Farmer is someone who works under the umbrella of agriculture, producing a variety of food products for human. Farmers are responsible for all crops and livestock that are needed for us to survive. Without food, the world would slowly die, and farmers work hard every day to keep plenty of crops and animal products in the market to keep that from happening.
Plant genetic diversity is probably more important for farming than any other environmental factor, simply because it is the factor that enables adaptation to changing environmental conditions such as plant diseases and climate change. Thus, as a precondition for the maintenance of this diversity, Farmers’ Rights are crucial for ensuring present and future food security in general, and in the fight against rural poverty.
Some of the major problems and their possible solutions have been discussed as follows. Indian agriculture is plagued by several problems; some of them are natural and some others are manmade:
- The seemingly abundance of net sown area of 141.2 million hectares and total cropped area of 189.7 million hectares (1999-2000) pales into insignificance when we see that it is divided into economically unviable small and scattered holdings.
- Seed is a critical and basic input for attaining higher crop yields and sustained growth in agricultural production. Unfortunately, good quality seeds are out of reach of the majority of farmers, especially small and marginal farmers mainly because of exorbitant prices of better seeds.
- Indian soils have been used for growing crops over thousands of years without caring much for replenishing. This has led to depletion and exhaustion of soils resulting in their low productivity. The average yields of almost all the crops are among the lowest in the world. This is a serious problem which can be solved by using more manures and fertilizers.
- Although India is the second largest irrigated country of the world after China, only one-third of the cropped area is under irrigation. Irrigation is the most important agricultural input in a tropical monsoon country like India where rainfall is uncertain, unreliable and erratic.
- Despite the large-scale mechanisation of agriculture in some parts of the country, most of the agricultural operations in larger parts are carried on by human hand using simple and conventional tools and implements like wooden plough, sickle, etc. This is specially the case with small and marginal farmers. It results in huge wastage of human labour and in low yields per capita labour force.
- Large tracts of fertile land suffer from soil erosion by wind and water. This area must be properly treated and restored to its original fertility.
- Agricultural marketing continues to be in a bad shape in rural India. In the absence of sound marketing facilities, the farmers must depend upon local traders and middlemen for the disposal of their farm produce which is sold at throw-away price. In most cases, these farmers are forced, under socio-economic conditions, to carry on distress sale of their produce. In most of small villages, the farmers sell their produce to the money lender from whom they usually borrow money.
- Storage facilities in the rural areas are either totally absent or grossly inadequate. Under such conditions the farmers are compelled to sell their produce immediately after the harvest at the prevailing market prices which are bound to be low. Such distress sale deprives the farmers of their legitimate income.
- One of the main handicaps with Indian agriculture is the lack of cheap and efficient means of transportation. Even at present there are lakhs of villages which are not well connected with main roads or with market centres.
- Agriculture is an important industry and like all other industries it also requires capital. The role of capital input is becoming more and more important with the advancement of farm technology. The main suppliers of money to the farmer are the moneylenders, traders and commission agents who charge high rate of interest and purchase the agricultural produce at very low price.
For decades now, farming in India has been blighted by drought, small plot sizes, a depleting water table, declining productivity and lack of modernization. Half of its people work in farms, but farming contributes only 15% to India’s GDP. Put simply, farms employ a lot of people but produce too little.
Source: Your Article Library