A one day national-level programme on Small Holder Agriculture  was organised on 1st March 2013 in Manthan School in Jhiri village (Jhalawar dist.), Rajasthan. The event saw the participation of 21 groups from 10 states. Comrade Anand Mishra, Comrade Nand Kashyap and Bijay Panda of Bharat Jan Andolanwere invited as resource persons to contribute to the discussions.

Learnings from consultations organised by SRUTI in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Uttarakhand were shared.

The agricultural crisis and reasons for this prevailing condition such as increased marketization, lack of basic infrastructural support in terms of inputs and irrigation, deforestation, proliferation of hybrid seeds, inclement weather and burden of loans were discussed in detail. Lack of sufficient investment by the State combined with flawed policies that encourage monocropping, cash crops, biogas cultivation, etc. at the cost of traditional farming knowledge have created irreversible damage to the country’s broadest economic sector.

‘What is the purpose of agriculture? What do we want from agriculture? When these questions are not answered, the govt. can go ahead and decide policies and subsidies without consulting those most affected by these very policies and subsidies. Survival concerns all of agriculture, not just the small or big farmer.’ said Com. Anand Mishra who felt that an alternative to counter govt. action is the need of the hour. Food security and diversity have suffered significantly under the measures of the past two decades.

It was felt that a reassessment of the real value of agricultural output is required to wrest control from the middleman and transform agriculture into a rewarding occupation for the next generation. ‘Influential decisions by the IMF and World Bank back in the 90s have caused structural changes in the sector. Figures of landless and farmers must be put forward to convey the gravity of the situation’ stated Amit of Adharshila Learning Centre, MP. It was felt that a centralized system to bring all experiences and findings to a common front would be of great help to all collectives working on the issue.

The status of agriculture in different states, factors responsible for the situation and ways to bring about desired changes were discussed state-wise, moderated by Bijay Panda.