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Roti, Kapda and Makan, Whereas, Roti (Agriculture) Is Not Safe

India had a large and diverse agricultural sector, accounting, on average, for about 16% of GDP and 10% of export earnings. India’s arable land area of 159.7 million hectares (394.6 million acres) is the second largest in the world, after the United States.

Image source: Sharad Maverick (Maverick works)

By: Gaurav Nandan Tripathi

The India we know, and have seen, is one which is moving in continuum. Whether it be its economics, or its mammoth population. But some aspects of its story, are still lingering behind in omnious territories. Alas, the backbone of the primary sector of Indian economy is one of such aspects. Agricultural sector has seen some really stretched periods of stagnant growth, (but now with the condition worsening), we should actually reflect on why this occupation which sustains the
Indian population is on a downward slope of progress. Let us look at some main reasons behind its miserable state:

1- Shrinking land : The main problem in agricultural growth is the limited availability of arable land. With more and more growth of cities, hardly any growth is visible in the irrigated land cover.

2- Population growth: the rate at which Indias population is growing, is actually reducing the land holdings per person. With more mouths to feed, and limited land to cultivate, the situation is bound to be grave. Alas, it is not something which we can control in a short time span.

3- Extreme Climate: it is something hardly within the control of human efforts, but the amount of precipitation is adversely affected by unplanned industrialisation which leads to global warming.

4- Less price for yield: This problem of low economic profit is one of the main problems behind the bad state of farmers today. The government prices are already not too enticing for the farmers, plus the whole web of middlemen is actually increasing the suffering of farmers many fold. Most
of the farmers sell their produce to these middle men, who procure the yield at meagre prices. These middle men then themselves sell the produce to the FCI ( Food corporation of India). So the major amount of profit rests in their hand.

This also becomes the reason that inspite of the fact onions were sold at hundred bucks for a kg, their farmers in Nasik and other places hardly benefited from these price hikes. Accumulation and manipulative holding of produce in the cold storages is also a big reason behind these price hikes, and the farmer at the root level hardly benefits from it.

5- Erratic credit system and lack of formal sector credit : The rural banking system has seen a certain upheaval after the jan dhan accounts, but still in lack of security, hardly any bank gives proper and adequate amount of loans to the farmers. So this ultimately causes the rise of informal credit and exorbitant interest rates and ultimately debt traps.

So, the vicious cycle seems un ending for the farmers today. There are many secondary causes too which creates even more existential crisis for the farmers. The government is definitely not doing enough for them. The migration problem and lack of incentives is creating newer problems to tge
farmers. There seems to be hardly any way out. In such conditions, we can only vouch for a strong agricultural policy, with greater MSP, lesser middlemen, and more profits for the farmers. They are the ones who serve us. And just think, how the world is serving them in return?

Here is a report on farmers by Maverick times-

What do you think?

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Written by Sharad Maverick

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