Published in The Nation on Feb 8th, 2021,
Since late November 2020, thousands of farmers have been protesting on the outskirts of the Indian capital, blocking roads in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana states. They demand a complete rollback of farm laws passed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government in September 2020.
A 40-second advertisement drawing attention to the ongoing farmers’ protests in India was aired during the Super Bowl, the annual championship game of the National Football League, in California on Sunday.
The video, featuring Fresno City Mayor Jerry Dyer, highlights how Indian farmers have been protesting for over 70 days against new farm laws passed by the Narenda Modi government, as they call for the reforms to be withdrawn.
The clip ends with the message “No Farmers, No Food, No Future”, along with the hashtag “#IStandWithFarmers”.
The Super Bowl is among the most watched sports matches in the United States.
Over the last few days, several international celebrities and activists have come forward to extend support for the ongoing farmers’ protests in India.
Farmers are protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.
According to the government, the laws allow farmers to sell their produce at places apart from their designated APMC market. They also aim at allowing contract farming under which they can enter into supply agreements with private firms for remunerative and pre-decided prices.
Farmers believe that the new laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system (MSP), leaving them at the mercy of big retailers.