Analysis: Climate Crisis Is Foundation of Indian Farmers’ Protests
By Omair Ahmad
The current protests by Indian farmers against the passage of three laws have deep roots in income insecurity, which is driven by changing rainfall patterns and incentives that promote the overuse of water.
The protests by Indian farmers against three laws initially passed as ordinances have gone from sporadic in August 2020 to the biggest peaceful civil society protest in the world.
Despite 11 rounds of talks and the creation of a committee by the Supreme Court, there seems little hope of a resolution when the problem is framed as a zero-sum game of either implementing the laws or repealing them.
Hidden by the political crisis are the problems central to the agricultural crisis in India: low farm productivity, high indebtedness, inappropriate cropping patterns and perverse incentives.
The laws are focussed solely on contract farming (where farmers enter contracts with buyers directly, rather than going through licensed traders), deregulating the agricultural market to weaken the control of state governments, and the storage of grain.
Photo courtesy of IWMI Flickr Photos.