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Friday, April 9, 2010

SICCFM representation to Environment minister Jairam Ramesh.

South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers’ Movements
636, Ideal Homes Township,
Raja Rajeswari Nagar, Bangalore -5600098. Karnataka.
Telephone +91 80 286042250

                                                                                                                                        6th Feb,2010.
Mr.Jairam Ramesh,
Honourable Union Minister for Environment and Forest,
Government of India.


SICCFM -Memorandum on BT Brinjal .

South Indian coordination committee of Farmers’ Movements (SICCFM) is a coalition of Farmers movements in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu working for development of agriculture, food sovereignty and rural development.
Now that only a few days are left for you to make a decision on the first GM crop Bt Brinja’ls fate in this country, we want to convey to you that the farmers of South India strongly reject it! We stand besides our states who have already taken the progressive stand to reject it. We want to assure you that we do not come here because we are emotional and irrational. Rather we come here because we transcend the regular currents of good and bad and only support what we see as the truth. Bt Brinjal, an unjust technology that we farmers have not chosen, need or want, it has not proven to be safe and has been approved under corruption. Therefore we reject it, whether you approve it or not. Below are some points we would like to stress on:

  1. India is in the midst of agrarian crisis and hunger crisis – nearly 2 lakh farmers have ended their lives.[1] It has also been unfortunately noted that a 3rd of the hungry in the world are the food producers themselves. We need to focus our agriculture on feeding people and providing our majority small farmers dignified livelihoods in the countryside. Therefore the day calls for strengthening the food producers of our nation by giving them control over their means of production including seeds and land and not making them dependent on companies or expensive credit for these. Government needs to ensure that farmers own, safe and affordable technologies are given to them, not untested corporate technologies. Furthermore, it is the right of farmers to produce food, for themselves and for society. We therefore demand food sovereignty and not dependence on Monsanto-Mahyco.
  2. Noted and respected scientist Mr. Pushpa Bhargava himself has noted that less than 12 of the required 30 tests were carried out before giving Bt Brinjal the clearance.[2] Furthermore, he has also said that clearance was given on account of great pressure from Monsanto –Mahyco.
  3. We absolutely condemn corporations interfering in the matters of such great public importance and governments’ collusion with them as was demonstrated by GEAC.

  4.  Members of SICCFM-  had public debates with scientists of Tamil Nadu Agriculture University and Dharward Agriculture universities on BT Brinjal. These Universities have failed to convince the farmers on the GM crops particularly BT Brinjal. The former Vice chancellor of TNAU Mr.Ramasamy asked farmers that why don’t we accept BT technology from Monsanto, where as we have accepted Nokia and other MNCs. This is not a scientific argument appreciated by farmers and consumers.

  1. Unfortunately the public media has wrongfully labelled all anti Bt brinjal voices farmers as anti- technology. We beg to clear this false assumption. Technology like Bt that is harmful cannot be allowed just because it is ‘technology’. We farmers have our own technologies and science, and we want the government to promote these. We have been successfully adopting technologies developed by our Agriculture universities and research stations. We reject this BT technology as it denies our choice of choosing the crop as a farmers and choice of choosing non BT food. And also this will contaminate our bio diversity.

  1. Our sister and brother farmers in the Bt Cotton belt have already proven to us that Bt cotton has not been successful. It has caused great debts and hunger and worst of all – suicides.

  1. We SICCFM strongly feel that the problem of solving the food crisis cannot be solved by the Multinational corporations like Monsanto- Mahyco. It can’t be a technical solution, but a political solution by empowering small and marginal peasants of the country.

Lastly, once Monsanto-Mahyco contaminates our brinjal, how can we hold them liable? Who will pay us compensations? Who will ensure the food security of our future generations? There is no mechanism in place to hold them responsible. Already most noted scientists, international conventions –CBD, Cartagena protocol and also the IAASTD show that GMOs are undesirable- not only in centres of origin (as India is for Brinjal) but also for solving hunger or solving poverty.
We therefore appeal the government of India not to introduce BT Brinjal and other GM crops.
Yours sincerely,

Kodiahally Chandra Sekher                                                                 
Karnataka Rajya Ryotha Sanga (KRRS) 

Kerala Coconut Farmers Association( KCFA)   

Uzhavar Ulaippalar Katchi.

Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam.    

Subbu Ravikkumar,
Bhavani river water and ground water protection centre.      

Eggplant, Aubergine, Melanzane

In India, it’s called Brinjal and thousands are taking to the streets to defend it. The Indian media has generally good coverage, here, here, and here. At issue is whether a genetically modified version ought to be allowed. Government scientists have declared it safe and productive, but many have their doubts, especially when 1500 native varieties are at risk from contamination.  Unlike Europe, where consumers led the charge against GM crops, India’s farmers are out front and centre. A press release from one of the many Indian farmers’ movements below the fold.
By  Raj patel in his blog :

636, Ideal Home Layout, Rajarajeswari Nagar,
Coimbatore, January 19th 2010: Pointing out that multinational companies are using Indian agriculture universities as their acceptable front and that these institutions run by Indian taxpayers’ funds should reject all such attempts by MNCs, leaders of various farmers’ organizations of South India called for a complete rejection of Bt Brinjal and other GM seeds. They said that any seeds that enslave Indian farmers and poison our food and soils are not acceptable, whether they come from agriculture universities or from multinational corporations. Farmers’ leaders from various organizations were taking part in a Conference on Bt Brinjal and Seed Sovereignty organized by the South Indian Coordination Committee of Indian Farmers’ Movements. The Conference unanimously passed a resolution demanding that Tamil Nadu government also reject Bt Brinjal seeds just as the other three neighboring states of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have done.
Mr K Sellamuthu, President of Uzhavar Uzhaipalar Katchi urged the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to take a stand against Bt Brinjal and such other seeds and expressed his hope that Chief Minister will continue to show long term vision in sustaining farmers’ livelihoods in the state. He also called upon the government to ignore the faulty advice of some scientists in the state.
“Recently, the Tamil Nadu Agriculture Minister’s assurances to the Assembly on the issue of Bt Brinjal were incorrect and misleading. He had reportedly claimed that tests have been performed by the University on Bt Brinjal – this is not true since the University has been allowed to dispense away with even Large Scale Trials on the agronomic front. On the health and environmental safety front, scores of questions still remain on the studies done by and data produced by the crop developer, which is the Indian partner of Amercian company Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company. When other states are using their scientific capabilities to point this out to the Central government, why is Tamil Nadu government so complacent in resting its trust on the regulators who have been thoroughly discredited? If a Congress-led state like Andhra Pradesh can also take a stand against Bt Brinjal, why can’t Tamil Nadu take a stand in favour of people and not corporations?”, asked Dr Sivasamy, senior farmers’ leader.
Adding that Bt Brinjal’s assessment has not touched upon some fundamental questions to this day, Kodihalli Chandrasekhar of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) said, “While it is true that brinjal crop does take up higher number of pesticide sprays in certain plots of intensive cultivation, the pesticide consumption figures being projected to rationalize the introduction of Bt Brinjal are not scientific at all. In Karnataka, the horticulture department data shows that brinjal is ranked fourteenth amongst horticulture crops in terms of its pesticides consumption and is not the main guzzler of toxic chemicals in fact. Further, there are many practices which need to be taken to all brinjal farmers by the government which are eco-friendly, sustainable and affordable for successful pest management. There is no point in replacing one toxic, unsustainable technology with another, that too irreversible technology. That shows the lack of foresightedness of our rulers. I urge all farmers to understand the conspiracy of enslavement that is behind Bt Brinjal and reject these seeds. I urge them to demand from the government the promotion of sustainable solutions in farming”.
“It is a shame that the Indian regulators, rather than being proud of our invaluable diversity in this crop and rather than putting out recommendations to conserve such unique diversity are actually negating the fact that Brinjal originated in this country. Rewriting a scientific fact on its contamination possibilities or its origins or its ill effects on our health would not fool alert Indian farmers and consumers. The government should also realize this or face the wrath of awakened citizens if it does the mistake of approving Bt Brinjal in India”, warned Mr P Raveendranath, President of Kerala State Coconut Farmers’ Association and Fr George Pottakkal of INFAM.
Pointing out that farmers’ organizations have not asked for this and rejecting the need for this toxic product to be more or less directly consumed by all Indians, Mr N S Palanisamy, former legislator and President of Tamizhaga Vyavasayigal Sangam said, “No Bt Brinjal has ever been introduced anywhere in the world. In fact, American agencies invested their resources to develop Bt Brinjal in India as well as to re-write our regulatory guidelines. When a majority of the countries around the world are rejecting this technology at this point of time, it is unacceptable that the Indian government decided to go with America on this and is not acting in the best interests of farmers and consumers here”.
“We also demand that Mahyco and Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, along with the Tamil Nadu government immediately let the world know where their original seed material had come from, for creating the Bt Brinjal varieties. Where are the initial varieties from and where is the consent from the farming communities that evolved the original varieties used for the university varieties? Who now owns the Bt Brinjal varieties given that Mahyco has patented the genetic ‘event’ in Bt Brinjal? We will not allow this kind of appropriation of seed material that belongs of farmers and this blatant violation of our rights by MNCs, through agriculture universities. We had already seen that in the case of Bt Cotton, non-GM cotton seed has been wiped out of the market and not many cotton seeds exist in this country today that cannot be claimed as the proprietary material of Monsanto, given that their ‘events’ have been inserted into our lines and that most Indian companies are sub-licensed to this corporation. This kind of appropriation will not be tolerated by us”, said Mr Sadagopan, President of Uzhavar Periyakkam.
The farmers’ organizations put out a call to everyone interested in protecting India’s seed and food sovereignty to join the public consultation on January 25th in Bangalore and to communicate our message of rejection of GM seeds in India to the Minister for Environment & Forests.
The following farmers leader’s participated in the consultation.

