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The Big Standoff - Indian Farmers Clash with Government

July 16, 2021

For months, tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting against new agricultural laws. Right now, the laws are on hold.

DW Dokumentationen | Bauernaufstand in Indien
Image: HR

The government of Narendra Modi wants to liberalize the agricultural market, ending fixed minimum prices for wheat and rice.

Indien Delhi | Tikri Border Station | Bauernproteste
Image: Aamir Ansari/DW

Many farmers are worried that the reforms will see them priced out of the market by the big corporations. The farmers have brought their case before the courts, blocked major highways and demonstrated in the capital. "We will keep protesting until the government retracts the farm laws. We will not go home until we’ve achieved our goal”, says Gora Singh, a farmer from the India state of Punjab. 

Archivbild I Indien I Protest von Bauern und Farmern
Image: Manish Swarup/AP

Reporter Oliver Mayer visited the farmers and met with their families, many of whom are desperate. Most of the farmers are poor and extremely worried about their future. Small-scale farming makes up more than 85 percent of India’s agriculture. Often, the farmers only have a few hectares of land. They feed nearly half of India’s 1.4 billion strong population. Guaranteed minimum prices benefit the small farmers. But in macroeconomic terms, the price controls are ineffective and expensive. Tens of thousands of farmers fear the agricultural reform spells the beginning of the end for their livelihoods.



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