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.
What are all the problems faced by Indian farmers?
There are several factors and issues that has led to decline of efficiency, productivity and profits of Indian agriculture. The most basic problems are lack of long-term vision and fear of change.
- Small and fragmented landholdings: The seemingly abundance of net sown area and total cropped area pales into insignificance when we see that it is divided into economically unviable small and scattered holdings.
- Seeds: Seed is very crucial and basic input for attaining higher crop yields and sustained growth in agricultural production. Unfortunately, good quality seeds are out of reach of most farmers, especially small and marginal farmers mainly because of exorbitant prices of better seeds.
- Manures, Fertilizers and Biocides: 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.
- Irrigation: 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.
- Lack of mechanisation: 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.
- Soil erosion: 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: 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.
- Inadequate storage facilities: 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 below. Such distress sale deprives the farmers of their legitimate income.
- Inadequate transport: 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.
- Scarcity of capital: 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.
- Droughts: As per the response filed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, GOI, in the Rajya Sabha in 2016, 266 districts across 11 states have officially declared drought in 2016.
- Floods: Every year during monsoons, millions of hectares of land gets submerged in water leading to a huge loss in food crops.
Some of the ways to help poor farmers and their communities:
- Protect and preserve the natural environment:Without a healthy natural environment where native flora and fauna live productively, long-term sustainable agricultural practices will fail.
- Implement community – specific programs: Individualized programs that meet the needs of specific regions are more likely to succeed.
- Teach and implement sustainable farming techniques: Farming techniques such as agroforestry, organic agriculture, and permaculture are more sustainable and practical on a small, rural scale.
- Build and maintain soil productivity: Healthy soil is the foundation of a healthy farm and leads to increased crop yields.
- Increase sustainable crop production: Increasing crop yields is important to improving food security and fighting undernourishment.
- Sustainable water access: A consistent water source is necessary for growing crops and for human survival. Rainwater harvesting systems and wells can provide water to a community, while drip irrigation systems give farmers access to water for their crops.