The state of agriculture and farmers in India.

India is recognized across the world for its agriculture sector. Agriculture plays an important role in contributing to the Gross Domestic Product of the country. The agriculture sector in India contributes up to 13.7% to the GDP of the country. Our country is recognized as the second largest country to have a huge farm output. It has an arable land of 159.7 million hectares which makes it the second largest country to have such a huge area for agriculture. Our country is the seventh largest exporter and sixth largest net exporter.

There was an era in the history of India when the citizens of the country faced continuous famine. Food grains were imported from other countries at extremely high prices until the policy of Green Revolution was introduced in India. After the ushering of the policy we witnessed a great raise in the field of agriculture in India. We became one of the key producers and exporters in the world.

Though India has made a commendable comeback in the agriculture sector, there is still a lot of scope for the agriculture in India to reach higher figures of farm output. The figures are not satisfactory because India accounts to 250 million tonnes of food grain production in comparison to 571 million tonnes production in China (Figures from the year 2011-2012). The reason why comparison between these two countries is used is because of the commonalities that these two countries share with regard to agriculture. India and China both have experienced agrarian crisis almost during the same time in history. Both the countries have large population size and similar food consuming habits.

Though India has a glorious history in agriculture, one question still remains debated time and again.  Why are the farmers of India so agitated?  Why are so many farmers killing themselves? Is there any problem in the system that is further causing complications in agriculture? Can farm loan waiver solve problems permanently?

There are a number of problems that the country is facing with regard to agriculture and the farmers in the country.

Lack of sound education which often leads to the farmers being cheated:

Most of the farmers in our country do not have a proper education background. This leads to the farmers not getting to know of the important agricultural policies. We are aware of the fact that our country has witnessed a growing rate in corruption. With issues regarding to agriculture and farmers, the prevailing illiteracy amongst the farmers can make them clear targets and susceptible to being cheated.
Lack of proper research and development in the country:

According to various reports, though India has a number of agriculture scientists there is no proper work being done in developing the current agriculture scenario through research.  India is said to spend lesser than China and Brazil for research and development. This can be considered as one of the main reasons for crisis in the agriculture sector. The lack of research, results in the farmers not being updated on the methods and technology that is being used in the agriculture sector in other countries.

Lack of storage facilities:

There is an urgent need for the building of proper storage facilities in India. Lack of proper storage facilities is one of the many reasons for low profits. Due to improper storage facilities, the farmer is forced to sell the seed at the market price. The the farmer cannot wait for the price to rise because doing so can risk in rotting of the harvest.
Irrigation issues:

2/3 of the agriculture land in India is dependent on the monsoons for the irrigation of the soil. Given to the growing global warming in the country, rains are unpredictable and unstable. Only 1/3 of the agriculture lands have the facility of being irrigated through canals and lakes. Due to increased water pollution, there is also a fear of soil erosion which can result in further infecting the crops.
Improper agricultural marketing:

The production after the harvest needs an ample amount of marketing to get the right prices. Clearly, this is not the case in India. The farmer is forced to sell the produce to the moneylender or middleman because of the interest he needs to pay for having taken a loan for the capital. In such situations, the middlemen tend to sell the produce at a very cheap rate, without giving the farmer an opportunity to make a proper profit or even to get the correct price of the produce.
With so many issues erupting from time to time, we can clearly understand the reasons as to why the farmers are committing suicides.  From sowing the seeds to harvesting the crop, a farmer encounters with so many issues.  There are a number of policies that have been introduced to make things easier for farmers, but due to illiteracy, the information does not really reach the farmers.

Over the past months, we have observed that the farmers have begun to agitate against the situations they have been forced to face.  They demand for a loan waiver by their respective state governments. How far can waiving a loan solve the current agrarian crisis?

Loan waivers shall solve the issues for a limited period of time, after which the farmers will have to face similar issues. The problems need to be fixed from within the roots so that they do not repeat. Until farmers receive loan waivers, the main problem will remain ignored and hence complicate the issue further.

India is known as an agrarian country that feeds its 1.3 billion people and also exports the food grains all over the world. It has so many accomplishments even after so many internal issues.  Had these issues never existed, the achievements of the agriculture sector of India would’ve been worth  giving a thought.

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