For more information, contact:
1. S Kannaiyan of South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers’ Movements, at or (0) 9444989543

South Indian Farmers Consultation on BT Brinjal on 19th Janury, 2010

Dear Friends,
South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movement (SICCFM) is conducting consultation on BT Brinjal on 19th Janury at Redcross buildings, opp. District courts, Coimbatore. The consultation will be held from 10am to 4pm.
Ms.Kavitha Krukandi will be joining this consultation.
South Indian Farmers  leaders and representatives are participating and discussing the strategy including to participate in the Public hearing conducted by the Ministry of Environment in Bangalore on 23 rd Janury,2010 and future course of action on BT Brinjal.
All are welcome.
Tamil invitation:
South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movement ( SICCFM)
Panakahally ( Viiage and post ),
Thalavady Via,
Sathyamangalam Taluk,
Erode District,
Tamil Nadu,
Pin code: 638 461.
Mobile: +91 9444989543

Sunday, April 4, 2010

India: Mangalore's Port blocked for hours, "No to destructive Imports!!"

Thursday, 26 November 2009 04:08

Warning to the government against the corporatization of the Land and the Sea: Blockade!

On 23/11/2009 the South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movement (SICCFM) organized a mass rally and blocked the new Mangalore port in Karnataka against the corporatization of land and sea, and the destructive cheap imports of food and crops because of WTO and FTAs. All the gates of the New Mangalore Port were completely blocked by the protesters and the functioning of the port was stopped for hours.

The protest was held by the farmers from KRRS and Green brigade from Karnataka, Kerala Coconut Farmers Association, the Tamil Nadu Farmers Association along with the fisher-folks from Kerala State Independent Fish Workers Federation and from Coastal Karnataka Fishermen Action Committee.

Hundreds of women and men marched in the streets of the city of Mangalore from Central Railway Station to Kottara Chowke and then proceeded towards the New Mangalore Port. Farmers blocked the port and sat in front of the main gate, shouting slogans, carrying and displaying banners against cheap food imports, WTO and FTAs.

Angry farmers also carried plants of ground nut, sunflower and coconuts as the prices of these products are severely affected by the cheap import of Palm oil from countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.

This struggle was organized in the background of the seventh ministerial meeting of the WTO’s Doha round of negotiations to be held in Geneva from 30th November to 2nd December, 2009.

The decision of the Indian Government of reopening the Doha Round of negotiation, would lead to the increase of the destructive imports into the country and would drastically affect the situation of millions of producers who are without any other dignified alternative.

