Kisan Swaraj Sammelan - 2018
We invite you to join the 4th Kisan Swaraj Sammelan being organized by ASHA-Kisan Swaraj network along with Gujarat Vidyapith, in Ahmedabad on November 2, 3 & 4th, 2018. The event is being hosted by Jatan, Baroda. This is a confluence of organizations and individuals who are part of the broad ASHA-Kisan Swaraj family, as well as friends and allies from like-minded organizations and alliances.
ASHA (Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture) has been organizing periodic Kisan Swaraj Sammelans to create an occasion for strengthening our understanding of the highly complex challenges before us in relation to Indian farm livelihoods and food systems, and for rejuvenating our common bonds so that even as we work independently on many fronts, there is a synergy in thought and action. These are also confluences that bring in new people, thoughts, analyses, energies and plans, to collectively move forward towards improving farm livelihoods in India.
On the one side, we are witness to the continuing agrarian distress in India that has now become part of the public debate to an extent, for a variety of reasons including the fact that farmers’ movements are intensifying their struggles around the country at least on one front – farm economics. Climate Change, increasing feminization, increasing tenancy or sharecropping in our agriculture, mighty forces working to take away land, seed and government support systems from small farmers and pave the way for corporate- controlled, chemical, mechanized agriculture etc., are a reality. Consolidation of big agri-business corporations through mergers and acquisitions is paving way for greater monopolies and limited choices for our farmers while liberal trade is debilitating the farming sector, getting our farmers to compete with subsidized farming elsewhere. Our food systems have been affected in numerous ways, leading to different chronic health problems. The problems of our farmers have become the problems of our consumers too!
On the other hand, we see a greater resolve and alliance-building among various farm movements, pushing back against anti-farmer measures and stronger momentum for ecologically sustainable agriculture resisting the Green revolution paradigm and corporatization. Public pressure is building on the governments to address farmer suicides and the social, ecological and economic crisis in agriculture. Ecological agriculture is receiving greater support while hazardous technologies like pesticides and GMOs are being resisted strongly. Improvements in policy perspectives and articulations around the rights of women farmers is apparent. The issue of large scale leasing in of land for agriculture is definitely in the policy discourse. When it comes to adivasi agriculture, there is an expanding appreciation of the sustainability and communitarian ethos that underpins their farming and forest based livelihoods and food systems. Land grabbing is being successfully resisted by many local communities, even as dilution of laws is being fought. The struggle against free trade agreements has gathered greater momentum. Farmers’ agitations have been successful in getting their demand around remunerative prices and minimum incomes brought into the national debate and in getting governments to concede at least partially to the demand for higher prices for agri-commodities. Consumers are appreciating the importance of sustainable, diverse, nutritious and safe food systems and are making changes to support farmers who are willing to produce and provide the right kind of food.
It is in this context that we invite you to join the 3-day Kisan Swaraj Sammelan.
Objectives: The Sammelan is aimed to facilitate exchange of knowledge, perspectives and information about various policy developments impacting farmers, through interactions with chosen resource persons for each theme; Similarly, exchange of knowledge and skills including through practical demonstrations and “agri-clinics with expert farmers” about various ecological agriculture practices, tools and inputs. Interaction amongst participants will help in re-connecting, mutual re-energizing and sharing information about ongoing work. The Sammelan will also build solidarity with like-minded networks and various campaigns that ASHA has been involved in. An opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences, struggles and strategies is created through the Sammelan, in addition to generating public awareness through a Seed Festival, Exhibition, public lectures and panel discussions organized during the Convention.
Format: The Sammelan will have plenaries and parallel sessions to meet its objectives, in addition to a Bio-Diverstiy Festival, Food Festival, Exhibition and Practical Demonstrations on relevant themes, Public Lectures and cultural programmes. Parallel sessions will provide a rich opportunity for learning and sharing.
Requested Donation: We would like to make this event self-supported. ASHA does not rely on government funds, project funds of foreign or Indian origin, corporate CSR and any sponsorship. All participants are therefore requested to donate as much as they can in this mission. Given that you are registering for the Sammelan after the initially announced time window and a subsequent extension till October 10th had closed, we request that women farmers donate Rs.800, male farmers and students Rs. 1200/-, NGO and other representatives Rs. 2000/- and urban salaried citizens Rs. 3000/- per person so that this will cover costs related to accommodation, organic meals and all other logistics of the sammelan partially. We will be following up to collect requisite information for registration for the Sammelan in a follow up email that you will receive.