Farmers from 16 states of India demand plans towards building a climate-proof, equal, sustainable and resilient India
Bhubaneshwar, 10th September: The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the limitations and vulnerabilities of our existing food systems. It has also highlighted the need for affordable access to safe and nutritious food to be fit, healthy and to boost our immunity against various infections and illnesses. It is time that we strengthen and re-strategize our systems. Farmers not only continue to struggle for a fair price but have to bear the brunt of the broken supply chains. The non-availability of markets during the lockdown has shown the fragility and fractures in the system. We believe that future choices should foreground inclusive, holistic, and comprehensive systematic changes that make us resilient and responsive to further environmental, economic or health crises of even greater magnitude than Covid-19. To demand the same, Greenpeace India along with the local communities in Odisha has floated an encouraging message for the people of India at the Kaliakan river block, Puri, Odisha to pledge and move towards a better future.
Greenpeace India is also creating a space for farmers and consumers to express their solidarity and voice their support for a recovery that is towards better. Farmers from 16 states of India, namely Delhi NCR, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir, and Assam demand sustainable farming practices as post-COVID green recovery plans that improve productivity and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with the environment.
Ishteyaque Ahmed, the Senior Campaigner at Greenpeace India, said, “It is time to reimagine our planning and decisions towards making our food systems more resilient, ecologically sustainable, socially equitable and accessible. We need to search and research solutions that have the potential to empower the vulnerable and minimize our dependency on fossil fuels and move towards renewables to also mitigate the rapidly increasing challenges of climate change.”
With regard to post-COVID-19 recovery plans, Greenpeace India demands that the government must ensure all the future plannings are in tune with mitigating and addressing climate change issues. We need to adopt alternatives that ensure a smooth transition from fossils to renewables. Decentralized models of renewable energy and employment with ecology needs to be promoted. On the agriculture front, our policies should envisage programs to create an enabling environment for small and marginal farmers to steadily move towards natural and ecological farming practices. We will also have to ensure that our food system is capable of ensuring food security and safe and nutritious food for all, and is not extractive for the environment. While planning for the future we will have to remember that the health of the soil, plants, biodiversity, water bodies, animals, environment, and humans is interconnected.
“When this pandemic ends, as an organization and society, our future potential will be defined by the choices we make. Our responsibilities will be to connect with individuals and their stories of resilience to a new landscape of progressive possibilities. Greenpeace India believes Covid-19 is an unintended disruption that is leading our societies, now more connected than ever to relook at the present and reimagine a sustainable and just future for India,” adds Ishteyaque.
The government must consider green recovery plans that reflect collective hope, confidence, and an intention to turn this crisis into an opportunity and set the direction firmly towards building a climate-proof, equal, sustainable and resilient India.
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The COVID19 crisis has revealed the vulnerability of our food, economic, healthcare, and welfare systems. We have the power to move humanity towards a better future.