Countering this position, the farmers and fisher folks demanded the central and state governments to stop any type of corporatization of land and sea, to keep agriculture out of WTO and demanded to re-establish Quantitative Restrictions on imports. This protest is also an answer to the ongoing talks between the Government of India and the USA to even expand the market access.

The effects of the destructive imports are well known to the farmers, these are some examples of what happened to their products, and to their lives:

After signing the India-Sri Lanka FTA, prices of Kerala’s major agricultural commodities fell and the state economy sustained an annual loss of Rs. 7,000 crores. Pepper price was reduced from Rs. 21,502 to Rs. 6,644 per quintal from 1999-2000 to 2005-06. With ISFTA, the duty free import of black pepper from Sri Lanka increased from 1,385.3 tonnes to 4865.1 tonnes, from 1999-2000 to 2004-05. Domestic export price of vanilla got reduced from Rs. 6,413.45/kg to Rs. 1,679/kg, from 2001-02 to 2005-06. Removal of Quota restriction and this FTA resulted in import surge of refined coconut oil: 3753.72 tonnes to 11427.14 tonnes from 1999-2000 to 2004-05.

Similar impacts, including import surge, fall in local prices, and fall in export prices can be expected from the India-ASEAN FTA, as well as from the implementation of the Doha Round.

The farmers declared firmly that they will not be fooled again with the products so called “excluded” from the free trade: a trick to hide the reality behind a screen. With this trick many products are officially excluded, but the byproducts of the same crops are conversely welcomed, leading to the same destructive consequences.

For example: Sugar Cane is excluded but other forms of sugar i.e. glucose, fructose, as well as molasses, and sugar confectionary will be welcomed; Coconut is excluded but coconut shell unworked will be welcomed; Cotton is excluded but cotton linter will be welcomed; Milk is excluded but yogurt, buttermilk, fresh cheese and powdered and processed cheese will be welcomed; Wheat is excluded but rye flour, bran or other forms of cereal after milling and Bulgur wheat, will be welcomed.

The protesters also pointed out, that the federal system is playing a game against them: after the Coconut Farmers of Kerala were able to win a judicial struggle and to get a Judgment in the High Court of Kerala, to ban the import of any edible oil, this Ban was practically weakened by the totally opposite policy of the Karnataka State, by allowing this imports. In this way the banned products, entering in a Port close to the border, like Mangalore - that is one of the major inlets for imported edible oil on the south-west coast, are continuing to affect the Kerala market as before (as well as the Karnataka’s and the Tamil Nadu’s).

The representatives of the farmers (among them: Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, Working President of KRRS and Green Brigade, P. Ravindranath President of Kerala Coconut Farmers Association, S. Kannaiyan – Coordinator of SICCFM) delivered speeches in front of the Port.

As the police was refusing to provide water to the thirsty protestors, they warned the officials of the police to treat the farmers with respect, otherwise it would not even take fifteen minutes to break the barriers and to enter inside the port and continue the action there; so the basic right to drink was defended and the water was provided.

They declared that the action was a warning to the government of India who wants to liberalize the market much more in the upcoming ministerial meeting of WTO in Geneva. That the farmers and the fisher folks had reached the gates of the port and they will be forced to reach the ships carrying the imported goods to throw them back to the sea unless the government takes the position to protect its farmers and fisher folk.

They affirmed that the land belongs to farmers, and the sea to the fishermen, any type of corporatization of land and sea will not be tolerated.

They burned finally the imported palm oil and broke the coconut to show their anger as the price has fallen to the ground.

They declared that this is the first ever blockade action against a port in India which will be intensified and will spread all over the country against all the ports, if the government will not change its position.

They also announced that their protest will continue against the same Meeting of the WTO in Geneva, as some Indian farmers representatives will participate in the protests in Europe in association with the international movements of farmers La Via Campesina and the other Movements against corporatization of Land and Sea.

For further contacts: SICCFM –
Next >


30th -31st October- 2009. Calicut, Kerala.

