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>From Norfolk Genetic Information Network (ngin),
Forwarded by Genetic Food Alert ....18 Maech 2002
THEIR LAND - FARMERS COME TO
2. BBC interview with P V Satheesh -
1. For Immediate Release
LAND - FARMERS COME TO
Press conference: Monday, March 18th, , Attlee Suite, Portcullis
House, Houses of Parliament
The UK Government is poised to spend £65 million to underwrite a
development scheme that will throw twenty million Indian farmers off
their land over the next twenty years. The scheme - called Vision 2020 -
focuses on agricultural 'development' in Andhra Pradesh and involves the
restructuring of farming to favour large industrial-scale agriculture,
increased mechanisation and GM crops. Representatives of a local
"citizens jury" from Andhra Pradesh will today visit the British
Parliament to call for a halt to funding of the scheme and present MPs
with further evidence of the draconian plan.
Vision 2020 is put together by the Andhra Pradesh State Government and
the management consultancy McKinsey and Company. Both the World Bank
earmarked funds to support the scheme which will transform all areas of
social and economic life. The scheme would ensure that 30% of the
current population (a minimum of 20 million people) would be displaced
from their land.
The citizens jury, organised by two leading
partnership with Indian development charities, includes
poorest farmers. After considering evidence from 12 specialist
witnesses, including representatives of the GM industry and pro GM
academics, the citizen's jury unanimously opposed Vision 2020's strategy
of removing 20 million farmers from the land.
PV Satheesh, Director of the
"Vision 2020 is an aid package for big farmers and corporations. We've
reached a fork in the road for farming around the world
Government is about to send the people of Andhra Pradesh down the wrong
track. Vision 2020 means huge farms, pesticides, mass mechanisation and
GM crops but offers nothing but a loss of homes and livelihoods to most
of the people who actually live and farm in this region."
A wide coalition of
have come together with the Indian farmers in their call for support for
their sustainable agriculture and an end to
They include Christian Aid, ITDG, The Small and Family Farm Alliance,
Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace.
Full report: www.iied.org
For further information, please contact:
Christian Aid - Mark Curtis, +44 (0)207 523-2170
ITDG - Andrew Scott +44 (0)192 663-4400
Friends of the Earth - Tony Juniper +44 (0)207 490-0336
Greenpeace - Charlie Kronick +44 (0)207 865-8228, mobile +44 (0)7801
International Institute for Environment and Development - Michel
Pimbert, phone +44 (0)207 3882117 ? report co-author
2. BBC Radio 4 Today Programme,
Interview of P V Satheesh by James Naughtie
JN: The first UN conference on financing development is starting in
'good or bad'? But here's an example of something interesting going on.
In one region of the world a sustainable farming group is actually
rejecting a British aid project that is worth about sixty-five million
pounds. It is going to lobby today to press the point.
P V Satheesh is a farmer and Director of the Deccan Development Society
in Andhra Pradesh, and he joins us now from
would be better for you not to get the money?
PVS: Normally, every aid [project] is supposed to be in the interests
of the poor. But if an aid goes directly against the poor then it is
better that the aid doesn't come at all.
JN: How would this work against the poor in Andhra Pradesh?
PVS: There's an agricultural policy called Vision 2020 in Andhra
Pradesh. And DFID is funding the Andhra Pradesh Government to the tune
of one hundred million pounds this year. Vision 2020 envisages three
things: number one is the consolidation of land-holdings, two is getting
in corporate agriculture, third is orientating agriculture to export.
Each one of them will make small and marginal farmers lose complete
control over their land and processes. And they will be absolute
destitutes at the end of it.
JN: Is it inevitable that the way that DFID gives the aid will mean that
it is spent in that way, rather than in a way that you think will help
poor farmers in the region?
PVS: Absolutely not. Aid agencies could be far more sensitive and listen
to the voices of the poor, which is what this process of Citizens jury
has done. It has given voices to some of the most neglected marginalised
people and they have very clearly said 'if you want to give the aid,
please give it in our terms, please give it with our consent', and if
that is heard by agencies like DFID then I think aid will work for the
better of the poor rather than for the worse.
JN: Do you think that you will have any success in persuading people
from DFID here, for example, that there is something fundamentally wrong
with the way the aid is used after it leaves the Government's bank
PVS: Absolutely. That is one of the reasons why we are here. With the
farmers directly talking to the British public and telling them that the
kind of aid that is coming here, to a government that wants to displace
something like thirty million farmers from their lands, which - if I
have to translate - is almost half the population of Britain being asked
to get out of their jobs - what impact would it have on their families,
livelihoods and communities? That's what is happening in the State of
Andhra Pradesh. And if the British public, who are the taxpayers, who
are assisting DFID to invest [in projects] outside their country get up
and say 'what are you doing with our money?', then I think agencies like
DFID have to sit up and listen, and do the correct things, rather than
doing the wrong things that they are doing now.
JN: P V Satheesh thank you very much.
Copyright © 2002-2003 Christian Ecology Link
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