Okanagan farmers rally in solidarity with growers in India

Click to play video: 'Punjabi Canadians ‘worried’ for families in India’s farmers’ protests'
Punjabi Canadians ‘worried’ for families in India’s farmers’ protests
Thousands of farmers are taking part in protests that have turned violent in India, causing concern for many Punjabi Canadians who have families taking part in the rallies. Kamil Karamali reports – Dec 3, 2020

Okanagan farmers rallied in solidarity with Indian farmers Sunday afternoon.

A motorcade, made up of cars, pick-up trucks, semis, and tractors, travelled from UBC Okanagan to downtown Kelowna.

The hundreds of attendees were honking their horns and displaying signs with slogans like, “No farmers, no future,” and “We support our farmers,” to bring attention to the plight of farmers in India.

Farmers in India are protesting new farm acts passed by the Indian parliament that will put an end to guaranteed crop prices and leave farmers to deal with large corporations as individuals.

“They are not only fighting only for themselves right now, they are fighting for the future generations,” said Gurman Buttar, a farmer and student, who attended the Okanagan rally.

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“If these corporations come in and take away all this power that the farmers have, … it is going to destroy farming as a whole and a huge community out there (whose) livelihood is based on that.”

Click to play video: 'India farmer protests: Trudeau says Canada will ‘always stand up’ for peaceful protests'
India farmer protests: Trudeau says Canada will ‘always stand up’ for peaceful protests

Demonstrators are concerned the new rules will mean the prices farmers can get for their crops will drop drastically, leading to economic devastation, Buttar explained.

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“These corporations are going to come in and drop the price of crops even more to where these farmers will not be making any money and they will be going in more debt,” Buttar said.

Agriculture supports more than half of India’s 1.3 billion people, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

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Protest rallies like the one held in the Okanagan are happening around the globe.

Similar rallies were held Saturday in the Lower Mainland, in Manitoba and in Nova Scotia.

Farm equipment was towed behind trucks as part of a Kelowna motorcade in solidarity with farmers in India. Jeff Martin / Global News

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