Report of main outcomes of the meeting

Background to the Calicut meeting

The 2nd meeting of the SICCFM – South Indian Farmers against the WTO was conducted in Calicut, Kerala on the Oct 30th and 31st 2009. The organizing group was the Kerala Coconut Farmers Association. This meeting had been planned at the previous and the first formative meeting of the SICCFM in Bangalore on Oct 2 and 3. The SICCFM is a network of about fourteen farmers and fishers groups in South Indian, that are collaborating despite differences on the common cause of agricultural liberalization through FTAs and WTO.

The main reason behind the formation of the SICCFM was to bring together and consolidate South Indian movements against FTAs and the WTO. South Indian states are under a greater threat due to FTAS like the ASEAN, Indo-Sri Lanka FTA and India Thailand FTA which is the reason that creating the SICCFM was seen as a crucial move. Kerala especially was threatened by the ASEAN FTA that was signed by the Indian government in 2009. This move was made despite the Kerala government’s strong resistance on the grounds that it would lead to a loss of livelihoods in the fisheries sector and of cash crop farmers of tea, coffee, rubber, pepper, edible oils and other commodities. Cheap imports of these products from South East Asian countries are leading to a crash in prices. Even the so called protection measures such as the Exclusion list are ineffective due to a narrow vision of protection where factors like the existence of substitute goods, the comparative production capacities of different countries, the level of government support provided to farmers etc have not been taken into consideration.

At the previous Bangalore meeting a part of the action plan created was to conduct dharnas [protest] and meetings in all the capital or important cities of South Indian states. This 2nd SICCFM meeting was therefore conducted not only in order to strengthen the movement of the Kerala groups against ASEAN and WTO by organizing a dharna there but also to strategically plan the next steps of South Indian farmers groups against the WTO as the WTO ministerial in Geneva approaches this 30th Nov.

Another important component of this meeting was to discuss the Government of India’s (GOI) recent approval of Mahyco’s [a subsidiary of Monsanto USA] Genetically Modified (GM) vegetable Bt Brinjal. The GOI has put a hold on this decision until further consultations are undertaken by the minister of Environment and Forests in the months of January and February. The SICCFM used this opportunity to make a preliminary plan for the coming months on this issue.

- Organize a dharna against the ASEAN and the WTO.
- Prepare an action plan in the lead up to the WTO ministerial in Geneva from Nov 30th – 2 Dec.
- Discuss the future plan for the Bt Brinjal issue
- Plan the next meeting venue and objectives

List of participants
Karnataka Rajya Ryotha Sangha( KRRS)
Kerala Coconut Farmers Association
Indian Farmers Movement(INFAM)
Adivasi Gothra Mahsabha
Tamizaga Vyavasayigal Sangham( Dr.Shivasamy)
Tamizaga Vyavasayigal Sangham( K.Sellamuthu)
Katchi Sarpartra Tamizaga Vyavasayigal Sangham( N.S.Palanisamy, Ex.M.L.A,
Anti Coca Cola Campaign Committee of Plachimada
Matsya Thozilali Federation
Bharitya Kisan Union [Mr Yudhvir Singh, president of BKU Delhi and coordinator of La Via Campesina in South Asia was also present in solidarity]

Main Outcomes
- A Dharna was organized from Shikshak Sadan in Calicut to Kipson corner with a participation of about 500 women and men. The main leaders participating were Chandrasekhar Kodihalli,Basavaraj Thambake of Karnataka Rajya Ryotha Sangha, P.Ravindranath of Kerala Coconut Farmers Association, Fr.George of INFAM, C.K.Janu of Adivasi Gothra Mahsabha, Dr.Shivasami, N.S.Palanisami,K.Kalimuthu,K.Sellamuthu, Nallagounder, Balasubramaniam of Tamizaga Vyavasayigal Sangham, Mr. Vilayudi Venugupal of the Anti Coca Cola Campaign Committee of Plachimada, Mr Majindran Swathanthra of Matsya Thozilali Federation. Mr. Yudhvir Singh from the North Indian BKU, South-Asian Coordinator of Global farmers Movement called La Via Campesina was also present. The main slogans shouted in local languages were – “stop destructive Doha round”, “Agriculture out of WTO”, “No to FTAs, yes to food sovereignty”, “no to GM crops”., ‘’Agriculture out of WTO’’
- Plan of Action was created against the WTO and ASEAN
- Plan of Action was discussed against Bt Brinjal – it was decided that after the Nov WTO meet, the focus would be on the Bt brinjal issue especially since the government of India will be conducting consultations with farmers in the months of Jan and Feb.
- Decision to strengthen the farmer’s movement bringing in a variety of small and diverse groups besides the traditional large farmers movements.
o Plan to bring in new groups from the state of Andhra Pradesh [which has been mostly absent in the SICCFM]

Action Plan

- A farmer’s memorandum to the Prime Minister will be prepared which will be handed over through local level government officials during all the farmers protests organized in the run up to the Nov WTO ministerial.

