The condition of most of the farmers is horrible. Nearly 80 percent of the farmers in India belong to Marginal (less than 1 ha) or small farmers (1–2 ha) category. The agriculture supports nearly 50 percent of the employment but contributes only 15 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Every day there is news coming on farmer’s suicides from different parts of the country.
The people sitting in air conditioner rooms are devising the policies to alleviate the problems faced by the farmers who work under the burning sun. They will not come to know the real problems of the farmers. I have heard that the policies are driven after proper consultation with farmers but I have never seen/heard any person coming to my village where the only occupation is agriculture to take views /points from farmers.
The conditions of the farmers in India are as follows:-
Money Lenders still play a major role in agriculture credit where the interest paid to them will be more than the profit that one can earn from cultivated crops.
MNREGA Effect: It is very difficult to get labors after MNREGA. If someone talks about the de-merits of MNREGA is adjudged as anti-poor. But the reality is MNREGA ruined agriculture with labor shortages and the schema is anti-agriculture. Instead, the government can enroll people under MNREGA and give them 100 days of wage and allow them to work in agriculture.
Productivity vs Price: The crop price is inversely proportional to productivity. If the productivity is more then the price will be less and vice-versa.
Good rainfall, good productivity, and good prices never ever come together. So the income of the farmers will be either marginal or no profit or loss. Only the large farmers can get used for machines and get good productivity with less production cost.
Nowadays, the cost of paddy cultivation is the same as the final output. Only the paddy grasses are the profit of farmers which they can use it as fodder for cattle. Crops will be destroyed by too much rainfall or drought or if everything is good and productivity is more then the price will be less.
Urban consumers who used to get elite media attention will protest if the food prices go up but they will not understand the problems faced by the farmers.
“Cost of Onion: 100 – 150 Rs per/kg is breaking news. But when farmers sell Onion 1 Rs per/kg does not become breaking news”
Middlemen: These are the people who earn by sucking the farmers’ blood. We used to sell for example onion 10 rupees s/kg but the same I get in other places for 50 rupees/kg most the times.
Every farmer wants their children to move out of agriculture because they know the difficulty of agriculture.
There is ‘N’ number of schemes introduced by the Government and implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, NABARD and central/state agencies. But I feel not even 10 percent has reached the farmers.
The media is focusing only on urban people and targeting them. They will not advertise any of the schemes which will be helpful to farmers until unless it affects the urban. The government has to advertise the schemes in local languages and need to create more awareness programs in villages.
A good amount of investment, proper awareness about government schemes and markets to sell, a good amount of land and water will give a pleasant life for farmers.