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@Ankita Katdare • 12 Aug, 2014
I know that this topic has been discussed over and over again on news channels and newspapers in India over the last decade. But, in the hope of finding some really interesting points from the engineers here, I am starting a new discussion.

In many reports you must've read that since 2001, every half hour - one Indian farmer commits suicide. Like most other developed countries, India has witnessed a huge rate of decline in the no. of individuals for whom agriculture has been the primary income source.

If you dig this a little deeper, you will find that the trend is that India’s agricultural suicide rate is concentrated among certain states in India. Specifically, 5 states— Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh (4 of which are in the cotton belt region).

From what I can analyze, the primary reasons for the alarming and saddening rate of increase in the suicides are - Debt, Poverty and Climate Change.

In 1997 (when it all started getting the highlights), the Government had removed subsidies for cotton. Moreover, over the last 3 decades, the price of cotton has reduced by 1/12th.
The farmers relying on monsoon every year for good yield in their crops, are left penniless when there's a drought and there's no alternative source of water.

Would like to know more reasons from CEans. Please enlighten with your suggestions, opinions and general comments.
@Kaustubh Katdare • 12 Aug, 2014 • 1 like Boils down to corruption that was rampant since India got (so called) independence. There were no good irrigation projects, no linking of rivers, almost zero initiatives on making the farmers self reliant and keeping them uneducated (about latest development farming). Plus, we're so scared of pests that no food goes without getting a coat of pesticides. This adds to the debt of the farmers and the farmers are left with no ways to pay back.

The humiliation itself has killed tens of thousands of farmers only in the Vidarbha region.
@Sahithi Pallavi • 13 Aug, 2014 India is an agrarian economy. 50+% of the people depends on agricultural sector though it is contributing just about 16% of GDP. Indian agriculture is mostly monsoon based. There are many reasons for farmer suicides especially in southern India. This year in just 2 months about 560+ famers have committed suicides from marathwada region of maharastra, according to govt records. Very horrible to digest about our food providers. I would like to add a few of their problems here-

1. Lack of loan facilities to land tenants.
2. Lack of good rainfall.
3. Lack of good Minimum support price from the govt.
4. Lack of reasonable prices in the market.
5. Climatic disturbances like unseasonal rainfall, heavy rainfall or sudden showers etc.
6. Lack of insurance guarentee for their land.
7. Under estimation of insurance value for their damaged crop.
8. High rate of interest from money lenders.
9. Middlemen.
10. Lack of good storage facilities like cold storages, godowns etc.
11. Lack of other allied activities to them.
12. Delay in receiving their incentives from the govt.
13. Lack of irrigation facilities.
14. Lack of sufficient availability of power facility.
15. Lack of proper awareness to the farmers regarding scientific facilities, developments etc.
16.lack of reasonable minimum export price etc.
17. Inflation.
18. New finding - lack of availability of labour.

There Are many reasons. Government has also going with a multi pronged strategy to help thenfarmers like-

1. Govt started promoting allied activities along with agriculture to help the farmers to avail secondary income.
2. Seed bank.
3. Making insurance mandatory.
4. IMD started establishing climate information centres to provide up to date weather info to farmers.
5. Accelerated irrigation benefit programme.
6. Drought prone area devpt programme.
7. Command area devpt programme.
8. Introduced priority sector lending for banks.
9. Nabard, cooperative banks and RRBs are promoting awareness to the farmers to avail loans from banks than from outside money lenders
10. Increased Minimum support price.
11. Promoting bio fertilizers and organic farming.
12. Giving free power to the farmers though in specific timings.
13. Inter linking of rivers.
14. Introduced e governance with toll free helpline, sms bases services.
15. Promoting minor irrigation projects like lift irrigation, sprinkler irrigation, drip irrigation etc.
16. creating awareness to the farmers.
17. Providing them HYV seeds.
18.using DBT for famers to avail their incentives.
19. kisan credit cards.
20. Krishi vignan kendras.
21. Raitu bazaars

.....and many more.
@Ankita Katdare • 14 Aug, 2014 Thank you, Sahithi for such an informative post. I had no idea about all those government schemes. @Sada What are the reasons then that even with so many great initiatives, the farmer suicide rate not declining? Is it just lack of good governance and proper management that till date the shameful fact that (As you rightly said) our food providers have to meet such a sad end?