- Organize a big rally in Bangalore against the WTO [bring participants from all the other south Indian states]
- Carry out a port blocking action in Mangalore through where palm oil is being imported into the country. This action will be carried out along with coconut farmers from other states like Kerala and also possibly with some new fishing groups.

Tamil Nadu:
- On the occasion of Indian Agriculture minister Sharad Pawars visit to the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University on Nov 6, to organize a black flag protest. [other states might send representatives there]
- District level protests all over the state and handing over of the memorandum.
- Also the possibility of organizing a large statewide protest by bringing together 3-4 different groups is under discussion.
- Organize a south Indian Level seminar on BT Brinjal issue in the month of December-2009 in Coimbatore as a preparatory to face the consultation organized by the Union ministry of Environment.
- Organize a day long fast in every district center.
- Join the port blocking action in Mangalore along with the Karnataka farmers.

For further info contact:
Chukki Nanjundaswamy –, #+91 9845066156, Kannaiyan –, #+91 9444989543

Keep Agriculture Out of WTO and India out of FTAs


2nd 3rd-October- 2009. Bangalore.

Venue: MH.MARIGOWDA MEMORIAL HALL , Lal bagh , Bangalore- 560004.

Date: 2&3- 10-2009.

Back ground

The stalled talks of WTOs Doha round negotiations that aim to further liberalize agriculture trade were revived in India by an informal mini ministerial hosted by the Government of India on 3rd and 4th of September. It was unanimously agreed by the ministers that efforts should be put into concluding the Doha Round by 2010. Earlier the negotiations had failed due to a tough stand taken by developing countries especially India to protect the interest of its key agriculture sector and large farming population. However the current UPA government has shown new enthusiasm in reviving the talks.

The adverse impacts free trade in agriculture have already adversely impacted farmers in India. Liberalization of the seeds, inputs and marketing sectors have led to the most unfortunate phenomenon of suicides and loss of livelihoods. The cost of inputs has risen while the international price depression of agriculture products has reduced the incomes of farmers. South India has been particularly badly affected by cheap international imports under WTO rules and FTAs underway such as SL India FTA. Many other FTAs are already in the pipeline. Palm oil from Malasyia and Indonesia have depressed the price of coconut among other crops like pepper and tea in south India. Pulse imports have depressed the price of domestic production in Tamil Nadu. Fisherfolk and dairy cooperatives are also facing threats of loss of livelihoods.

In the backdrop of all these circumstances farmers in India had mobilized on the inauguration of the WTO mini-ministerial in Delhi on 3rd Sep. A strategy meeting was also held a day earlier in Delhi on 2nd September organised by Via Campesina in association with other peoples’s movements and NGOs. A commitment was also made to consolidate movements in south India. Two South Indian movements - Karnataka Rajya Ryota Sangha & Green Brigade (KRRS) and Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam (TVS)thus acted on their commitment and called a south Indian farmers conference in Bangalore to initiate debate on WTO and FTAs and to consolidate farmers movements in south India by forming a South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movement. KRRS hosted the meeting.

Some of the key issues identified by the farmers in south India were the lack of awareness not only at the leadership level but especially at the grassroots of the numerous FTAs and WTO processes. The secrecy of the GOIs negotiations and need to stay updated on the recent developments. There was an urgent need felt to strategize in light of the soon to be held WTO ministerial in Geneva from the 30th Nov to 2nd Dec.

