Food Sovereignty & Farmer Empowerment
KISAN SWARAJ SAMMELAN 2018
A Confluence of Farmers & Well-wishers of the Farming Community
November 2- 3 – 4, 2018 :: AHMEDABAD
Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) &
150 Years of Gandhi &
100 Years of Gujarat Vidyapith
INVITATION TO REGISTER!
Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture or the ASHA-Kisan Swaraj network is a national platform created in 2010 through the nationwide 71-day Kisan Swaraj Yatra, starting from Gujarat Vidyapith on Gandhi Jayanti in 2010, drawing attention to the issues of Food, Farmers, Freedom. ASHA-Kisan Swaraj draws its strength from associated farmers’ organizations, consumer groups, women’s organizations, environmental organizations, individual citizens and experts on related subjects, who are committed to the cause of sustainable and viable farm livelihoods in rural India. We believe in a 4-pillared Kisan Swaraj Neeti that provides a framework for a forward-looking agricultural vision and policy for India, and call on governments to adopt the same.
The four pillars of Kisan Swaraj Neeti, with the focus being on the most marginalized farmers (ASHA takes an expansive definition of the term Farmer, as has been done in India’s National Policy for Farmers) are:
(1) income security for all farm households which guarantees minimum incomes for dignified living;
(2) environmental sustainability in agriculture so that resource conservation and sustainable use are ensured for sustainable farm livelihoods;
(3) people’s control over agricultural resources like land, water, forest and seed; and
(4) access to safe, healthy, nutritious and sufficient food for all.
ASHA, in its 8th year of existence now, remains a unique formation in the country in that it approaches Indian farming in a holistic manner – economic, social and environmental justice issues are integrated seamlessly into our approach to our farming and farmers. Importantly, it is also a platform that draws in urban consumers to engage with issues of farming, at least through the lens of food safety. It is also unique in the kind of diversity of ideologies, skills and expertise it is able to draw in onto a single platform.
Over the years, key members of ASHA have become advisors and experts to Governments (Central and States) and the network has been involved in policy-making at state/national level, related to the themes that ASHA works on. At the ground level, ASHA’s associates combine advocacy with solid alternatives for a just and sustainable world to be built, in our farming and food systems. ASHA has been viewed by other networks and organisations as an immense pool of knowledge and experience, from where inputs are drawn for their own work.
Gujarat Vidyapith was set up by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920 (he remained a life-long Chancellor of the Vidyapith) and has been a Deemed University since 1963. This is a Vidyapith where Gandhi is alive to this day. The Vidyapith’s mission is to prepare workers of character, ability, culture and dedication for the conduct of movements connected with the regeneration of the country in accordance with the ideals given by Mahatma Gandhi. The Vidyapith upholds many Gandhian values like adherence to truth and non-violence, participation in productive work with a sense of dignity of labour, acceptance of equality of religions, priority for the needs of Village India in all curricula and use of mother tongue as a medium of instruction. Gujarat Vidyapith focuses its resources and energies in the propagation of national education in villages, with the firm belief that the growth of the nation depends not on its cities but its villages. Gujarat Vidyapith will soon be marking 100 years of its meaningful existence.
Jatan is working for promotion of Sajiv Kheti with concerns similar to that of ASHA, for more than three decades now in Gujarat. It is considered the most credible voice in promotion of sustainable farming practices. It supported Gujarat government in formulating the state organic farming policy.
2018 is also the 150th year of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth. Ba-Bapu Gandhi celebrations mark this year all around the country, in numerous ways. ASHA-Kisan Swaraj and Gujarat Vidyapith intend to weave this into the KISAN SWARAJ SAMMELAN OF 2018.
About Kisan Swaraj Sammelan:
ASHA has been organizing periodic Kisan Swaraj Sammelans to create an occasion for strengthening our understanding of the highly complex challenges before us, and for rejuvenating our common bonds so that even as we work independently on many fronts, there is a synergy in thought and action. These are also confluences that bring in new people, thoughts, analyses, energies and plans, to collectively move forward towards improving farm livelihoods in India. In the past, such Sammelans were organized in Bhopal in 2013 (after an initial confluence in Nagpur in 2011 soon after the Kisan Swaraj Yatra ended) and in Hyderabad in 2016.
The proposed 4th Kisan Swaraj Sammelan in Ahmedabad on November 2, 3 & 4, 2018 comes at a time when the agrarian distress in India has become part of the public debate to an extent, for a variety of reasons including the fact that farmers’ movements are intensifying their struggles around the country at least on one front – farm economics. Climate Change is now a reality for our farmers and brings forth environmental dimensions to our farming much more starkly than ever before. The increasing feminization of agriculture and the greater visibility of tenancy or sharecropping in our agriculture highlight the vulnerabilities of particular groups of farmers, for our collective action. There are mighty forces working to take away land, seed and government support systems from small farmers and pave the way for corporate-controlled, chemical, mechanized agriculture. Consolidation of big agri-business corporations through mergers and acquisitions is paving way for greater monopolies and limited choices for our farmers. Liberal trade is debilitating the farming sector, getting our farmers to compete with subsidized farming elsewhere. Our food systems have been affected in numerous ways, leading to different chronic health problems.