Also, are there any measures that a common man can take to ensure to ensure he/she can minimize the bad effects on India's farmers lives?
I am looking forward to input, suggestions and opinions from all CEans here.
@Sahithi Pallavi • 14 Aug, 2014 That was a good question.

Good governance as you mentioned means people's participation in the governance. we cant say that there is no good governance. Infact everything comes to the doorsteps of the farmers if he really wants. I think i should cover this topic widely so that you guys can aware of whats really going on.

I 'm taking issue wise.

1. Irrigation/ water , power- I told you India do need irrigation because of unreliable and uneven distribution of rainfall, green revolution, change in the cropping pattern, monsoons etc. So govt started many programmes like accelerated irrigation benefit programme, command area debpt prog, integrated watershed devpt prog, integrated water harvesting scheme, desert devpt prog, rainfed area devpt prog etc. Some farmers knowingly or unknowingly over utilising the water resources and their by the producticity of their crop decreases and our groud water table decreases. There are no of case studies where farmers have installed no of borewells than the govt sanctioned and there by the ground water table went much lower drastically. And the free power/ paid power started getting waste. Gujarat grid system has started providing free power only in specific timings so that the water and the power can be utilized productively. Before that famers need to be educated.

2. Insurance - right from the 1985 onwarda indian govt started implementing various insurance scheme like comprehensive agri insurance scheme, natl agri insurance scheme, modifies natl agri insurance scheme, weather based insurance scheme etc. Even though with no of insurance schemes, th problem persists beacuse of lack of awareness to the farmers regarding the schemes, insurance officiala under estimating the damage crop, farmers not paying premium though with subsidies, insurance not mandatary for no loany farmers.
Govt these days is also started giving relief though they havent avail loans or insurance.

3.money - max no of famers in india are small and marginal and very poor. Recognizing this govt started priority sector lending for commercial banks, Nabard, coop banks, RRBs are on the forefront to give loans to farmers. The loans they are giving are not sufficient to farmers and there by they were availing loans from pvt money lenders where the interest rate is very high. If something unusual happens to their crop, the insurance amount he gets cannot be sufficient to maintain his family. How can he repay the loan? If it is the bank, govt can have a say to the banks. What if with pvt money lenders? They show the farmers hell.

4. Crop - famers decide their crop based on his wish and tge market price of the crop.though IMD is issuing warnings that there is elnino this year and we will get below normal rainfall, some farmers dont listen and grow as usually what crop he wants. In vidharba and marathwada region, we have seen farmer suicides especially those of cotton and orchard farming which are capital intensive. Thats because of the govts promotion of pomegranate cultivation as hilly tracts are suitable for the purpose.

5. Reluctance - farmers are reluctant towards listenting to the scientists and scientific developments.

6. Marketing - no sufficient storage facilities with the govt. Pvt godowns costs much. Middlemen. Even many people buy from more, reliance fresh etc pouring benefits into the corporate hands. Famers often hoard the stock that the price may increase. What if suddenly price drops?

Similarly each and every issue is going on and which is leading to the suffering of the farmers and then agrl sector and there by the entire country.

Though there are many programmes and initiatives from the govt, the problem still persists because of the absence of pari passu in implementation. Policy making and policy impln should be carried out with same enthusiasm. Most farmers are not aware of the schemes and programmes. The need of the day is to bring awareness to the farmers regarding the schemes and making them to adopt and avail the benefits from it.
I loved the objective of the new govt that has said recently - Our priority is not keeping food into the mouths of the farmers but making the farmers to keep food into the mouths of the others.

You have asked that how can a common man can reduce the disstress of the farmers. Here are a few things that you, I and anyone can do.
1. Create awareness to the farmers. it should be like a Information, Education, Communication campaign.
2. Buy vegetables from raitu bazaars instead of buying from more, reliance fresh etc.
3. Conservation of water, power.
4. this is my opinion - educated people like us can from like groups and each group with atleast 5 menbers can adopt a village and do whatever we can - promoting all the govt schemes and programmes.

