Farmers are called Annadatta in India as they have taken a big responsibility of the production of crops but the changing scenario has created many problems for the farmers in India. Before discussing the various problems faced by the farmers let us understand some basic concepts regarding agriculture in India. So that we will be able to understand the problems of Indian agriculture and various problems faced by Indian farmers.
Approximately 55% of the population depend on agriculture for their day-to-day life that is why agriculture is known as the basic culture of our country.
The agriculture sector is called the primary sector in the economy which contributes approximately 18 % of the GDP and creates lots of jobs.
Agriculture has a great contribution to the economy even though they are facing many problems which are being ignored for a long time.
Now, let’s discuss the problems faced by the farmers:
1. Dependence on monsoon for their irrigation leads to uncertainty in their agriculture production and the changing climate creates variability in the rain intensity. According to data, only 36% of agricultural land has irrigation facilities.
2. Decreasing groundwater level created an extra burden of artificial irrigation to farmers, now they have to use a pump set which has increased the output cost. It also creates a regional imbalance due to the unavailability of water.
3. Decreasing landholding area because increasing population creates an onus on the agricultural land. According to a report, per head, the holding of land is 1.08 hectares only.
4. Inefficient use of mechanization because the landholding is small. The machines are mainly intended to work on big farms for efficient results. This results in post-harvest losses i.e. approximately 25 to 30% of total production
5. Poor backward and forward linkage leads to sell the product to middlemen which results in very less income to the farmers.
6. Poor infrastructure like logistics, infrastructure, supply chain, cold storage, and warehouses impetus farmers to sell their products to the middle man at a very less price when the production is more after season. The non-availability of infrastructure facilities is a big curse to small farmers because even after very good production they suffer a loss due to the lack of storage facilities as the farmers can’t keep their food grains in open for a long time.
7. Disguised employment in which the labour is more than the required in the agriculture sector which leads to a decrease in productivity and efficiency.
8. Poor participation of the private sectors creates less investment in the agriculture sector which puts a lot of burden on the farmers for self-care of everything.
9. Unscientific farming and more focus on traditional farming reduce land productivity, uncertainty, and less income.
10. Monocropping is creating a problem for farmers because it decreases the fertility of the soil. Hence, with time the productivity decreases, and demand for more synthetic fertilizers increases.
11. Unavailability of the certified seeds is also an issue for the farmers.
12. Informal debt of the farmers are increasing day by day due to decrease in productivity and natural disaster which is a very big problem for the poor farmers.
13. Poor Hygiene and quality are also posing challenges to the farmers. The global standards are not followed by the farmers due to unawareness.
14 . Feminization of agriculture due to increasing migration of the male members from one state to other states.
15. Area of agriculture decreasing as in 2010-11 only 159.5 mi ha reduce to 157 mi ha in 2015-16
Importance of agriculture and farmers and why their problems should be resolved with high priority:
Agriculture has huge significance in our economy and the farmers are continuously contributing and sustaining agriculture. Hence we need to understand the benefits of agriculture and farmers from an economic point of view;
1. Agriculture provides huge employment, approximately 55% of the population is engaged in this profession. Hence agriculture has all the potential to alleviate poverty, more income, and increase the standard of living of the farmers.
2. It helps to reduce malnutrition as food provide us various nutrients that make our health good
3. Farmers in the agriculture profession provide food security to our country through agricultural production
4. Agriculture export contribute 10% of our country total export
5. it helps to improve GDP and its contribution is approximate 18%.
In spite of the above-mentioned benefits, the farmers are the poorest strata of the economic cycle and they are continuously exploited for their work which leads to suicide.
According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 12% of total suicides committed are by farmers. The huge psychological pressure and various types of problems of our farmers force them to take harsh steps like suicide.
Recently some farm bills were introduced and converted to act through legislation to provide a way to remove the middleman and provide an opportunity for contract farming but farmers are agitating against the act so the government needs to solve the problems of the farmers through dialogues and discussions.
Important steps taken by the government to resolve the problems faced by the farmers:
After Green Revolution, the government started various schemes to provide an equal opportunity to all farmers, to sustain the agriculture sector, provide food security to our country and raise the income level of farmers. Some of the important schemes by the government are mentioned below;
1. Pradhanmantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana in which 6000 rupees are provided to farmers who have less than 2 hectares of land through DBT (direct transfer benefit) but the problem is that it left landless farmers out from the bill.
2. Pradhanmantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana: The main aim of this program – The area of irrigation has to increased and dependency on monsoon needs to decreased as much as possible. It also focuses on the groundwater or aquifer and the Motto is per drop more crop.
3. National Agriculture Market which is a trading portal with a single-window and tries to unify all areas of our country’s markets and to bring information and uniformity related to agricultural prices.
4. Prampragat Krishi Vikas Yojana focuses on organic farming and is intended to convert the production of agriculture to healthy and full of nutrients.
5. Pradhanmantri Fasal Bima Yojana started to cover the crop loss due to disaster and provide insurance to the crops at a minimum premium.
6. Custom hiring centres for providing machines at minimum cost are started by the government.
7. Mega Food Park aims to provide a mechanism to link agricultural products to the market. Food agriculture processing industries are also established there.
8. National initiative on climate resilient agriculture which provides the way to mitigate the climate impact on the agriculture sector.
9. Model Land Leasing Law provides the legislation related to contract farming where the farmers can produce crops in a group of clusters.
10. Soil Health Card which focuses to provide nutrients information and suggest the suitable crop that particular soil.
11. Krishi Vigyan Kendra focuses on research, development, and scientific method of farming which can increase production and productivity which eventually leads to higher income of the farmers.
Agriculture can solve the problem of unemployment and health, The government needs to provide information and training for effective farming at the ground level. We can create Agro-processing industries which lead to export and provide a bigger contribution to our economy. So there is a need to solve the problems of the farmers on high priority by the government.
Some facts related to agriculture and farmers in India (Important for UPSC and other competitive exams):
- India is the largest producer of fruits
- India is the second-largest producer of vegetables
- India is the first in the world to produce milk
- Agriculture is growing at the rate of 4.1 % per year
- 36% of agricultural land irrigated
- The Gross cropped area is 195 million hectare
- 15% of the world cattle population live in India
- Animal husbandry contribution to Agricultural output is 32%
- 55 percent of the world buffalo live in India
This article is written by;
Mr. Pankaj Kumar Gupta
(Email ID: [email protected])