NewsCovering Kern County


Farming laws in India could pose worldwide effects, Kern County leaders weigh in

"It's just the small farmers are saying let us keep our small piece of land, so we don't also lose this. This ability to determine what our lives are like day today."
Posted at 11:24 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-21 05:31:14-05

BAKERSFIELD,Calif. (KERO) — Thousands are taking to the streets to protest the three new agricultural laws put into place not long ago in New Delhi India.
The farmers are asking the government to repeal them. India’s prime minister says it's to modernize Indian agriculture.

That conflict hits close to home for some people here in Kern County, including activists Manpreet Kaur, a staff member of the Jakara Movement in Kern County.
She says those laws hurt the income of the farmers.

"Imagine [they are] like small-time farmers, we're growing whatever wheat, crop or grapes whatever we're growing," said Kaur. "And we have no say, and no determination as to what that's worth."

Kaur says the growing concern for the Indian farmers' protests is that at times they have become violent.
She says journalists, protesters have been arrested, attacked, and even censored on social media by the Indian government regarding the protest.
That's why Kaur and others say they are pushing to bring awareness.

"Because international attention is what makes this Modi regime uncomfortable--- because the relationships they have with the United States mean a lot to them," said Kaur.
"So if the average United States resident pays attention and asks these questions of their government, especially of our federal government and especially of our new President-- this is an opportunity to do something different."

The protest has captured worldwide attention in their push to demand India's Prime Minister to repeal the farming laws, limit the government's part in agriculture.
Kaur says this appears to the largest protest in India's history.

"It's just the small farmers saying 'let us keep our small piece of land, so we don't also lose this ability to determine what our lives are like day to day,' "said Kaur.

Several leaders in the community have spoken out against these new laws, such as--- Senator Shannon Grove, Rudy Salas, Vince Fong, and Congressman David Valadao.
Valadao says everyone should care about this issue because it could impact us all.

"It also plays a role in our lives here, anytime that you force an entire farming community to try to survive at the lowest possible price--it affects prices worldwide," Valado
"So this is going to affect everyone, even people who have no connection to India. It will affect their livelihoods here, making sure that there's a voice here in the U.S. saying that we stand with them and that we support them."

There will be a protest in support of the farmers of India right here in Kern County on Sunday, at noon off of Stockdale Highway and Old River.