See, whatever the issue or concern might be, we need support from -
1. Vibrant parliament
2. Effective Executive
3. Independent Judiciary
4. Responsible media
5. Active civil society.

A multipronged strategy can only helps.

Ps : sorry for shortcuta. Cant spend more time now 😔
@Rachel caroline • 16 Aug, 2014 This is a pitiable state of the farmers ! First thing is that though our Government is very keen in providing many schemes to the poverty-stricken farmers ,they are still ignorant about all these things.
Secondly,people nowadays wanted to make their child an Engineer or a Doctor which require lots and lots of money,still they avail loans to pay for them but then the agents who pretend to help the farmers to sell their goods will buy everything only for a base rate !! and the climax falls as you all know-
So many debts ->suicides !
Pathetic 😔
@Smiech • 17 Aug, 2014 I have heard it said on occasions that we cannot give our opinion on issues that we do not have a clear grasp of the factors that led to this situation.
To be honest, that is my case. But surely we can agree that we should all raise awareness with what guarantess Life for all of the inhabitants the planet.
We all know that control over seeds is the first link in the food chain. When a corporation controls seed, it control Life, especially the life of farmers.
Ten multinatinals control the international seed market, a market of more than 30 billion dollars US.
So, the plan is to get rid of peasant seed in order to make way for the seeds from agro-toxic multinationals.
Here starts everything...
@Sahithi Pallavi • 17 Aug, 2014 @Smiech - yeah thats a good point. You know what, some of the seeds which the corporates are giving may not be reusable. The farmers have to buy seeds each and every time they sow.

One more issue with corporates is contract farming.

Contract farming is a type of farming where a corporate giant and a farmer comes into an agreement regarding the crop. Acc to that, farmers have to follow the instructions given by the corporates regarding seeds, pesticides, fertilizers etc and corporates bear the entire cost of the production and after harvesting, the farmer should handover the crop produce to the corporate and gets his guarenteed reasonable price.

Adv to farmers - no need to think of investment, guarenteed money, he continues to be the land owner.
Adv to corporates - profits, can get the desired produce.

Win- win situation for farmers and corporates.
Loss-loss situation for consumers because of high cost products and no-good-health products.
@Sahithi Pallavi • 17 Aug, 2014 @Smiech - yeah thats a good point. You know what, some of the seeds which the corporates are giving may not be reusable. The farmers have to buy seeds each and every time to sow.
One more issue with corporates is corporate farming.
Contract farming is a type of farming where a corporate giant and a farmer comes into an agreement regarding the crop. Acc to that, farmers has to follow the instructions given by the corporates regarding seeds, pesticides, fertilizers etc and they bear the entire cost of the production and after harvesting the farmer should handover the crop produce to the corporate and gets his guarenteed reasonable price.
Adv to farmers - no need to think of investment, guarenteed money, he continues to be the land owner.
Adv to corporates - profits, can get the desired produce.

Win- win situation for farmers and corporates.
Loss-loss situation for consumers because of high cost products and no-good-health products.
@Smiech • 17 Aug, 2014 • 1 like @Sada - l think you are absolutely right and endorse your view.
Once again we are witnessing a humanitarian drama which, in truth, disguises a political drama.
It would seem that, for some people, defending human rights takes second place to defending financial interests.
But, how do we move on from here?
We are really pretty much helpless.
@Sahithi Pallavi • 17 Aug, 2014 • 2 likes I've already told that only a multi pronged strategy can help here.

1. Govt should do its service effectively and efficiently.
2.Farmers ahould obey the instructions of the govt, participate in the programmes and can take suggestions, advices from krishi vignan kendras.
3.Civil society, pressure groups should support the govt in the IEC campaign to educate the farmers.
4.Common man may buy the commodities from raitu bazaars etc.
5. Corporates, FDI, privatisation can be controlled by the govt.
6.Most importantly agriculture should not be considered as a profession confined to poor or uneducated.
6.1k views

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