-continent through social, historical and political processes. The British used land ownership as a reward system, awarding land to those tribes and castes who were loyal and supportive of the British imperialist agenda in the subcontinent. He elaborated on the various peasant movements and struggles, including the Punjab Kisan Saba that had resisted colonial control over land, and the vicious wrath of the British punishing those who resisted not only colonial land ownership but new forms of social contract created between the landlords and tenants. No doubt, extending private property ownership and formalizing land tenure resulted in overwhelming power and prestige to their pawns, the British are responsible for creating the exploitative tenant-landlord relationships that are characteristic of present day feudalism in the subcontinent. Kasim ended by emphasizing the critical need for strong peasant movements to overcome the exploitative forces of today. That is the lesson that is to be learnt from the past peasant movements of our ancestors from this soil! Continue reading

زمین سے محروم کسانوں کا نعرہ: زمین کا منصفانہ اور مساویانہ ہو بٹوارہ

  بے زمینوں کا عالمی دن

 پریس ریلیز

March 29, 2021

پاکستان کسان مزدور تحریک (پی کے ایم ٹی) اور روٹس فار ایکوٹی نے ایشین پیزنٹ کولیشن (اے پی سی) کے اشتراک سے 29 مارچ، 2021 کو بے زمینوں کا دن منایا۔ اس حوالے سے ایک وبینار کا اہتمام کیا گیا جس میں کسانوں کا زمین اور دیگر اہم پیداواری وسائل پر حق کو منوانے کے لیے زرعی کیمیائی بین الاقوامی کمپنیوں کی اجارہ داری کے خاتمہ کے ذریعہ خوارک کے عالمی پیداوار اور تقسیم کے نظام میں فوری زرعی اصلاحات اور دیہی ترقی کی شدید اہمیت کو باور کرایا گیا۔

قاسم ترمذی نے نوآبادیاتی دور میں پنجاب اور خیبرپختونخوا میں کسانوں کی جدوجہد پر بات کی۔ انہوں نے اس بات پر زور دیا کہ برطانوی سامراج نے برصغیر میں جان بوجھ کر سماجی، تاریخی اور سیاسی عمل کے ذریعہ بے زمینی پیدا کی۔ برطانوی سامراج نے زمینی ملکیت کو انعام کے نظام کے طور پر استعمال کیا۔ ان قبیلوں اور ذاتوں کو زمین دی گئیں جو برصغیر میں انگریز کے سامراجی ایجنڈے کے لیے مددگار ثابت ہوئے۔ انہوں نے کسانوں کی مختلف تحریکوں اور جدوجہد کے بارے میں تفصیل سے بتایا، جن میں پنجاب کسان سبھا بھی شامل ہے، جس نے زمین پر نوآبادیاتی قبضہ کے خلاف مزاہمت کی اور انگریزوں کے خوفناک ظلم کا شکار ہوئے۔ اس ظلم کا شکار نہ صرف وہ ہوئے جو نوآبادیاتی قبضہ کے خلاف مزاہمت کررہے تھے بلکہ وہ بھی جو جاگیرداروں اور کسانوں کے بیچ نئے سماجی رشتے کے خلاف جدوجہد میں مصروف تھے۔ اس میں کوئی شک نہیں کہ نجی ملکیت میں توسیع اور کسانوں اور جاگیردار کے مابین رشتہ کو باضابطہ بنانے کے نتیجہ میں انگریز سامراج کے حواریوں کو زبردست طاقت اور عزت ملی۔ برطانوی سامراج نے کسان اور جاگیردار کے مابین مزارعہ/ ہاری اور جاگیردار کا استحصالی رشتہ پیدا کیا جو برصغیر میں موجودہ جاگیرداری اس کی ایک شکل ہے۔ آخر میں انہوں نے زور دیا کہ آج کی استحصالی قوتوں پر قابو پانے کے لیے کسانوں کی پر زور تحریک وقت کی اہم ترین ضرورت ہے۔ ماضی کی کسان تحریکیں ہمارے باپ دادا کے دور سے ملا ہوا ایک سبق ہے۔ Continue reading

Boosting Performing Art Skills of Theatre Artistes working on Social Change

The PUKAR theatre group performing at a local village after the training on Interactive Theatre for Influencing in 2019.

Imam Uddin Soomro is an active member of the Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT), an alliance of small-scale and landless farmers including women farmers. Imam collects data on crops and conducts awareness sessions for farmers on sustainable agriculture, green revolution and globalization. As a member of a local theatre group named, PUKAR, since 2018, Imam also performs as an interactive theatre artiste in rural villages, organises learning events and writes articles on agriculture and farmers’ rights in local languages.

The PKMT was formed in 2008 as a result of a series of discussions among powerless farmers and social and political activists who felt that an organised platform to voice their demands was essential for small-scale farmers facing social and economic constraints.

“We perform plays that enable us to interact with different communities. The theatre plays address issues that are part of the PKMT struggle, including feudalism and the impact of corporate agriculture. As a theater performer, I was selected as a participant in a training tilted, Interactive Theater for Influencing, in July 2019. The training provided technical knowledge and capacity building opportunities on skills required to influence communities to bring about progress in the society. Our skills of script-writing, communications and character-building were further enhanced in the seven-day residential training.” said Imam.

All seven members of the PUKAR theater group participated in the training which gave them networking and experience- sharing opportunities with other like-minded participants. The session on ‘team building’ and ‘inhibition breaking’ helped participants self-assess themselves and understand their pivotal and influential position in society. Participants learnt about stage directions, allowing the audience to grasp every performers’ act and the message they are conveying through their role plays.

“We met with other theater groups from Peshawar, Sindh and Islamabad. All the groups had different interactive skills to perform as we all engage with different kinds of audiences. The members of other groups shared the issues they highlighted through their plays and how they passed on the resolutions,” shared Imam.

On the last day of the training, participants developed action plans to further implement the learning and skills learnt during the training.

“Initially, we would randomly select issues and base our plays on those issues. After the training, we altered our strategy. We now plan a meeting to identify the common issues that are prevalent in the communities through meetings with community members and develop a script for the play accordingly to work together to rectify the challenges people are facing. CWSA has extended support in reviewing the scripts which we plan to avail,” expressed Imam.

A group exercise that engaged the training participants in planning a theater play with other members of the group allowed collaborative learning and practical experience-sharing through coordination among the members. Imam narrated,

“When we acted with other theater performers, we learnt to show strong facial expressions as that also largely impacts the deliverance of the message and not just the dialogues. This joint exercise helped in modifying our acting and delivery gestures in order to have an even stronger impact in the communities we perform.”

Boosting Performing Art Skills of Theatre Artistes working on Social Change