At the same time, we see a greater resolve and alliance-building among various farm movements, pushing back against anti-farmer measures and stronger momentum for ecologically sustainable agriculture resisting the Green revolution paradigm and corporatization. Public pressure is building on the governments to address farmer suicides and the social, ecological and economic crisis in agriculture. Numerous states have put into place organic farming policies and schemes, influenced by ASHA associates in addition to others. Gujarat, the host state, has announced an organic farming policy in 2015 and has even announced an Organic Farming University for the very first time in the country. Hazardous, corporate-controlled technologies like agri-chemicals and GMOs have been pushed back successfully through collective efforts. The state government of Gujarat, for instance, has taken a policy stand not to conduct open air trials of GM food crops. Improvements in policy perspectives and articulations around the rights of women farmers is apparent. The issue of large scale leasing in of land for agriculture is definitely in the policy discourse, and ASHA has been pushing this in the right direction, to secure legal entitlements for tenant/lessee farmers. When it comes to adivasi agriculture, there is an expanding appreciation of the sustainability and communitarian ethos that underpins their farming and forest based livelihoods and food security discourse in the country has started recognizing the role of uncultivated forest foods in addressing the problem of malnutrition of many communities. Land grabbing is being successfully resisted by many local communities, even as dilution of laws is being fought. The struggle against free trade agreements has gathered greater momentum. Farmers’ agitations have been successful in getting their demand around remunerative prices and minimum incomes brought into the national debate and in getting governments to concede at least partially to the demand for higher prices for agri-commodities. Consumers are appreciating the importance of sustainable, diverse, nutritious and safe food systems and are making changes to support farmers who are willing to produce and provide the right kind of food.
It is at such a critical juncture that this 4th Kisan Swaraj Sammelan of ASHA is being proposed. Keeping with the inclusive and broad-based approach that we have always adopted, this Kisan Swaraj Sammelan will also be not only a national convention of the ASHA-Kisan Swaraj network for mutual learning, sharing and collective planning, but also an occasion to reach out to various networks, alliances and people’s movements to extend solidarity and draw from their expertise and experience. We hope that the Sammelan will help strengthen the work of everyone involved. The Sammelan is expected to provide spaces for stronger networking and relationship-building between different organisations and individuals who participate, for synergies to be built for future joint work.
Objectives of the Sammelan
- Exchange of knowledge, perspectives and information about various policy developments impacting farmers, through interactions with chosen resource persons for each theme; Similarly, exchange of knowledge and skills including through practical demonstrations and “agri-clinics with expert farmers” about various ecological agriculture practices, tools and inputs;
- Interaction amongst participants, re-connecting and mutual re-energizing; sharing information about ongoing work;
- Building solidarity with like-minded networks and various campaigns that ASHA has been involved in;
- Learning from each other’s experiences, struggles and strategies; plan future action wherever possible;
- Generating public awareness through a Seed Festival, Exhibition, public lectures and panel discussions organized during the Convention.
The Sammelan will focus on Ecological Agriculture; Free Trade and Agricultural Livelihoods; Women Farmers’ Rights; Food Safety and Hazardous Agri-Technologies like Pesticides, Fertilisers and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs); Seed Sovereignty & Diversity; Land Rights; Economic Policies impacting Indian agriculture; Adivasi Agriculture, Climate Change, consumer support/empowerment etc. The sessions would mainly centre on what an alternative policy and action discourse should be, ongoing work on these issues and advocacy agendas for future work.
The Sammelan will have plenaries and parallel sessions to meet its objectives, in addition to a Bio-Diverstiy Festival, Food Festival, Exhibition and Practical Demonstrations on relevant themes, Public Lectures and cultural programmes. The parallel sessions will be the main activity of the Convention, so that discussions are interactive and participatory. Open houses for free flowing informal discussions will also be attempted. Resource persons will be drawn from various like-minded organizations and platforms.
Registration as a participant (we encourage you to read instructions fully before initiating registration):
Fill and send the attached form to JATAN, Vinoba Ashram, Gotri, Vadodara: 390 021 before 25th Sept., 2018 along with requested donation as mentioned below. Cheques/ DDs are to be drawn in favour of “JATAN”, payable at Vadodara, Gujarat.
Requested Donation: We would like to make this event self- supported. ASHA does not rely on government funds, project funds, foreign funds, huge corporate funds and any kind of sponsorship. All participants are requested to donate as much as they can in this mission. PLEASE MENTION DETAILS OF ANY DONATION (Rs) MADE WITH EACH APPLICATION FORM.
