February 23, 2020

Countrywide Protests planned against Trump’s visit

RAISING slogans like: “go back trump”, “hands off Indian agriculture”, “no to opening up of poultry and dairy market to US products”, the AIKS has decided to build a strong opposition to the visit of Donal Trump, president of the United States of America.  The AIKS in a statement issued on February 17, has opposed the decision of the Narendra Modi led BJP government to invite US president to India on February 24 and 25, 2020 and facilitate the signing of trade agreements to open up the dairy and poultry market to US products. India has apparently offered to allow imports of dairy products, chicken legs, turkey and agricultural produce worth about Rs 42,000 crore every year. Nearly 100 million (10 crore) dairy farmers, a large number of them women and poor farmers as well as many more poultry farmers will be adversely affected by such a move. Workers associated with the dairy and poultry sectors will also be deprived of their livelihood. Import duty on fruits like apples, blueberries, cherries, nuts like walnuts, almonds, as well as crops like soyabean, wheat, maize, rice etc., are also expected to be drastically reduced  from 100 per cent to as low as 10 per cent or lower, which will adversely affect our farmers. The BJP government, which claimed that Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership(RCEP) would adversely affect farmers in India and under pressure of protests had not signed the pact is now trying to please its imperialist masters by going into an agreement which will be even more disastrous. 

Dairy sector in India provides livelihood to nearly 10 crore peasant households and due to the cooperative network built through the ages 71 per cent of the price of milk goes back to the peasant households. If India agrees to withdraw the existing 64 per cent tax on import of milk and milk products as demanded by the US, then the price of milk will crash in the domestic market which will hurt the interests of the dairy farmers. Poultry sector in India provides income and livelihood to 4.8 crore (48 Million) households and this sector has an annual turn-over of  Rs 80,000 crore covering organised as well as unorganised poultry sections. If cheap poultry products are allowed from USA into the domestic market it will be the death knell for millions of small and middle farm households as well as traders and workers associated with the sector. The impending regressive trade agreements under the pressure of the US government will have devastating impact especially on small and marginal farmers and agricultural workers that constitute 85 per cent of the agrarian community. In an election year Trump is looking for boosting the agricultural sector in USA by increasing exports and Narendra Modi is seeking to bail him out by opening up the Indian markets. This will be at the peril of Indian farmers who cannot compete with the highly subsidised US farmers. It also comes at a time when the neo liberal policies have brought havoc across the globe and Indian economy as well as the global economy is facing intensifying recession.

AIKS calls upon the peasantry and working class to organise widespread protests across the country. Leaflet distribution, demonstrations, effigy burning and mass public meetings demanding the BJP government to withdraw from its move to sign trade agreements detrimental to the interests of the peasants and workers with the US.  AIKS will join hands with all other like-minded organisations to mobilise the people on February 24, 2020 the date of the visit of Donald Trump to India to sign strategic partnership and trade agreements.