Objectives of the conference

  • To initiate debate among farmers and farmers leaders on WTO and FTAs and help them to take a strong position.
  • To build an alliance or a federation of farmers associations of south India including Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Ander Pradesh and Kerala.
  • To make an action and strategy plan of South Indian farmers against WTO and FTAs and further coordinate with North Indian Farmers movements

List of participating organizations

About 260 farmers leaders mostly from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala participated from the following movements and organizations:-


  1. Karnataka Rajya Ryota Sangha & Green Brigade (KRRS)


  1. Tamilnadu Coconut Farmers’ Association- Sanmugasundaram
  2. Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam (TVS)– N.S.Palanisami
  3. Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam (TVS)– Vettavalam Manikandan
  4. Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam (TVS)–Erode – Ratanasami
  5. Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam (TVS)– Dr.Shivasami
  6. Ullavar Ullaipala Kachi- Sellamutthu
  7. Natural Livelihood Organisation – Kodaran
  8. Milk Producers Association –K.M.Ramasami
  9. Ullavar Parriyakam – Sadagopan
  10. Tamilnadu Toddy Movement


  1. Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha – C.K.Janu
  2. Kerala Coconut Farmers Association – P.Ravindranath
  3. Indian Farmers Movement (INFAM) – Prof.George Pottackal

Resource Persons

  • Mr. Afsar Jafri from Focus on Global south gave a talk on WTO and AOA.

  • Ms.Sussana Barria from Inter cultural resources gave a talk on FTAs and agriculture with examples of ASEAN, EU India FTA, Japan FTA, Sri Lanka India FTA etc.

Main Outcomes

  • A discussion over WTO and FTAs was undertaken and a plan of action was discussed and finalised.

  • A South Indian farmers’ alliance called the South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers’ Movements (SICCFM) was created after agreement by all groups present.

  • A resolution was passed urging the Government of India to keep agriculture out of WTO and free trade and to bring back quantitative restrictions, tariffs and other mechanisms to save Indian agriculture and farmers livlihoods.

Suggested Plan of Action

- Caravan on WTO and FTAs from the south to the north of India in coordination with North Indian movements: A plan was discussed to carry out such a caravan however the exact plan, route and dates were yet to be discussed.

- Production of awareness materials in local languages to be disseminated at the grassroots levels before the WTO ministerial in November in Geneva.

- Meetings to be conducted in all capital cities of South Indian states.

- Dharnas and actions to be conducted in all states

Next meeting along with a Dharna was planned to be conducted on Oct 24 in Calicut, Kerala.

For further information contact

Chukki Nanjundaswamy –, #9845066156

Kannaiyan –, #9444989543

Attached: Resolution of SICCFM to government.

Keep Agriculture Out of WTO and India out of FTAs

South Indian Farmers Convention

2-3 October 2009

At Dr. Marigowda Memorial Hall, Lal Bagh Bangalore

Organised by

*Karnataka State Farmers Association and Green Brigade*(KRRS)

*Tamilnadu Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam*

Farmers Resolution

On the occasion of the Mahatma Gandhi Birth Anniversary, the 2nd October,

We, the farmers of India, are very much concerned about the Government of India’s push for undemocratic free trade policies in the form of World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) like the Indo-ASEAN FTA, Indo-European Union FTA, Indo-Korea FTA and others, under complete secrecy and without any proper assessment of its impact on the lives and livelihood of the millions of small and marginal farmers of the country. The UPA government is pursuing the free trade economic model especially at a time when the country is in the midst of a deep food and farm crisis and financial uncertainty and thousands of farmers have committed suicide in last 15 years of free trade regime under WTO and autonomous trade liberalization.

We, the representatives of the farming and peasants community of southern India, resolve that the latest push by the Government of India to re-energise and revive the Doha Round of WTO negotiations is unethical, illegal and not in the interest of the millions of Indian farmers and workers. It is an attempt to compromise the food security and sovereignty of the country. It is also an attempt to force open the Indian markets for the highly subsidised imports from the developed countries. The December draft text which has been accepted as a basis for the further negotiations in the Doha Round is very much biased against the developing countries and protects the interest of the developed countries and their corporations. It does not provide specific provisions for removal of all subsidies of the developed countries which depress global prices and insulate their transnational corporations against any market volatility.

