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Farmers call for nationwide protests against RCEP trade deal

Farmers are demanding to keep agriculture out of the purview of RCEP deal as it will hit livelihoods of crores of farmers

AgriNation News Network (ANN)
New Delhi. 02 Nov 2019

Farmers across the country have called for nationwide protest on 4th November, the day Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations are expected to conclude, to warn the government against going ahead with inclusion of agriculture in RCEP free trade agreement as they say the reduction in import duties on agriculture and dairy sector commodities to near zero or zero will hit the livelihoods of crores of farmers. RCEP deal is likely to be signed by 16 countries.

The protests by over 250 farmers’ organizations across the country will be coordinated by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), said V M Singh, the Convenor of AIKSSC.

RCEP is also being opposed by other prominent farmer organizations like Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) and Kisan Sangharsh Committee (KSC) for the same reasons and to protect the interests and livelihoods of Indian farmers.

AIKSCC has said, Indian farmers are ill prepared to compete in the world markets due to anti farmer and pro corporate policies of the Government of India whereas, world over, governments have been heavily subsidizing crop inputs and providing quality infrastructure to their farmers in order to maintain competitive prices of their produce.

In India, input prices are heavily taxed and farmers are not given profitable prices, resulting in heavy losses and farmer debts. RCEP will aggravate this crisis immensely, it said.

AIKSCC also criticized the government for acting secretly on far reaching trade agreement and demanded that the government should make the draft of agreement public and hold consultations with farmers, farm organisations, state governments and other stakeholders before taking a final decision.