~ Bargavi Baradhwaj
The work of a farmer is considered to be one of the toughest jobs out there. They are expected to be working day and night through all the seasons to take care of their crops. There is no room available for being sick or taking a day off. Farmers are considered to be the backbone of any country. They contribute highly to the economy of the nation and account for at least 18% of the Indian GDP. Not only this, farming is the most engaging occupation and provides employment to 50% of the workers in the nation. Farming is the main reason for rural development and the green revolution. Even after all this, they aren’t given the importance they deserve. Most of the farmers are in terrible condition right now. Out of the total number of farmers, about 80% of them work on an extremely low scale thus facing all the burden of the supply chain. Excessive pressure laid down by the population explosion in the country has led to an increase in the demand for food. For this, the food production market is expected to continuously manufacture food grains especially in the case of a crisis. There are many problems faced by an Indian farmer some of which are
Small Land Holdings
Many farmers hold less than two hectares of land which challenges the government to implement new technology and schemes in a wider sense. Reaching small farmers is very essential to further the agricultural produce in the country but at the same time is difficult to track. According to Ashok Gulati, an agriculture chair professor, “The rise in the number of small and marginal farmers signifies that the rest of the economy is unable to absorb the surplus. India has to live with its small-sized farms for the next two decades and the way out is to provide them access to the best technology in the markets.
Rainfall in India is highly uncertain and erotic. This creates room for long periods of droughts and a lack of water. This is why irrigation plays such an important role when it comes to farming in India. Even though the country is considered to have the 2nd best irrigation system in the world, only 1/3rd of the farmers actually use the irrigation techniques. The main reason for this is that irrigation is highly expensive which a farmer cannot afford.
Soil Erosion is one of the most crucial factors to consider while farming. Due to an increase in urbanization and agriculture, acidic levels start increasing in the soil. This leaves the land unsuitable for agriculture. When the top-soil is eroded, the fertility-rich nutrients are removed thus acting as a threat to the crops.
Lack of Technology
Even though modern infrastructure for agriculture has gained advancement in the country, obsolete methods are used by farmers. Small farmers tend to stick to traditional methods as they are comfortable with it and buying new equipment would be expensive. Many farmers are not educated enough to run these machines. To help with these problems, the government has launched various projects. The same are mentioned in the table below
The problem with agriculture in India isn’t the fact that the solutions don’t exist, it’s the fact that the solutions don’t reach every single unit. In spite of the efforts made by the government, a huge chunk of the farmer population is left without any recourse. This occurs due to both parties. The farmers are uneducated and exploited by the middleman whereas the government doesn’t reach every small farmer due to the large amount. So, in the end, it all boils down to the implementation of the policies. The risks due to COVID-19 add up to the already existing problems of the farmers.
The virus entered the country during a crucial time for the farmers, the harvest season of the rabi crops. In many areas, the crops have been abandoned due to the lack of staff and high -risk rates. Transport of the crops has been another issue. Agricultural sectors have a long supply chain and the obstruction has created many loopholes in the same. During the start of the lockdown, people started panic buying, due to which the market witnessed oversupply which was followed by a fall in demand. Even though the pandemic is not permanent, it has magnified the already existing problems of the farmers. The agricultural market in India is huge and is highly important for the country’s survival. It is high time that we realize the importance of farmers in our country.
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