Farmers raise slogans against PM Modi and Badal in Punjab

Farmers in Punjab raise slogans against PM Modi and Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal while airing their grievances.

India Today Manjeet Sehgal   |   Chandigarh, November 27,

In a major embarrassment to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, hundreds of agitating farmers on Thursday showed black flags to him and interrupted his Janta Darbar at Bharowal village.

Badal was left red faced when more than 100 farmers under the banner of Kissan Sangharsh Committee entered the venue and shouted slogans against him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Senior Congress leaders today asked the Akalis to seek Chief Minister Badal’s resignation before raising a finger against Capt Amarinder, suggesting a poll to check how people of Punjab felt.Agitating farmers criticised Badal for not addressing their issues and having failed to check instances of sacrilege. The police whisked the farmers away after the chief minister left the venue.

“Let us go for a public referendum and see who do people of Punjab consider to be the most corrupt, Capt Amarinder or the Badals,” they challenged the Akali leaders, while pointing out how Badal from being an ordinary farmer had accumulated wealth worth billions of rupees which was totally unaccounted and disproportionate to his income.

In a joint statement senior party leaders and legislators Sukhjinder Randhawa, Rana Gurjeet Singh, Kewal Singh Dhillon, Rana KP Singh and Sukh Sarkaria while reacting to the Akali statement said that it had already been disposed off by the Punjab and Haryana High Court long before and the Akali government had not the guts to challenge it in the Supreme Court.

“If your government was so confident about the case why it did not challenge the HC verdict in the Supreme Court,” they asked.

The Congress leaders said, “Akalis were feeling frustrated over their declining popularity graph against the rising mass support for Congress and Capt Amarinder. Instead of asking Capt Amarinder to quit, they should better advise their leader Parkash Singh Badal to retire, as that would be in the interest of Punjab.”

 Farmers express ire over government’s attitude

They were told to sell their produce to the sugar factory in Kamareddy for low minimum support price

The sugarcane farmers in Karimnagar district are upset with the State government’s decision to divert the sugarcane which was produced under the Nizam Deccan Sugars Limited at Muthyampet in Mallapur mandal to Gayathri Sugar factory in Kamareddy with the MSP of only Rs. 2,600 per tonne, including transportation charges.

Sugarcane farmers here were already worried due to less cultivation of the cane and no subsidy on seed.

They had demanded that the government to provide MSP of Rs. 3,500 per tonne and transportation for shifting the produce to sugar factories in other districts.

Alluru Mahender Reddy, a farmer from Muthyampet village, said that the sugarcane cultivation was had come down from over 10,000 acres to only 1,500 acres in the district due to non-availability of irrigation sources and support from the government to encourage the crop by providing seed on subsidy. Now, the low MSP to sugarcane also become a burden for the farmers to go for cultivation of sugarcane and opting for other crops, he added.

No crushing process

At NDSL-Muthyampet, the sugarcane was crushed for four months period at the rate of 2,500 tonnes per day. However, there has been no crushing process at the plant due to unavailability of stocks. If the plant was readied for operation, it would take another 20 days for functioning. During this period, the crop would be dried.

Hence, the farmers were asked to take their crop to other sugar factory.

Meanwhile, the local farmers have to yet take a decision on the shifting of their produce to Kamareddy for crushing as the government decision was announced only on Thursday.

Majority of the farmers feel that there was no other go and they have to dispose off their produce at Kamareddy with less MSP.
Japan’s farmers dropping sharply in numbers

The number of Japanese people working in the farming industry dropped 19.8 per cent over five years to 2.09 million in 2015, the government said Friday according to dpa.
The fall was due to people quitting farming as they grow older, the Agriculture Ministry said. The average age of those in the sector was 66.3 in 2015, compared with 65.8 in 2010, it said.
In the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, the region hit hardest by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the number of active farmers went down 25.4 per cent over five years to 201,382 in 2015.
In Fukushima prefecture alone, the farming population dropped 29 per cent to 77,435 this year from 109,048 in 2010.
About 100,000 residents in the prefecture have been unable to return home in the areas near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station due to radiation contamination. The plant suffered a triple meltdown after it was hit by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Swiss farmers march against austerity

More than 10,000 farmers marched through the streets of Bern on Friday to protest against government austerity measures.

They came from all over Switzerland and, while the atmosphere was good, their anger was real with calls for fairer prices for their produce and the scrapping of proposals for a major reduction in the agricultural budget.

According to the Swiss Farmers Union, the incomes of farming families are far lower than in comparable industries with this year accounting for a decrease of 11 percent on average. In some cases, prices are at an all time low and no longer cover costs.

Farmers, ranchers protest new farm safety rules at Alberta legislature

About 150 farmers and ranchers rallied at the Alberta Legislature against Bill 6, which would introduce Health and Safety measures on farms.

Dozens of Alberta farmers, their families and even a few animals showed up at the steps of the provincial legislature Friday to rally against the NDP government’s proposed farm safety legislation.

Chanting “Stop Bill 6,” and holding signs, up to 200 protesters — with two miniature horses and a turkey along for the ride — demanded the government halt legislation that would bring the province’s 43,000 farms and ranches under occupational health and safety standards.

Rally organizer Sara Wheale, 20, grew up on a farm near Breton, southwest of Edmonton, and is now raising her own purebred Hereford cattle. The government is trying to “pull the wool over our eyes and not paint us a clear picture as to what they’re doing with this bill,” she said.

She noted that she and many other farmers at the rally weren’t able to attend the nine limited-capacity consultation meetings the government organized.

Labour Minister Lori Sigurdson and Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee ventured into the crowd, and received an earful from protesters, who said the government didn’t do enough to solicit feedback before introducing the bill.

Sigurdson said later in a written statement the bill achieves “two simple things”: It would allow farm employees to refuse dangerous work and would provide compensation for workplace injuries or deaths.

Other regulations will only be drafted after consultations are completed, she said.

“Statutory protection of farm and ranch employees and the preservation of family farm traditions are complementary goals of Bill 6,” she said.

Many who attended Friday’s rally said the impending legislation could fundamentally change how small-scale family farms operate because they’re lumped in with corporate producers under the bill.

Alberta is the only province without employment standards coverage for farm and ranch workers, but protesters noted other provinces have made exemptions for family farms.

The government is proposing to add occupational health and safety regulations to the province’s farms and ranches, which would give officials the authority to investigate farm deaths and accidents.

The bill would also make Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board coverage mandatory for farm workers as of Jan. 1 and would subject the agricultural sector to labour standards, such as vacation pay and minimum wage.

Naomi McKinney, who has a fifth-generation family farm near Ponoka, said she is concerned the bill takes away choice.

“We would like to be able to choose what kind of insurance we want, rather than being forced to go with WCB,” she said.

Provisions around the kind of work children can do would infringe on her ability to teach her son, Quaid, the skills needed to become a successful farmer, she added.

Quaid, 10, said he enjoys earning a paycheque by raising his own calf.

“I like being able to contribute and help and being able to know that I did something,” he said.

He is learning about feeding, branding and vaccinations and his father and grandfather are teaching him to drive a tractor, he added.

Athena Dyck, who brought her pet turkey Buddy to the rally, said she wants to ensure the bill won’t prevent her from teaching her four children skills on the farm.

“I’m worried about the future of our farm kids,” she said.