Essay on Indian Farmer
“If the farmer is rich, then so is the nation. He is a magician who produces money from the mud. To a farmer, dirt is not a waste, it is wealth.” – Amit Kalantri, Wealth of Words
Farming was one of the earliest occupations of mankind. The Indian farmer is often referred to as the backbone of our country. As per the Register General of India and Census report 2011, there are a total of 118 million farmers and 144 million agricultural labourers in the country.
This constitutes more than 30% of the total rural population. As more and more farmers are migrating to the cities and farming is becoming rather unprofitable, it is important for everyone to consider farmer welfare as an important milestone in the progress of the country.
A farmer is one of the most important members of society. He is a provider. He is responsible for growing sufficient food for the nation. He also grows cash crops. Farming products have a major contribution to the nation’s GDP.
Typically, a farmer’s day begins early in the morning. He starts by ploughing the field early in the morning, usually with the help of oxen or a tractor.
Over time, based on the season, he sows the seeds and protects the plants. He also ensures they get enough nourishment through water and fertilizers. Most farmers also use pesticides to protect the crop from pests.
Literacy has played a major role in farming practices. Educated farmers have used better techniques and ensured higher productivity. However, even after all the hard work done by the Indian farmers, poverty and farmer suicide plague the community.
Importance of an Indian Farmer
It is necessary to note that India was not a self-sufficient food-producing unit before the 1970’s. Indian farmlands were inefficient, old, and non-productive. But when our imports became a mode of blackmail, the country decided that it had enough.
With a major rural population at that time and land, which was home to all kinds of resources, we were more than capable of producing food for ourselves.
Lal Bahadur Shastri gave a slogan “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” to motivate the countrymen. Soon, with a major contribution from the green revolution, Indian farmlands were producing enough for the country. We also started exporting farm products, which became a major source of revenue.
Economically, farming not only adds on to our labour force but also to our productivity. Farming contributes to 17% of our GDP. We export products like rice, fresh vegetables, groundnut, fresh fruits, cereal preparations, dairy products, cocoa products, other cereals, and pulses.
We also export cash crops like tea, coffee, spices, oil-seeds, cotton, and cashew, which are about 50% of Indian agricultural exports.
Our surplus production has also reduced our cost of imports to bare minimum. Moreover, agriculture is the main source of income in the country. It not only employs a majority of the rural population, but it also employs researchers, lab technicians, and others working towards modernising Indian agriculture.
Other than the above reasons, farming is also important for it connects the nation to the soil. It is a constant reminder for the human population that we derive our nutrition from the earth and that we must protect her.
In a world dealing with the problems of climate change, Indian farmers and their traditional methods are a model world-wide. The use of organic manure, planting trees to surround crops and effective crop rotation are some techniques by which Indian farmers contribute to nature.
Problems faced by Indian Farmers
Poverty is a major problem faced by Indian farmers. Even though they produce food for the entire nation, many farmers cannot afford 2 square meals a day for their families. Agriculture in India is heavily dependent on weather conditions. A season of drought or a flood can destroy a farmer’s yearlong hard work.
Unhealthy plants and fires are yet another issue. As land in India has been divided and re-divided over the years, productivity per acre is low. Even if farmers manage to take their products to the market, the presence of levels of middlemen leads to farmers getting a very low price.
Illiteracy and the use of inefficient methods are yet another major concern. Farmers often do not have the monetary capacity or the education required to shift to modern techniques of production or use modern equipment.
They are often hesitant and doubtful of farming technology. Being illiterate also closes any other occupation choice for them. Thus, farmers are more often than not stuck in a vicious cycle of inefficient production, poverty, and misery.
Another major problem faced by the country in regards to farmers is farmer suicide. The pressure to earn a living, failed crops, multiplying loans, and familial responsibilities like illness or a daughter’s marriage together push a farmer to take the final step.
It is disheartening that farmers, who are the backbone of society, have been pushed to this extent. Further, farmer suicides have left their family with no one to care for, causing more problems of hunger and poverty.
Government’s response to problems faced by Indian Farmers
As the above problems suggest, farmers hold an important role in our society. However, the current condition of our Annadata is far from satisfactory.
Over the years, different governments have tried various policies to improve a farmer’s standard of living. From loan waivers to buying crops for a better price, many ideas have been attempted.
The government has tried providing free water and electricity in some places and also offered compensation to families who are victims of farmer suicide.
With programmes like Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, the government has tried to work towards farmer welfare, especially in areas of crop insurance and financing.
National Mission For Sustainable Agriculture and Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana are schemes particularly aimed at organic farming and increasing productivity. The government has also created a Kisan Call Centre where farmers can contact a helpline to solve their problems.
It has been previously established that farmers are extremely important for society. They contribute to our economy and provide food and other necessary products. Still, many small farmers fall below the poverty line. They face problems like hunger, poverty, and exploitation.
Agricultural labourers who do not own any land are the most exploited. Lack of education has been a significant deterrent in the Indian farming system’s shift to better technological solutions. Even though the government and the Ministry of agriculture are doing its best, it is not enough.
The government has failed in effectively controlling farmers’ riots or delivering scheme related freebies to the needy. Instead of providing an uninterrupted flow of water and electricity, the government has resorted to providing free water and electricity, which is useless if it is not regular.
The farmers need the education to be able to shift to new strategies; they need financial support in the event of crop failure. Moreover, they need job security and means of protection from exploitation by the rich and the middlemen. Only when the government is capable of providing these to the farmers, then only our country will reach its heights.