Where have all the small farmers gone?: the story of agriculture and Indian farmers
Focus on the Global South, with the support of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS), has started a collaborative programme to bring out educational materials and other publications focusing on the small and marginal farmers. These will highlight their concerns, and attempt to grasp the various governance issues that have made their survival precarious. The publications will also feature the different aspects of the present neoliberal model of agrarian reforms in India, exploring how it impacts the viability of small-scale agriculture. Given the impending threats in Indian agriculture in the form of corporatization of agriculture, genetically engineered crops, patenting of seeds, land grabbing, privatization of irrigation water, FDI in retail, climate change and so on, the central aim of these materials is to highlight the importance of self-reliance in farming: how are farmers to retain their self-respect and remain their own masters, living by the life-values implicit in Indian agriculture, rather than as slaves in a capital-intensive agriculture? Also make special efforts to highlight the alternative technologies and mechanisms based on sustainable and agro-ecological principles that can make these small farms not only viable and self-reliant but also profitable economic units. There is an urgent need to instill confidence among the small and marginal farmers that small farms can be viable and sustain their livelihood. It is also important to debunk, for the benefit of small and marginal farmers, the myth that only big farms are viable. This booklet on 'Where have all the Small Farmers Gone' is first in the series, and it traces the broad history of the rich agriculture system in India which was ruined by the British colonial policies.