“At Least Once in a year, we need a doctor, policeman, an architect… But every day three times we need a farmer.
We pay the doctor to make us better, when we should really be paying the farmer to keep us healthy.”
Farmers are the hope of the Nation while Farming is the profession of Hope, But The present scenario in India is heartrending as our farmers are inclined towards the suicidal tendencies / feelings. CSR can efficiently help to reduce the burden of our farmers and regain their will to feed the country.
Yes,CSR can empower the Indian farmers and help the Indian farming.
Farmers the backbone of nation India being an agricultural country has 70% of the population working as farmers. Farming provides the food-crops, the oil-seeds, commercial crops and raw materials for our industries. Hence, they are the lifeblood of our nation.
Poverty of Indian farmer is well-known to the world. Most of the Indian Farmers are living a miserable life. They don’t get their basic needs fulfilled i.e of food, clothing and education for themselves and their children. The Indian farmer faces harassment by the village touts, the money-lenders and the tax collectors. He doesn’t get the optimum output as it gets distributed in many people. Hence, farmers are unable to enjoy their own yield.
Farmer’s Situation in the PRE INDEPENDENCE era
During the British Raj in India, few Indian commercial crops—such as Cotton, indica, opium, wheat, and rice—made it to the global market. There was an increase in land under cultivation and agricultural production during the 19th century. Extensive irrigation by canal networks made Punjab, Narmada valley, and Andhra Pradesh the centres of agrarian reforms.Agricultural prices of some commodities rose to about three times between 1870-1920.
Indian farmers of that era had efficiently increased the agricultural production.
Farmers Situation POST INDEPENDENCE
Special programs were undertaken to improve food and cash crops supply. More focus was given on the Land reclamation, land development, mechanization, electrification, use of chemicals—fertilizers in particular, and development of agriculture by the Government.
Many production operation and revolutions were initiated from 1960s onwards. Reforms in the agricultural practices caused significant growth in the agricultural sector, which was by now benefiting from the earlier reforms and the newer innovations of Agro-processing and Biotechnology.
Because of the growth and prosperity of Indian economic reforms, a marked shift from the earlier staple based consumption was seen as the consumption of fruits, dairy, fish, meat and vegetables increased.
- New concept of employment under Contract farming came into the Indian Farming Scheme, according to which, the farmers were to produce crops for a company under contract that encourages the high value agricultural product.
- Contract farming triggered a fall in transaction costs while the contract farmers made more profits compared to the non-contract workforce.
However, small landholding continued to create problems for India’s farmers as the limited land resulted in limited produce and limited profits.
Impact of Green revolution-
Since independence, India has become one of the largest producers of wheat, edible oil, potato, spices, rubber, tea, fishing, fruits, and vegetables in the world.
The contribution of agriculture in employing India’s male workforce decreased from 75.9% in 1961 to 60% in 1999–2000. There were about 45 million agricultural labor households in the country in 1999–2000. These households recorded the highest incidence of poverty in India from 1993 to 2000. The green revolution introduced high yielding varieties of crops which also increased the usage of fertilizers and pesticides.
During 2003-04, agriculture accounted for 22% of India’s GDP and employed 58 percent of the country’s workforce.
Undoubtedly the condition for the big farmers has greatly improved, but the situations of small landholders and marginal farmers is still far from being satisfactory.
Small farmers are unable to repay loans and this is one of the major reasons due to which many farmers have committed suicides in various states during the last few years.
Farmers want an uninterrupted supply of electricity for which they are ready to pay. In states like Punjab, at first the Green Revolution acted as boon.But the low prices of their produce on account of bumper crops later became bane for them. There are several initiatives taken by the Government of India but still emphasis on the betterment of farmers is very less.
When farmers started to lose hopes….
There was a rise in suicides by indebted farmers in India following crop failures.The highest number of farmer suicides were recorded in 2004 when 18,241 farmers committed suicide.Suicides in Vidarbha, which had started to decline from a peak in 2006, have risen again in the last two years to reach 1,328 in 2015, second only to the 1,449 of 2006. Also significantly, the proportion of suicides linked to agrarian reasons is 65 percent, the highest in the decade.
