Extreme weather events in India made women, children more vulnerable to modern slavery

Climate change-induced extreme weather events put women, children and minorities at risk of modern slavery and human trafficking. The phenomenon is on the rise in India, among other countries, warned the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Anti-Slavery International in a recent report.

Modern slavery — including debt bondage, bonded labour, early / forced marriage and human trafficking — converge with climate change, particularly climate shocks and climate-related forced displacement and migration, the report said.

The report observed what happened in Sundarbans, for instance.

The delta region is characterised by intense, recurrent and sudden onset disasters, as well as slow onset ecological degradation making large areas uninhabitable. Rising sea

— source downtoearth.org.in | Kiran Pandey | 21 Sep 2021

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How agriculture gave rise to one of the world’s most mysterious language families

A tiny grain of millet may have given birth to one of the most mysterious—and widespread—language families on Earth, according to the largest study yet of linguistic, archaeological, and genetic evidence from about a dozen countries across Asia. The Transeurasian languages, sometimes known as Altaic, include the languages of Siberia, Mongolia, Central Asia, and possibly Japan and the Korean Peninsula. The new study suggests the language family arose in northeastern China 9000 years ago, expanding with the spread of agriculture.

“It’s convincing,” says Peter Bellwood, an archaeologist at Australian National University who wasn’t involved with the work. “Languages don’t just go wandering off by themselves; they expand because the people who speak those languages spread.” Farming, he adds, is a strong reason for such an expansion.

The origins of so-called Transeurasian languages—about 80 at the highest count—are hotly debated. Some linguists believe they sprang from the same source, but others say extensive borrowing between ancient languages explains why certain sounds, terms, and grammatical features are common among many tongues, from Turkish to Tungusic. Some

— source science.org | Michael Price | 10 Nov 2021

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The Palestinian seed bank on target list

In my waking nightmare, I see a company of adrenaline-fueled Israeli soldiers breaking into the seed bank established by the Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees. Against my will I see them shattering and breaking, scattering seeds of baladi (heirloom) crops a moment before they are distributed to the farmers, burrowing into the deep freezer where they are being preserved so they will last for another 70 years. I see them destroying the equipment in the laboratory and kicking at the sabra plants on the steps. And whatever they don’t destroy – they steal. Or “confiscate,” in army jargon.

This nightmare was sparked by Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s recent announcement declaring six Palestinian NGOs to be terror groups, among them the agricultural union. Already earlier, before the declaration, the army broke into the offices of the organizations, stealing computers and documents, and it closed the main office of the agricultural union for six months.

The bitter experience of several decades indicates that ignorant soldiers, who are fed with fake depictions of Palestinian society, are certainly capable of destroying within an hour or two the years-long labor of dozens of agronomists and the cumulative knowledge of the many farmers with whom they worked. Our soldiers are programmed in such a way that

— source Jews For Justice For Palestinians | Amira Hass | 8 Nov 2021

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Most Farmers Who Died at Delhi’s Borders Owned Less Than 3 Acres Land

Contrary to the claim that it is mostly ‘big farmers’ who are protest at Delhi’s borders, a study conducted by two economists associated with Punjabi University at Patiala has revealed that those who died during the protest cultivated no more than an average of 2.94 acres of land.

In all, 600 farmers have allegedly died in the protest that is now close to a year.

“The average size of the cultivated plot goes down to 2.26 acres if we include landless deceased farmers who were cultivating on the contracted land,” revealed the study authored by Lakhwinder Singh, former professor of economics at Punjabi University, and Baldev Singh Shergill, assistant professor of social sciences at Punjabi University’s Guru Kashi Campus in Bathinda.

The study, according to Singh, was based on data on 460 of the 600 farmers who died in the last 11 months of protest. The families of the deceased were contacted personally while conducting the study, Singh told The Wire.

— source thewire.in | Vivek Gupta | 07/Nov/2021

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India Recorded 1.53 Lakh Suicides in 2020, Over 10,000 in Farm Sector Alone

India recorded 1,53,052 suicides — an average 418 daily — in 2020, with 10,677 of them by persons engaged in farming sector, according to the latest Central government data. The 2020 figures were higher in comparison to 2019 when 139,123 suicides were recorded in the country, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) stated in its annual report. Suicide rate (per lakh population) also increased from 10.4 in 2019 to 11.3 last year, the NCRB, which functions under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), stated.

— source newsclick.in | 29 Oct 2021

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Digital Farm Technology Is Not the Climate Panacea Corporations Want You to Think It Is

Smartphones have revolutionised our way of living. No need to visit a library when looking for information—we just go online. Convenience is convincing. But can digital technology solve all the problems in the world?

The idea of going high-tech in agriculture gained traction as a silver bullet against world hunger and climate breakdown during the corporate-backed UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) last month.

