We all know that farmers in India are not wealthy. And according to NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) data, almost 10,281 farmers committed suicide in the year 2019. There are various reasons for the suicide of farmers; one of them is the debt burden. Let us see where Indian agriculture has been going wrong over the years or where things can improve in terms of the agricultural economy.
Reasons for less income of farmers
1) Facing Water Crisis and climate change
Agriculture in India is highly dependent on rainfall and climate conditions. But due to global temperature increase, it has made agriculture more susceptible to extreme weather conditions. Also nowadays, there are many dams over the rivers that help to supply the water in the farms through the channel network, this will not be a major issue if the government and other district level officers take care of it.
2) Poor economic policy
In the past days, the Government of India had primarily focused on how to improve food security and how to increase agricultural output. Rather it should have focused more on acknowledging the need to lift up the farmer’s income. In 2016 “The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana” was launched to give financial support to the farmers in the event of crop failure due to natural calamities, pests, or diseases. But the scheme has seen lower enrollments due to a variety of factors including high premium.
3) Shortage of farming inputs
There is a shortage of farming inputs such as seed, fertilizer, pesticides, animal feed, etc in some parts of the country. Due to the lack of these inputs farming becomes difficult for farmers as crop production is always at risk.
4) Lack of modern technology
Modern technology helps to boost up the productivity using improved quality of seeds and fertilizers, farm implements, etc. Knowing more about the latest technologies has been limited for several reasons including less awareness of modern technology among farmers and poor accessibility for credit.
5) Marketing is neglected
As stated in the Niti Aayog document, farm sector development has neglected the potential of marketing. Several initiatives have been launched to expand an electronic market, but still, access to farmers to well-evolved markets remains an issue.
6) Soil Fertility
Degradation of soil is a crucial problem that leads to the depletion of soil in an agricultural country like India. The main cause of soil erosion is deforestation and unscientific practices such as shifting cultivation.
7) Debt Burden/Education
Farmers generally commit suicide because they are not able to repay the loan taken from the landlords, moneylenders, or the bank. Most of the farmers face problems while getting loans may be due to their economical and educational backwardness as because of this they face problems during documentation.
8) Fall down of farm prices
In a few past years, farm commodities have a great downfall. Low global prices have meant exports while cheaper imports have been hurting domestic prices in the country.
Above all the reasons have resulted in the lower economy/income of the farmers that leads to poverty in the country. This could be the reason that more and more young age group people are about to leave farming. This may also cause a deleterious effect in the future of food security. The solution to the monetary problem of farmers could be raising the minimum support price (MSP) or income support schemes and by creating awareness about the latest technologies among the people, etc.