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Academic warns of peasants abuse in globalisation


As globalisation reaches its peak, it is important to consider the plight of peasant farmers to protect them from oppression by bigger market forces, Indian academic Prabhat Patnaik has warned.

BY Tinotenda Munyukwi

Making a presentation during the Sam Moyo Memorial Lecture in Harare on Tuesday, Patnaik said there was need for all progressive elements to protect peasant farmers from encroachment by international capital within the current era of globalisation.

“It is no longer a matter only of liberating the peasantry, or at least substantial sections of it, from the oppressive concentration of land and social power in the hands of landlords; it now involves, in addition, the protection and the promotion of peasant agriculture from encroachment by international capital (with which domestic big capital is also integrated),” Patnaik warned.

Small-holder farmers in Zimbabwe, who occupy an estimated 16 million hectares of land, have faced manipulation and abuse at the hands of those behind market forces who season after season determine prices of their outputs with stringent obligations that they are expected to meet in order to pay back borrowed inputs from various financial lenders.

Patnaik said the accumulation of capital being unleashed against the peasantry in the current era of globalisation must never be regarded as a marker of modernity, development or progress.

He said there was need for change in the perception of globalisation and a new attitude towards it since the protection of petty production would necessarily require, as a proximate condition, a degree of delinking from globalisation.

“The primitive accumulation of capital unleashed against the peasantry and petty production in the current era of globalisation by international finance capital, which is the main driving force behind contemporary imperialism, must be resisted by all progressive elements, and not accepted as a marker of modernity, development, or progress,” he said.

The lecture was presented in memory of Sam Moyo, former director of the African Institute of Agrarian Studies, a perceived giant of agrarian studies, who died as a result of a car accident in New Delhi, India, in 2015.

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