“New and innovative technologies such as biotechnologies, precision agriculture and digital agriculture […] need to be harnessed to improve food systems,” in the words of the UNFSS Scientific Group.


While technology is often associated with the pursuit of comfort and progress, it isn’t always so. Not everyone ends up as a winner.

— source theecologist.org | Astrud Lea Beringer | Oct 19, 2021

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Average debt of farm households up 57% in five years till 2018

The average outstanding loan per agricultural household increased 57.7 per cent to Rs 74,121 in 2018 compared with Rs 47,000 five years ago in 2013, according to the latest findings of a survey by the National Statistical Office.

The findings of the survey — Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households and Land Holdings of Households —in Rural India, 2019 — released by the Ministry of Programme Implementation and Statistics on Friday also estimated that the average monthly income from different sources rose 59 per cent to Rs 10,218 based on the ‘paid out expenses’ approach in 2018-19 compared with Rs 6,426 in 2012-13. More than 50 per cent of the increase in income was on account of higher monthly wages, which almost doubled to 4,063 in 2018 compared with Rs 2,071 in 2013.

In the ‘paid out expenses’ approach, all out of pocket expenditure incurred for each type of input is taken into account. The agricultural year in India begins July and ends the following June.

— source indianexpress.com | Harikishan Sharma | Sep 11, 2021

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Union minister’s son hit the protesters with his cars, 8 people died

Until Sunday morning, Banbirpur under Tikonia police station, a small village which falls under Lakhimpur Kheri district headquarter and very close to the India-Nepal border, was peaceful. But, in the afternoon, the village witnessed a bloodbath where at least eight people, including four farmers and a journalist were killed and over 13 others were severely injured after a convoy of three SUVs, including one owned by Union Minister of State for Home and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Ajay Mishra Teni, hit a group of farm protesters. The incident allegedly took place as the farmers were dispersing from the protest site when all of sudden, three cars in the convoy of Mishra ran over the famers, alleged Gurmeet Singh Virk, a farmer who was leading the protest. An eyewitness, Paurndeep Singh, alleged that minister’s son Ashish tried to flee after his vehicle was overturned. He shot dead one farmer who tried to catch him after he fell on the ground and tried to escape from the spot. He continuously fired multiple rounds in the air to keep farmers away and police rescued him, he alleged.

— source newsclick.in | 05 Oct 2021

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Agroecology Is the Solution to World Hunger

Although it is the sharp edge of the battle to end hunger, you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching a reality TV cooking show. Under the low peak of Bwabwa Mountain in Malawi, in a village on a tributary of the Rukuru River, about 100 people gather around pots and stoves. Children crowd around a large mortar, snickering at their fathers’, uncles’ and neighbors’ ham-fisted attempts to pound soybeans into soy milk. At another station, a village elder is being schooled by a man half his age in the virtues of sweet potato doughnuts. At yet another, a woman teaches a neighbor how he might turn sorghum into a nutritious porridge. Supervising it all, with the skill of a chef, the energy of a children’s entertainer and the resolve of a sergeant, is community organizer Anita Chitaya. After helping one group with a millet sponge loaf, she moves to share a tip about how mashed soy and red beans can be turned into patties by the eager young hands of children who would typically never volunteer to eat beans.

There is an air of playful competition. Indeed, it is a competition. At the end of the afternoon the food is shared, and there are prizes for both the best-tasting food (the doughnuts win hands down) and the food most likely to be added to folks’ everyday diets (the porridge triumphs because although everyone likes deep-fried food, doughnuts are a pain to cook, and the oil is very expensive).

This is a Recipe Day in Bwabwa, a village of around 800 people in northern Malawi. These festivals are sociological experiments to reduce domestic inequality and are part of a

— source | Raj Patel | Sep 22, 2021

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The Globalized, Corporate-Led Food System Is Failing Us

More than 500 civil society groups boycotted the United Nations Food Systems Summit in New York for giving corporations an outsized role in framing the agenda. We speak with ​​leading food advocates in Ethiopia, India and the United States, who lay out their concerns: Million Belay, general coordinator of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa; Raj Patel, journalist and research professor at the University of Texas at Austin; and Shalmali Guttal, executive director of Focus on the Global South. “There is growing hunger in the world, and there is growing inequality and growing poverty and unemployment,” Guttal says. “This industrialized, globalized, corporate-led food system is failing us.”

I think I would love to focus on the institution rather than on the individual. Maybe they have selected her because she’s a woman, she’s a Black woman, she’s an African woman, as a form of representing this as a global agenda. Maybe, you know, in terms of image, she fits that bill.

But the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa has 13 board members — one-three. And eight of them are from outside Africa. And it’s registered in the U.S. And the Rockefeller Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, some companies are in the board of AGRA. So this is an outside-controlled institution. And this shows that, you know, the corporate world wanted to control this event.

— source democracynow.org | Sep 23, 2021

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