Indian Farmers And The Agrarian Crisis They Are Engulfed InMar 27, 2018
About a fortnight ago there was a protest march staged by farmers in Maharashtra. Not very far away, in other agricultural dependent states like UP and Tamil Nadu the story is no different. The truth is invariably blatant – Indian farmer's are fighting an agrarian crisis and there seems to be no respite in sight.
Jadav, a farmer, has moved to a small city called Dadri from Bulhandshahr, his village where he used to reside with his wife, two sons aged 14 and 10 years and two daughters of marriageable age. The willingness to move was instigated by the fact that his earnings and yield was not enough to sustain his livelihood. He has now moved to the city in the hope of doing vegetable farming because of the profitability and closeness to the city markets. The piece of land back in the village is now attended to by his brother who is cultivating wheat there. In Dadri, he has leased one acre of land at the cost of Rs. 16000 per year and has put up makeshift huts near the field. The family of six are all working in the fields, the children are not going to school and all are engrossed in sowing and furrowing soil, tending the stock, and taking it to the market. He is growing peas, tomatoes and bhindi, has a cart and also water available for farming but his moderate earning is just enough to provide for his family. The rent, pesticides, fertilizers and selling his stock at the market at low cost eats into his earnings.
Another farmer in Tamil Nadu, Jeyasilan, hailing from Chidambaram district doesn't have the good fortune of abundant water. He is dependent on water released from Cauvery River for his agricultural needs. The Cauvery River flowing towards Tamil Nadu has many dams en route which leaves the farmer fighting with dearth of water in absence of bountiful of rainfall. He has children of marriageable age, he is growing old and a meagre profit of Rs. 15000 every year has left him frustrated. Under the blazing summer sun, he works at the paddy field. He cannot afford to install a borewell because of the cost surmounting to Rs. 3 lacs. Without putting up any more effort to struggle, he wants to sell his plot, finish his liabilities and move on.
What Jadav and Jeyasilan are going through, are the plight of the farmers across the nation. Their agrarian crisis fighting erratic water supply, toil and labour to produce a yield, high cost of inputs and the gruelling losses due to unpredictable natural circumstances, amounts to a vicious cycle from which there is no respite. There are crores of such small farmers who cannot use mechanised agricultural means, get essentials like water in place and neither do they have big lands to produce big stocks, unlike the richer farmers. Their fight every day against manifold reasons that do not work to their benefit leaves them lurking into darkness and desperation. Most of the time resulting in escaping the reality and ending their life.
47 farmers commit suicides every day.
2150 farms quit farming every day.
50% farmers live below poverty line.
Today, India is seeing the practice of agriculture diminishing, farmers taking to alternate methods to fuel livelihood, drowning in despair for not getting rightful compensation for their crops and selling off farmlands. Farmers without farms are working on daily wages on a meagre wage that further pushes them to poverty. They are the pillars of agriculture but with a handful of children and bagful of debts, they have nowhere to go. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Bihar and farmers from other Indian states have the similar look of poverty and dissonance across their faces. Hope is there but they have been waiting to find out solutions and have not been able to so far.