The 1,328 suicides are a tally that may include farmers as well as non-farmers in the six cotton-growing districts of Wardha, Yavatmal, Amravati, Akola, Washim and Buldana. As per government figures, 859 of the 1,328 were found eligible for government aid of Rs 1 lakh to the family of the deceased. This aid is given when the suicide is found to have been a result of agrarian causes. In addition to the 859 eligible cases, 114 suicides are under investigation while 355 were found ineligible.
India is an agrarian country with around 70% of its people depending directly or indirectly upon agriculture. Farmer suicides account for 11.2% of all suicides in India. Activists and scholars have offered a number of reasons for farmer suicides, such as monsoon failure, high debt burdens, government policies, personal issues and family problems.Historical records relating to frustration, revolts and high mortality rates among farmers in India, particularly cash crop farmers, date back to the 19th century.
Problems faced by the Farmers:
Several researches and studies identified the causes for increasing Suicides among farmers as:
- Withdrawal of government support,
- Insufficient or risky credit systems,
- The difficulty of farming semi-arid regions,
- Poor agricultural income, absence of alternative income opportunities,
- A downturn in the urban economy which forced non-farmers into farming,
- The absence of suitable counseling services.
- High cost of Farming
- Crop Failure
- Social personal issues
- Inadequate access to water
- Ineffective policies
The condition of the Indian farmers needs to be improved in order to prevent them from suicide, farmers should be taught the modern methods of farming. So, Special trainings should be given or night-schools should be opened for them. Government should assist farmers in all possible ways. Because Welfare of India depends upon his well-being.
Small farmers should be provided knowledge about other ways for livelihood and they should be encouraged to start some cottage industries. Crop rotation system should be applied. Such efforts will help the farmers in the long run.
- Gramin Bhandaran Yojana: Ministry of Agriculture started in March 31, 2007 this policy involves the Creation of scientific storage capacity with allied facilities in rural areas to meet the requirements of farmers for storing farm produce, processed farm produce and agricultural inputs. Improve their marketability through promotion of grading, standardization and quality control of agricultural produce.
- Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana: The new central assistance scheme Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana was launched by Govt. of India during 2007-08 to incentives states to draw up plans for their agriculture sector more comprehensively, taking agro-climatic conditions,natural resource and technology into account and integrating livestock,poultry and fisheries fully.The RKVY aims at achieving 4%annual growth in agriculture sector during the XI Plan period, by ensuring a holistic development of agriculture and allied sectors.
I personally feel that CSR can effectively contribute towards the betterment of Indian farmers. I find these methods and strategies can become very helpful by
Contribution of CSR to decrease the rate of suicides by farmers :
- In my opinion, Companies under CSR initiative can establish a small centre for every 5 villages. This centre should have all the required tools of farming which small farmers can not afford on their own. CSR fund can be used to build this centre and buy the expensive equipments of agriculture. This is a one time investment by the company. Farmers should avail these tools on rent at a very small amount. The rent that’s collected can be used for the maintenance of the tools if they get damaged. 2 people should be employed as incharge to maintain this Centres and keep a record on the farmers who take the equipments on rent. And at least 1 psychotherapist or counselor should be made available in these centres, to give counseling to the farmers and prevent them from suicidal feelings. This initiative will help Government to know the problems faced by the farmers and their families. This information can be taken into consideration for making policies for farmers and farming in Future.
- CSR fund can be used to conduct seminars to educate and train the farmers about the modern techniques of farming.
- Companies can tie up with the banks and help farmers in debt by giving them subsidies or giving them grants to pay their debts.
Companies can become a good CSR by helping the Indian farming industry. CSR funds can be utilized for the welfare of Indian farmers which will ultimately decrease the burden on the farmers and can assist the Government. Thus our farmers can regain hope in farming.
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