Young farmers and social workers in Seoni district of Madhya Pradesh have launched an online campaign called ‘Kisan Satyagrah’ demanding their produce be bought above the minimum support price and make an attempt to educate the urban population about agriculture.
“Issues plaguing farmers shouldn’t be just about them,” said Navendu Mishra, 37, a social worker. “Although young farmers are not vocal about their problems, they are equipped with mobile phones and the internet. Whereas, the urban population has a voice. By connecting the two, their demands can be amplified.”
The campaign kicked off with the demand that kharif maize in Seoni and Chhindwara districts be bought above the MSP of ₹1,760 per quintal set by the Centre. Reduced demand for poultry owing to the pandemic, but more significantly imports from Ukraine, Myanmar and Russia, have crashed prices locally.
While prices hovered around ₹1,900-₹2,100 per quintal in December in local mandis, they fell to ₹900-₹1,000 starting May, said Sateesh Rai, a farmer in Seoni where maize was grown in 4,35,000 acre. “We suffered a loss of ₹200-₹300 per quintal on the input cost, and ₹800-₹900 per quintal on the MSP,” he said.
Farmers and supporters from cities are sharing their videos and photographs while holding placards on the platform’s handles on Facebook and Twitter. Many Facebook users have attached the campaign’s logo along with their display pictures to support the cause. On June 11, nearly 1,000 persons heeded the call for a day-long hunger strike.
The campaign demands a commodity should not be imported if enough is grown domestically. Second, the MSP should be declared for all commodities grown.