We are also very much concerned about the weakening of Indian position on the key issues of safeguards and protection like Special Products (SP) and Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) which has been rendered very ineffective and meaningless in the December text. We believe that the protection mechanism in the form of SP and SSM in WTO is just a bait offered by the developed countries to force the developing countries to provide market access to their agribusiness corporations. We have already experienced the impact of trade liberalization in the edible oil sector where India was 95% self sufficient till 1995 but 15 years of WTO have rendered India into a net importer of edible oil. It facilitated transnational like ConAgra, Cargill, Bunge and others from US and EU to capture and control a major chunk of the edible oil market, displacing millions of small millers, traders and producers of edible oil in the country. We fear that what has happened in the edible oil sector will be repeated in others sectors if we let Manmohan Singh government to sign the Doha Deal.

We are very much concerned at the likely outcome of the 7th Ministerial conference in Geneva scheduled for 30th November to 2nd December 2009 which is taking place at a time when we have already experienced the impact of WTO. Even the likely projections from World Bank indicate that the developing countries would be losers if the Doha deal is put into effect. Instead of promoting development, the Doha Round will increase hunger, poverty and inequalities. Given the implications of the Doha Round on millions of lives and livelihoods of our people, the Indian government must restore import duties to the bound levels and bring back quantitative restrictions.

Given the adverse impacts of the Indo-Srilanka FTA on South India’s farmers where we witnessed hundred of farmer suicides in Kerala, we are very concerned that the drastic tariff reduction commitment under ASEAN-India will play havoc with the lives of Indian farmers and will destroy the agriculture and agricultural based economy of the southern states. The assurances by the Commerce Ministry of India that the negative list is an effective protection for farmers are illogical and false. We need comprehensive policies to protect farmers livelihoods, which is not possible under the framework of FTAs because of the pro-corporate nature of the FTAs.

Given the above concerns, we appeal to the State Governments of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh to assert their constitutional rights to protect the farmers of their states by demanding for state level consultations and clearance for all aspect of agriculture negotiations in the WTO and Free Trade Agreements (FTA) since agriculture is a state subject.

We also demand that the Government of India must reject the Doha Development Round as it fails to take India’s minimum concerns on-board.

In view of the distorted nature of multilateral trading regime under WTO in which emergence of fair trade and a level playing field in agriculture looks a distant dream, we, therefore, appeal to the UPA and the Prime Minister of India to raise our demand in the WTO “to keep agriculture out of the WTO”.

We demand a moratorium on all FTAs India is proposed to sign and implement until the UPA government share their stance in the FTAs negotiations with all the Parliament and State governments and get a clearance from the Parliament and the State Legislatures.

We demand that all the political parties in India and especially from the South India must demand for a Constitutional Amendment which can make it binding for the government of the India to seek Parliament ratification international treaty and agreement signed by them which has implication over the lives and livelihood of the people and compromises India’s food security and sovereignty of the country.

We resolve to form South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (SICCFM) to oppose and struggle against the WTO and the FTAs which liberalize our agriculture and facilitate the takeover of Indian agriculture by the corporations and will force the Indian farmers to quit agriculture or commit suicide. We resolve to fight against the anti people policies of the government of India and state government which compromises the interest of the Indian farmers and their lives and livelihood.

Dated 3rd October 2009

Signed by


  1. Karnataka Rajya Ryota Sangha & Green Brigade (KRRS)-Kodihalli Chandrashekhar


  1. Tamilnadu Coconut Farmers’ Association- Sanmugasundaram
  2. Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam (TVS)– N.S.Palanisami,Ex.M.L.A.
  3. Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam (TVS)– Vettavalam Manikandan
  4. Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam (TVS)–Erode –K.C. Ratanasamy.
  5. Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam (TVS)– Dr.Shivasami
  6. Ullavar Ullaipalar Kachi- Sellamutthu
  7. Natural Livelihood Organisation – Podaran
  8. Milk Producers Association –K.M.Ramasami
  9. Ullavar Parriyakam – Sadagopan
  10. Tamilnadu Toddy Movement- C.Nallasamy


  1. Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha – C.K.Janu
  2. Kerala Coconut Farmers Association – P.Ravindranath
  3. Indian Farmers Movement (INFAM) – Prof.George Pottackal


For Contact:

Chukki Nanjundaswamy,, #91 9845066156

S.Kannaiyan, Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam, #91 9444989543