Uttar Pradesh Farmers hand out Potatoes for Free in Delhi to protest low prices

Uttar Pradesh Farmers hand out Potatoes for Free in Delhi to protest low prices

Last Wednesday in Delhi, potato farmers from Uttar Pradesh handed out free potatoes to the public in protest against the steeply falling prices of the vegetable in Agra.

Aamir, leader of the potato farmers:

"The government wants us to store our crop in cold storage. But the truth is that the price our crop fetches us is way less than the cost of keeping them in cold storage."
Yuduvir Singh, another farmer from Agra:

"We have been facing a loss for the last 3 years. Anyway we have to throw away our crops ā€” so instead of throwing it there we are disposing them here to make the government understand how dire our situation has become."
Children of farmers who had committed suicide performed a play depicting the hardships that a farmer's family has to face. Pallavi, one of the children, said: "If the Prime Minister can let the big people get away with debt, then why not us?"

Addressing the protest, Rani, wife of a farmer from Tamil Nadu who had committed suicide after being humiliated by bank officials, said, "The bank officials asked my husband how he was able to buy clothes for me if he was unable to repay his loans. Why is it always the poor who are humiliated?"

Former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Digvijaya Singh, who was also present at Jantar Mantar, talked about the economics of the movement. "The latest policies of the government such as demonetisation have increased black markets that have affected the farmers' sales. They have also introduced plans like 0% import duty on wheat ā€” destroying a major percentage of business for farmers." He further said that "This is the time to rise above party politics and support the farmers in their fight for justice."

Raju Shetty, farmers' leader and a member of Lok Sabha, on Wednesday raised the issue in the Lok Sabha and questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report. Shetty, who later walked out from the session, said, "I do not want to stay in the House when it does not have time to listen to the sufferings of the farmers."

Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav said, "It is almost like our political representatives live in a different universe. When it comes to voting they think that a farmer can be bought by their false promises." V M Singh, convenor of the sangharsh committee, plans to take out four more Yatras across the country culminating in Delhi on Gandhi Jayanti. They promise to launch an indefinite countrywide agitation if the government does not respond to their demands by then.

Elsewhere in India protests have been held as well.