Kerala Minister for Agriculture Mullakkara Ratnakaran has said that the Government would not budge on its demand for a national ban on endosulfan.
The State Government reiterates once again, in the context of endosulfan, the need for State government to have the authority to regulate agriculture-related matters, the Minister said in a message to the pan-India Kisan Swaraj Yatra which entered Kerala on Saturday.
Welcoming the yatra, Mr. Ratnakaran noted that Agriculture was a State subject under the Indian Constitution and hence the authority should rest with the State government. “We will oppose all technologies that are anti-farmer and anti-nature.”
He also announced that he would be joining the Yatra when it ends at Rajghat in Delhi on December 11, after travelling through 20 States on a bus. “All the issues raised by the Yatra are issues of concern of the State government also.”
The Yatra, which started from Sabarmati in Gujarat on October 2, is touring Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Wayanad for three days. During these days, it will interact with farmers organisations, politicians, teachers, students and other sections of the society. Farm visits and cultural programmes are also being held during the yatra. Non-governmental organisations Thanal, Haritha Sena, Jaiva Karshaka Samithi, Save Farmers Campaign and FERNS are hosting the programmes in Kerala, along with various local environmental and farmers organisations.
The Kisan Swaraj Yatra is being coordinated by the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture, a loose network of organisations and individuals who believe that the way forward for Indian agriculture and farmers is that of sustainable agriculture, that will conserve and improve farmers’ livelihoods and resources, even as it addresses consumer needs.
Sridhar Radhakrishnan of Thanal said that Kerala leads the country right now in terms of being the first State to declare itself GM-free and have an organic farming policy that aims to convert the entire state to organic farming in a few years’ time.
Kavitha Kuruganti of Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture said it was shocking that the government continues to initiate programmes like the “Green Revolution in Eastern India” when it is very evident that the earlier Green Revolution model is what had pushed farmers into the deep agrarian crisis.It is also unconscionable that despite two lakh farmers having committed suicides, the government is not ready to address the issue in fundamental ways, including assessing the role of unsustainable technologies in creating and exacerbating the crisis.