Agriculture and its allied sectors are undoubtedly the largest livelihood providers in India, more so in the vast rural areas, where according to many, India is truly represented. It also contributes a significant figure to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). India has made significant progress in agricultural production. After the green revolution, India has not only made herself self-sufficient but (as per the United States’ data on agriculture), she has become the sixth largest net exporter of agricultural produce.
However, the overall picture is not all that rosy. In spite of the above stated facts, Indian agriculture is plagued by several problems; some of them are natural and as many others are man made.
Lack of mechanisation of farming, the general dearth of technical upgradations in farming activities, the absence of sound agricultural marketing facilities, logistical hurdles in establishing backward and forward linkages for agriculture are just some among the others. Most of these problems can be solved with if funds are made available.
Contrary to popular belief, agriculture is an investment-intensive sector. The cost of seeds, fertilizers, and insecticides and pesticides is ever increasing. The manufacturers of these products are getting richer, pushing farmers further and further into the depths of debt.
Moreover, there are certain major flaws in our government’s pricing standards of agricultural equipment and accessories. While most farm produce like pulses, foodgrains, potatoes, onions and vegetables fall under the essential commodities category, and hence their pricing is regulated. Prices of major inputs of agriculture like fertilizers are unregulated. All these issues cumulatively lead to farmer’s distress.
Farmer suicides has unfortunately become a part of everyday news. Statistics are disturbing. Farmer suicides in the country rose by 42% between 2014 and 2015, according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). It recorded 5,650 suicides by farmers and cultivators in 2014. The figure rose to 8,007 in the latest data. Most of these suicides are due to excessive debt and bankruptcy, which clearly marks out the unprofitability of agriculture sector.
To sustain India’s self-sufficiency in terms of agricultural production, it is important that this sector stays economically viable for cultivators. If they are unable to meet their basic minimum needs, the fall of an entire economy is not a distant future.
We should, rather we must, do something to ensure that a person who feeds us does not starve to death. What can we do? one might ask. While the power to solve their logistical problems like irrigation and lack of backward-forwards market linkages, lies in the hands of government, we can at least be little empathetic and donate for their immediate needs.
Achieving short term goals is extremely important in order to accomplish long term plans. The survival of cultivators is a need of hour and had to be addressed on priority basis.
It is outrageous that farmers, the primary producers are not getting dividends of growing economy. It is not only unfair but shameful for a nation like India, which endorses welfare-state ethics.
We Indians, must come together to fight this injustice. For now by fundraising for the farmers for their immediate needs and survival. Crowdfunding can be an effective way to fundraise for farmers.
As crowdfunding is based on benevolence of urban community, it is a best way to show solidarity with farmers. The tech-savvy community of social media users thriving in urban centres can start fundraising campaigns on a crowdfunding platform for distressed farmers and their families. One can create fundraiser to fulfill their basic needs or for enabling them to buy expensive yet necessary inputs for agricultural production.
Let us save our farmers. Let us sustain the viability of agriculture.