Requested Donation* when registering before 25th Sept., 2018
Requested Donation if registering beyond deadline of 25th Sept., 2018 (25th Sept-20th Oct)
|Salaried Urbanites,Researchers and academicians,Govt. employees
|Farmers living in Cities,Media Representatives,NGO representatives,Farm Organization Representatives
|Farmers living in villages or having no other source of livelihood other than farm income;Students
*We are requesting donations because the costs to be incurred by organisers include organic meals for all participants, accommodation, tent-house costs for exhibition stalls, biodiversity festival, food festival, plenary stage, audio systems, resource persons travel and conveyance etc. and the overall expenditure will be definitely higher than the donation received from participants.
- We request all participants living in Gujarat to make their own accommodation arrangement so that space can be spared for other state participants. (We will consider requests for exception in very special cases).
- Very basic shared accommodation will be provided in 4-6 bed dormitories with common washrooms. Those who seek better accommodation may book in nearby hotels at their own expense. The Sammelan venue is centrally located in Ahmedabad and there are plenty of hotels around. List of suggested hotels is available here.
- Organisers will take care of 3 days of stay and food at Ahmedabad, starting from 1st November 2018 evening to 4th November 2018 evening (the Sammelan is from 2nd Nov. morning). As Diwali vacation starts soon after the event, all are requested to vacate the place latest by morning of 5th November and make their own food and stay arrangement at some other place in case they need to continue their stay in Ahmedabad.
- Language might be constraint to effective participation and could lead to avoidable disappointment amongst Sammelan participants. We encourage and request you to kindly locate translation help within your state delegation as soon as you arrive at the venue. Some of the sessions will be sought to be run in state-wise groupings wherever possible.
- Food: organizers wish that groups of organic farmers from various states will run organic food stalls and all participants will take meals for three days at various stalls (on rotation) without any charge. Participants are requested to appreciate the arrangement, which will have multiple benefits like enjoying various recipes representing diverse food cultures, the opportunity to utilize organic farm produce and the money spent on food will go to the organic farmers of ASHA network.
- Organizers will send a letter of confirmation for participation along with other logistic details before 10th October, 2018, which will form the basis for participation. Applicants are however requested to book their tickets without waiting for confirmation. Cost of cancellation is less than cost of booking after confirmation from our side, considering the Diwali Vacation rush.
- All efforts will be made to accommodate all registrants and avoid any denial due to overflow. We request early registration to avoid denial. By principle, organizers believe that having no money should not deprive a farmer from participation. We request such participants to bring 10 Kg of any organic farm produce of their own farm as a contribution to this event.
About 50 exhibition stalls will be arranged for organic farmers, farmers’ groups, registered non-profit organizations, private entrepreneurs and (semi) Govt departments to sell their organic farm produce, showcase their activities and projects related to sajiv kheti, display tools, implements and small processing units and put out messages related to sustainable farming. AGRI INPUTS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE DISPLAYED AND SOLD EXCEPT IF THEY ARE PRODUCED AND SOLD BY SMALL FPOs.
REQUESTED DONATION(Rs.) PER STALL IS AS BELOW.
Requested Donation* when registering before 25th Sept., 2018
Requested Donation if registering beyond deadline of 25th Sept., 2018 (25th Sept-20th Oct)
|Kisan Haat: Farmers practicing Sajiv Kheti, living in villages and having no other income than farming to sell their own farm produce.
|Farmers’ group: FPO, Farmers’ Cooperative, SHG, Micro credit group
|Non- profit organization with having 12 A
|Private entrepreneurs,Semi Govt and Govt Departments
Applicant has to apply through form available on www.kisanswaraj.in website. A technical committee will take decision about granting a stall after due verification of documents, claims, costing and genuineness of the product on display/ sale. Organisers reserve the right to not provide the stall/table space at any moment including during the sammelan without giving any reason. The applicant will have to submit samples of the products on display to help technical committee to take decision.
- Two people per stall will be entitled as a sammelan participant.
- For the Kisan Haat, a table space will be provided. For others, stall size will be 50 to 70 sq ft with two chairs, two tables with cloth cover, one light and one 5 Amp plug point.
- Accommodation will be given only to farmers of first two categories above, that too only if they are coming from outside Gujarat.
- Donation should be paid in favour of “JATAN” through A/c payee cheques and DD payable at Vinoba Ashram, Gotri, Vadodara: 390 021 accompanied with forms.
- Use plastic, flex banners, thermocol is prohibited in the sammelan and all exhibitions.
For any queries, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
In case you need to speak to an ASHA member,
please call Dr. Rajinder Chaudhary: 9416182061; Ajay Etikala: 9971615133
JATAN (Gujarati speakers): 0265-2371429
WE NOW INVITE YOU TO REGISTER FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE SAMMELAN, USING THE ATTACHED FORM. PARTICIPATION IS ONLY THROUGH PRIOR REGISTRATION.