India – A country where the agriculture sector alone accounts for 13.9% GDP in its economy, whose 50% workforce is in agriculture, 60% population is directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture, ranked second worldwide for farms output and is one of the biggest exporters of major crops in the world.
Still, the condition of farmers is worse than that of beggars.
They work hard day and night, invest whatever they can still they do not get even the amount they have invested. This leads them to take loans from private lenders at a high interest rate and from here the journey of debts start – Again they don’t get the proper price for their crops and they take loans and it continues until they lose all their assets and are left with only one thing i.e. Their Life.
Death of Farmers is one of the most important issues of our country that we need to adhere to.
300,000 suicides of farmers have been reported since 1995.
1.Water Availability and Management
Some parts of our country face severe drought and some have floods. In last some years, monsoon failure and floods have affected agriculture sector.
Many farmers grow cash crops like cotton, sugarcane, paddy etc. which require large amount of water in areas where water level is low. Lack of water availability and the poor management of available water is one of the greatest reasons of crop failure and the poor condition of farmers. We all have witnessed that happened in some districts of Maharashtra in last six months, where water was not even available for drinking and was sent through trains.
2. Crop Pattern
At many places, farmers follow the same old crop patterns which leads to the loss of essential nutrients in the soil and lowers down the level of ground water.
Lack of knowledge about the field, climate, water availability and nutrients available in the soil cause the production of wrong crops at a wrong place or at the wrong time.
3. Low Prices of Crops
Farmers work hard along with their families day and night, invest whatever they can and generate very low income, sometimes even lower than what they invest.
In our country every manufacturing company has the right to decide the cost of products they are making than Why farmers do not have THE RIGHT to decide THE PRICE of their crops ?
4. High Debts
Continuous monsoon failure, low prices of crops, low crop yield, alcohol addiction, unable to give proper education and food to their children, and other factors compel them to take loans on high interest rate from private lenders which leave them with Stress and High Debts.
~ Problems were there, are there and will be there but for the betterment of the condition of farmers and the future of our country, we must take some major actions immediately to resolve the issue.
1. Proper management of water and Linking all the major river basins to each other.
In an article by R K Sivanappan who is a Scientist and had worked in this field for more than 60 years, states that “water problem in India is a man made problem not the fault of nature”. India gets an annual rainfall of 1150 mm as compared to the world average of 840 mm and 400 mm in Israel. Israel is managing the water successfully whereas in Cherrapunji where the rainfall is about 11,000 mm, it’s availability is a problem for 2-3 months before the commencement of monsoon every year.
The available water is sufficient even if the population of world is increased to 25 billion i.e. 2 to 4% of the present population.
Every year we lose around 85% of rainwater which if managed properly can protect many areas of the country from flood and water can be send to the areas facing drought.
2. Making Farmers Aware and having simpler Government processes –
The knowledge of proper crop pattern in a particular area is must to get maximum benefits from the crop produced. Many online portals like Kishan Sewa Kendras, different programs and schemes are launched by government from time to time to make farmers aware about their land and to help them in farming strategies. However, they don’t reach to every farmer and there are many complex processes which cease farmers to avail those facilities.
Proper marketing and promotional strategies are required to reach every farmer and to get the maximum from all the programmes and schemes government launches. Making those processes simple and easily available would help farmers in a great manner.
3. Right to decide the price of their crops –
Only a manufacturer knows how much it takes to produce something. Farmers should be given the right to decide the price of their crops or a committee comprising of Government officials of state and Farmer leaders should decide the price of crop every year.
4. Making it easy to take loan from the banks –
It is very complex and difficult for few farmers to take loans from the banks which results in moving of small farmers towards private lenders. Some changes should be made in this process to help the poor farmers.
5. Multiple income sources –
Farmers should be taught about various things they could do with farming which helps them to increase their income. For example- Animal Husbandry, pottery, fisheries, timber, growing of multiple crops etc.
Our every action directly or indirectly affects the country and as an individual we can do many things to bring a change in agricultural sector.
What we can do as an Individual?
- Water Management– In our day to day life we come across many situations/places where we can manage water more efficiently like, water left behind after RO filtration can be used for other purposes and we can reduce the use of water while washing the vehicles, clothes, etc.
- Save Food– Whenever we waste food, we increase it’s demand which leads to the higher price of vegetables and fruits in the market but that increased price never reaches to the farmers.
Every single piece of food that we can save can help someone to feed themselves or their families along with lowering down the price of vegetables and fruits in the market.
- Educate Someone in Need – Once in a week or month we all can take at least an hour to teach someone, which will help him/her to grow with more knowledge and prevent him/her to become a laborer.
We never know when our actions can transform someone’s life.
Farmers are one of the most important parts of our society. They feed millions of children every day but their own children sleep hungry.
There are many reasons for their present situation and many solutions are needed to tackle it.
We all can’t make difference at every point but surely can make some differences at some points.
No matter who we are, how much we earn, where we live, without a Farmer we can’t survive even a single day.
Everything starts from a single step and Yes We all Can Make a Difference.