Farmers Protest: Agristack

   Posted by: aman   in Other

Day 233

Toll 538+


The history of the world is full of stories of how countries have fought colonisation. Yesterday, at the Singhu border, a speaker applauded the farmers protest for being the first in the world to resist colonization before it has happened. This is how…

On 19th May, 2021, in response to an RTI query, the Ministry of Agriculture provided a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Agriculture and Microsoft, and a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to verify Farmer’s Database (100 Villages from six states) “to develop farmer interface for smart and well-organized agriculture, including post-harvest management and distribution”.

The MoU proposes that farmer’s data will be shared with Microsoft to authenticate their identity for the receipt of entitlements under agricultural schemes. It will be a central geo-tagged farmer database linking the land records of farmers across the country that would integrate data from PM Kisan, Soil Health Cards, and the Pradhan Mantri Crop Insurance Scheme as well as other data.

This database will be leveraged by Microsoft and its local partner CropData to build post harvest management solutions and capture agricultural datasets such as crop yields, weather data, market demand and prices. This pilot sounds very similar to Agristack – a collection of technologies and digital databases, proposed by the Central Government focusing on India’s farmers and the agricultural sector. Basically, Agristack is an algorithm based decision making that will impact farmers’ rights without transparency or accountability. This means, farmers lose sovereignty of their land.

This is a billion dollars of investment and more than 50 per cent is concentrated with just 5 start-ups. Less competition brings more consolidation which gives the bargaining power to these companies and not the farmers. The ground reality of agriculture is that an overwhelming majority – 86 per cent according to a 2015-16 survey – is small and marginal, less that 5 acres and 2.5 acres. Among these farmers, in many cases the land titles are not clear because of disputes. In the upcoming Agristack digital world, all such farm lands will be sucked into government pool, all unclear owners, laborers and sharecroppers of the land will be erased out of existence.

Hence the protest. Imagine if we city folks were to lose our jobs, our homes, our bank accounts, basically the very freedom to be who we are, what we do?

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