(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 10, 2011
AIKS Opposes FDI in Agriculture, Allied Sectors
THROUGH a statement issued from New Delhi on April 5, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has strongly disapproved the central government’s recent move to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) into agriculture and allied sectors including in the seed sector. In the name of boosting FDI inflows. the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion of the government of India has recently released the third consolidated FDI policy circular (Circular 1 of 2011), laying down the FDI policy effective from April 1, 2011. The multinational corporations (MNCs) which entered into India through joint ventures with Indian companies have now been allowed to make investments in the same field outside the Joint Venture unilaterally without obtaining any approval from the Indian partner. This move will ensure the tightening of the stranglehold of the MNCs over our economy at the expense of the Indian companies. The move also exposes the extent to which global agribusinesses are dictating the course of policy decisions in India.
Conditions for allowing foreign investment for production and development of seeds and planting material have been liberalised. The government has granted unjustifiable concessions to the MNCs and has allowed 100 per cent FDI in development of seeds, horticulture, planting materials and services related to agro and allied sectors where the entry route is automatic and unrestricted. Floriculture, horticulture, vegetable cultivation, mushrooms, pisciculture, aquaculture and animal husbandry including poultry and rearing of animals under intensive farming systems under controlled conditions have been fully opened up for foreign agribusinesses that are purely driven by profit motive. This is bound to seriously compromise the interests of millions of peasants engaged in dairying, poultry and other such activities for their livelihood.
The AIKS is of the opinion that the latest government’s move will lead to an accelerated dismantling of the National Seeds Corporation and the system of making quality seeds available to the peasantry at affordable rates. Indian seed manufacturers will be adversely affected and peasants would be at the mercy of the MNCs for the supply of seeds. There will be no control over seed prices or royalty and seed monopolies will be further strengthened. Dangerously, FDI has now been permitted in the development and production of seeds and planting material, without the stipulation of having to do so under “controlled conditions.” This could have serious implications and the possibility of contamination of strains in the case of open field trials as well as compromising our biodiversity cannot be altogether ruled out.
In the plantation sector also in tea plantations, 100 per cent FDI has been allowed. This could spark a wave of takeovers of small plantations and the possibility of future land use change to indulge in real estate speculative activities is also open. The lives of millions of small players and plantation workers (a large number of them tribals) will also be put into peril. States like Kerala, Tamilnadu, Bengal, Assam, Tripura and other north eastern states will be adversely affected by this move.
In this light, the AIKS has strongly opposed the unjustified concessions given to MNCs in the field of agriculture and animal husbandry, and has demanded that they be withdrawn forthwith. We appeal to the peasantry and all sections of society to rise up in protest to oppose these measures and force the government to withdraw this decision.