Amidst protest from the opposition and a section of farmer’s organizations, the Monsoon Session of the Lok Sabha passed three agriculture sector bills which will replace the existing ordinances. The bills have led to intensifying protests by farmers in states like Punjab, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh despite COVID-19. Recently, three bills were introduced in the Punjab legislative assembly to negate the Centre’s agriculture laws provide for imprisonment of not less than three years and fine for the sale-purchase of wheat or paddy under a farming agreement below the Minimum Support Price.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) had launched a massive solar-pump programme called PM-KUSUM in February this year. This scheme, though well-intended, has numerous drawbacks and is in need of reforms for it to be successful in the long run.
PepsiCo, a multi-million dollar conglomerate, has sued Gujarati farmers asking them to pay ₹1.05 crore each for alleged violation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
The company claimed that farmers violated its patent rights by cultivating the potato variety used in its chips product named Lays.
However, after facing boycott calls by potato farmers and the government’s pressure, PepsiCo has offered to withdraw the case if the farmers stop growing the registered potato variety used in its Lays chips.
This issue highlights the importance of seed sovereignty and the role played by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001 in protecting the rights of the farmers and prevent seed monopoly.
This article explains the following in an analytical manner with a mindmap for quick revision:
- What is the issue?
- What is PepsiCo’s perspective?
- What is the farmers’ perspective?
- What is contract farming?
- What is seed sovereignty?
- What are the salient features of Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001?
- Why is the PPV&FR Act significant?
- What is the way forward?
The Interim Budget 2019-20 placed a strong focus on the rural and farm sectors by introducing Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN), guaranteeing direct income support to farmers. This development has renewed the debate on the idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI).
Recently, various state governments have announced farm loan waiver worth Rs. 850 million. This can negatively impact banks’ credit offtake (commercial loans) and cause further stress and amount to another agrarian crisis.
Recently, farmers from various regions of the country marched to Delhi to register their protest against the government’s neglect of farmers’ demands. Poor earnings of the farmers led to the never-ending distress in the agricultural sector and this resulted in the increasing number of farmer suicides. These worrying realities call for an appropriate policy response and sustainable alternatives to the current agricultural methods.