La Via Campesina aims at making farmer self-reliant

A two-day international meet of ryots begins in city

Throwing light: Peter Rosset, an expert on ‘agroecology ‘ addresses the audience at two-day La Via Campesina seminar in Mysore on Sunday.  DH PHOTO

The international farmers’ movement, La Via Campesina, aims at joining social movements and other civil society organisations in condemning the ineptitude of governments across countries -- across the table -- at resolving the current financial, food, environmental and social crises.

Addressing the gathering here on Sunday, Peter Rosset, a global alternatives associate at Center for the Study of the Americas, minced no words when he said ‘agroecology’ was a way of fighting capitalists. “Only small holders and peasants have the will power to bring about such changes and and take up rescue measures.

Big countries and rich ones are busy mooting their own agenda,” he said during his presentation on agroeconomy.   

In an elaborate presentation that laid out the salient features and goals of agroeconomy which has been the lifeline of people since centuries, Rosset said the farming method had many names, such as organic farming, or zero budget farming -- but meant to achieve a single goal at the end of it.

“The main objective is to encourage the growth of microrganisms inside the soil which help sprouting of seeds and replenish the fertility of the soil without ruining its characteristics,” he said adding the motive is to ‘close ranks with the enemy, and not end up fighting among ourselves over which method is better.’

Another speaker renowned farmer Subhash Palekar, who has carved a niche for himself by spearheading the cause of natural farming, mooted ‘zero budget farming’ which would help farmers reap greater benefits on par with the hybrid ones, and all without turning the soil bankrupt of its fertility value.

Zero budget farming

Completely dismissing the organic method of farming, which had turned way too costly, Palekar said Zero Budget Farming (ZBF) was something that was certainly beneficial to the farmers.

“It is a waste of time and resources to hope that the governments would do something for our benefit. By now, we know nobody is interested in us, and why would they be? It is time we took decisions on our own, experimented on our own, shared resources on our own and brought about changes that would make for a better world,” he added.

President of KRRS K S Puttannaiah who addressed the farmers after Palekar, said ZBF should be taught to one of two participants in each of 5595 Gram Panchayats in the state, and implemented eventually.

Farmer leader Chukki Nanjundaswamy addressed the participants at the inaugural session. Speaking on the occasion, she said the aim of La Via Campesina was to help farmers across the globe achieve self-reliance.

Many participating farmers from foreign countries have been visiting fields around Mysore district to exchange ideas and share learnings from both their countries.

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