Agriculture has always been celebrated as the primary sector in India. Indian economy is a pro-agrarian economy, which literally means, agriculture is the pre-dominant sector of indian economy. According to 2001-11 census, 22% of Indian population are cultivators and agricultural laborers, i.e Farmers, Or to be precise “If you ate today, congratulations, directly or indirectly you’re involved and connected to agriculture and you’re a farmer too.”
Just to show the importance of agriculture in India – In spite of the Indian economy opening out to the world, shaking its hands to the globalization and achieving the mile-stones in its journey, close to 70% of Indian population still depends on agriculture for its livelihood, directly or indirectly.
Well, every plan and policy, for the growth of Indian economy aims at agricultural developments and it is justified, because gone are the days when we had to import even the food grains for agriculture in India and now are the days when we are able to export those very grains. Agriculture in India is seeing its bright days ,developments and government policies attraction etc.
Does that mean everything is looking bright in the context of “Indian Agriculture”? Is agriculture seeing its “brightest” (not the bright) day, the glowing sun? Or All these developments, brightness are merely the “shimmering stars” in front of the dark nights, to hide its real face?
A superficial analysis would tempt us to believe in those developments but behind all these growth & developments lies the reality that “Farmers” have to face, “Extreme poverty and financial crisis are driving them to let their pain end their lives, Suicide.” To present a clear picture of this concern, here are some data published by “Agriculture census of India” and by “Bloomberg” :- In last 20 years more than 3 lakh farmers have committed suicide in India. If we talk about recent data, In 2015-16 here are the number of farmer’s suicide – Maharashtra (3228), Telangana (898), Madhya Pradesh (868), Chhatisgarh (443), Karnatka (321), Andhra Pradesh (160) and the list goes on…
Now as they say, “Every problem has in it the seed of its own solution.”, It’s better to focus on the core reason and roots of the causes which driving farmers to attempt this harsh step. So, what’s the reason behind this tragic and heart wrenching condition of the 70% of our community? and What could be the possible ways to discriminate these travesty?
Key Reasons :-
Weather and climate
The weather of the globe has become erratic these days, and India is not untouched of this travesty. Untimed rain, excessive rainfall, drought, atmospheric changes, tsunami, deforestation etc are some of the main outcome of the erratic behavior of weather & climate changes. These changes are worth of great concern to a farmer. The problems are further exacerbated by the fact that 85% of precipitation in India happens because of rainfall and any disturbance in rain pattern could lead to a massive crop loss.
Agricultural Land and The input cost
In the era of globalization, where the whole world gradually moving towards Industrilization, so does india too. Real estate prices have gone up to such a level that people are finding it hard to buy a home as it is. In such circumstances it is unrealistic for the average people to think of owning farms for cultivation and If luckily they got the land then it’s not worth the farming or If it’s worth farming the input cost is so high, that it easily outnumbered the output.
High Debt & Stress
Luckily enough, If farmers got the fertile land, it’s very hard to pursue the farming these days for this very 70% of the community, where 93% of its population comes below the poverty line. And this leads them to take loan for farming and that too on very high taxes, (Most of the farmers, due to lack of education and awareness, take loan from local sahukars and zamindaars, and they lend money on very high rates.) and at the end of day it left these very farmers into the sea of debts, which ultimetly drives them to the home of deep stress,added by the family responsibilities.
Disppointing , Unsatisfactory and Distressing recognition of prices
Quoting the words of 35th president of USA, John F Kennedy – “The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, pays the freight both ways.”
One of the most crucial problems faced by farmers in India is regarding marketing. Most of them are not well educated and aware of the market happeings, ups and downs of the agri-business. “One irony comes, brings another.”, The laws in India arealso outdated and most often a farmer has no option but to sell his produce in regulated markets, where the middlemen are the ones making the maximum gains. Gone are the days when Indian farmers were blooming and gaining a great profit margin, and at that time our nation was the “The bird of gold.” If the middlemen can be eliminated then the farmers could have sold their products at better rates. On the other hand, the farmers have to be satisfied with the bare minimum, and that leads them to disappointment and left them with discouragement only .
Quality of seeds, pesticides, and fertilisers
Every one wants to gain profit in their respective work. For farmers the growing good amount of crops, in a small land is challenging. And for that reason they use chemicals, fertilizers, and to protect their farms and crops they use pesticides. What would happen when the medicne you take the betterment of your health starts to act in a opposite way? Yes, this will lead to a bad health and great illness, and this happen only when you take “Wrong” Or “Low Quality” medicines.
Same happens to farmers, due to lack of knowledge, awareness and presence of low quality, duplicate seeds, pesticides and fertilizers in the market, leads them to a bad result, The barren land and ruined crops.
Agri labors shortage (due to poverty and industrilization), Lack of technology, low wages, poor irrigation techniques, Alchohol addiction (due to stress & family responsibilities) are some of the few more reasons which lead farmers to end their painful survival and lost the race to win this very race, called life.
1) Problems in maintaining farm livestock owing to increasing costs
2) Problems in getting credit at good terms and conditions because of reluctance of commercial banks
3) Lack of proper irrigation
4) Absence of mechanisation
5) Insufficient transport facilities 6) Lack of education & awareness
Possible Solutions –
• They need to be educated about various facets of farming.
• Centres of excellence need to be set up to help them
• Agricultural universities need to discover new science-based practices and technologies
• Insurance is needed
• They need to be given better access to credit and at better terms and conditions
• Landholdings should be consolidated
• Organic manure should be used
• Mechanisation is needed
• Markets should be regulated
• Direct provision of capital to farmers by government, elemination of the middle men is required.
• Encouraging integrated, contract, and cooperative farming
• Developing water sheds.
Government and the policy makers should have to actively support the farmers and farming, and It should not only be printed on the closed diaries and white pages but on the field.
It’s a matter of great concern that “More than a quarter million of Indian farmers have committed suicide in past 15 years“, and at any cost, It should not be taken light handedly. “We, the common people also, should have to do everything for the betterment of our farmers and their lives.”
We have to remember that – “At least, once in our lives, we’ll need a doctor, a lawyer, an architect, but everyday three times a day we’ll need a farmer.”
Save Farmers, Save Yourself and Save the Nation.