How the world is changing towards organic agriculture
In a country where the conventional agrochemical industry is a big part of the economy, it is not just farmers who have been affected.
The country’s major petrochemicals are owned by the state-run petroco-chemical company MDS Petrochemical Co. and its subsidiary Oriental Petrochemical.
The company was formed in 2014 and has been making petro chemical products for a decade, according to MDS, which has been selling them in India since the 1990s.
The companies are owned jointly by MDS and Oriental, which are both based in the southern state of Gujarat.
MDS claims that its petro chemicals are more environmentally friendly and have lower impact on the environment than conventional ones.
But many in the petro industry say the petros are not environmentally friendly, or at least not environmentally neutral.
In 2015, a report commissioned by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said that petro-chemical production has not significantly improved in India in recent years, with environmental pollution affecting half of the country’s farms.
The report also said that the petri-chemicals produced in India were less than half the emissions produced by conventional fertilisers.
Many say the industry’s pollution has worsened, with the country facing a crisis in the past few years.
“It has gone down from a peak in 2013 to about 70-80% of the emissions from conventional fertilizers being discharged to rivers and lakes.
Now we have a new issue with the problem of pollution,” says Ramesh Sharma, co-founder of the Centre for Responsible Petro Chemicals, an NGO in New Delhi that is working on a national campaign against the petrodollars of the petco-chemies.
India’s organic sector has grown steadily over the past decade.
But the country still accounts for less than one percent of the global total of organic production, and that share has grown significantly in recent decades.
The total organic production in India is less than 5 percent of total global organic production.
“The situation in India has worsened.
In the past five years, it has gone up from about 15 percent to about 20 percent.
So the situation is bad,” says Sharma.
In the past two years, the Indian government has introduced strict regulations on the pet-chemical industry.
A slew of laws, including the petropreneurisation (PCP) bill, introduced in 2017, aimed to end petro and organic pollution in the country.
The government also made it a requirement for companies to submit environmental impact reports and submit data on pollution.
But many farmers say the legislation has not had a meaningful impact on their farming.
“The PCP bill does not address the issues of pollution in agriculture,” says Ramachandra Ravi, a farmer in Gujarat who is fighting to protect his land.
“We have seen a rise in pollution.
We have seen huge losses of crop yield, because the quality of fertiliser has been reduced.
The prices of fertilisers have gone up,” he says.
Ravi, who is part of a farmer-led campaign in the state of Maharashtra called ‘Bharat Bhabha’, says he has lost over Rs 20,000 on crops since 2017 due to pollution.
“There are also many farmers in Maharashtra who have not even been able to sell their land due to this.”
Ravi has been fighting for years to protect the environment, but he says he does not have enough money to buy land, let alone fight to protect it.
“It is only a few hundred hectares, and it is the best place in the world for my land.
I have been fighting till the end for over 20 years.
But now, I have lost everything,” he said.
The battle for land and livelihoodThe fight for land rights is a global struggle.
A number of states in the US, the European Union and India are fighting to give their farmers the right to use the land.
In India, farmers have been demanding for decades for the right of the state to allot land to them.
In April, the Centre of Agricultural Policy and Research (CAPAR) released a report titled ‘Land Rights and the New Land’.
The report recommended that all state governments should set up special committees to oversee and ensure land rights are safeguarded.
The state government, for its part, has been moving towards the right-to-farm movement.
In 2016, the state government announced a Rs 1.5 lakh crore fund to improve the lives of farmers and other vulnerable groups, including farmers who are on bonded labour.