California’s Sikh Farmers Celebrate Success of Yearlong Protest Against Attempted Agricultural Market Reforms in India
SACRAMENTO, Nov. 23, 2021 – For the past year, India’s farmers have engaged in massive protests challenging agricultural market reforms advanced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Confronted by unrelenting opposition, Modi last week announced his government’s intention to rescind his controversial reforms.
Approximately 60% of India’s population is engaged in farming and the state of Punjab, the historical homeland of Sikhs, is a major farm production region for India. A key reason why India’s farmers were able to sustain their yearlong protest was due to the active support of California’s Sikh community, many of whom farm in California’s Central Valley and have contributed greatly to our state’s heritage of winegrape growing.
“The California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) applauds the decision of the Modi government to bring a peaceful conclusion to these protests,” CAWG Director of Government Relations Michael Miiller said. “We hope Prime Minister Modi will take this opportunity to seek constructive dialog with India’s farmers on the best path forward for reforming India’s agricultural economy. The United States is home to more than a half-million Punjabi Americans, many of whom are Sikhs who first settled in California’s Central Valley to farm, and we want to celebrate their success in supporting these protests.”