NEW DELHI, India
Ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to India on Feb. 24-25, the Indian farmers’ association in a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday showed displeasure over a proposed India-U.S. trade agreement, and threatened burn effigies of Modi and Trump.
The Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh (National Farmer Association), an umbrella body of 185 farmers’ organisations across the country, on Friday had also sent a memorandum, signed by 200 farmer associations in the country — including one from Kashmir — to Modi explaining negative effects of an agreement on farmers and has also threatened to observe a “black day”.
“We [the association] have come to know that during his [Trump’s] trip, [an] India-U.S. trade agreement can be signed under which the import of agriculture, milk and poultry products worth 42,000 crore rupees ($58 billion) will take place every year in India from the U.S.,” the letter said, adding: “If any such agreement is signed and products are imported from the U.S. to India at low import duty, then the Indian farmers will be completely ruined.”
Also, “the Indian farmers are living in a negative subsidy because they do not get the production cost of their crops,” said Abhimanyu Kohar, the national coordinator and spokesperson of the association, at the protest staged in Delhi today.
In the 2014 agriculture bill, the U.S. had given a subsidy of $956 billion to its farmers for the next ten years, and again announced a subsidy of $867 billion in the 2019 agricultural bill. The annual budget of India for agriculture, rural development, and irrigation this year are just $40 billion, the letter also said.
“The central government claims to double the income of farmers by 2022, while there is an attempt to sign such an anti-farmer trade agreement that threatens to double farmers’ suicide instead of income by 2022,” added Kohar.