In its council meeting from July 18th to 20th in Rajapalayam, Virudhunagar, the All India Kisan Sabha called for a boycott of the Israeli drip irrigation company Netafim. Netafim is responsible for furthering Israeli colonization of Palestinian lands, and is also pushing for anti-farmer, corporate farming models in India. The AIKS Council Meeting called for a boycott of Netafim, taking forward its commitment to the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Read their full statement here:
Israel started its ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their lands 70 years ago. More than 50% Palestinians are refugees and denied their right to return by Israel. Those remaining on their land are confined to 13% of their historic land. For over 50 years, Israel has been illegally occupying West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza. A system of apartheid segregates Palestinians, who face daily violence and humiliation. Since 2002, an 8-metre high cement wall is confining them in ghettos on their own land. Israel carries out periodic massacres: just in the last few months it has killed over 150 Palestinians in Gaza. It fully controls agricultural areas in occupied West Bank, denying Palestinian farmers access to their own land.
The expulsion of indigenous farmers to be substituted by the Israeli colonial project has transformed Palestine from a flourishing farming economy to a militarised state and Israel uses land not to produce food for people but profits for big business. The colonization of Palestinian lands is made possible by Israeli agribusiness corporations. They are the agents of Israeli regime that steal agricultural land, water and other resources to profiteer from injustice and deprive Palestinian farmers from their right to land and livelihood. Leading among these corporations is Netafim, which also has a growing market in India.
Netafim is part of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana’s Micro Irrigation scheme, ‘More Crop Per Drop’. In the market, Netafim produces expensive drip irrigation equipment, a technology which was developed in India centuries ago and has many local alternatives. Netafim has been listed by the UN as a profiteer from Israeli war crimes and has faced allegations of corruption. It has run projects promoting Israeli agricultural models that farmers movements in Andhra Pradesh/Telangana have stopped because of their devastating impact on their lives. Yet, states continue to finance its experiments on Indian soil. All the profits Netafim receives from India and the legitimation it receives by being in the ‘More Crop Per Drop’ scheme finance and sustain its theft of Palestinian resources and impoverishment of Palestinian farmers.
There is a simple step we can take to support the struggle of Palestinian farmers, and stop the encroachment of detrimental Israeli agro-technology in India. This AIKC Meeting calls upon to
- All farmers using drip irrigation system to boycott Netafim
- Demand that Netafim be excluded from the ‘More Crop Per Drop’ scheme
- All State Governments not to patronise Netafim.