Surplus farm production is no reason to celebrate

July 11, 2018

 

More production does not necessarily means more income for the farmers. The concept of ‘the more, the merrier’ doesn’t apply to farm produce and farmers’ state as much as the government thinks. Increased agricultural produce cannot be directly related to better financial position of farmers. Farmers are in distress owing to low farm prices, poor logistics for transport and government-assured purchases. Farmer agitations all across the country in the past few months have been focused on demanding an increase in MSP.

According to the agriculture ministry latest estimates, in 2017-18, the total horticulture production of the country was 307.2 million tonnes, which are 2.2 per cent higher than the previous year and 8.6 per cent higher than the past 5 years’ average production. In 2017-18, 181 tonnes of vegetables were produced and that was about 1per cent higher than the year before. When it comes to fruits, 94.4tonnes were produced, which was 2 per cent higher than the previous year.

The government may be very proud and excited about this increment, but reality if far from the present scenario. More production does not mean more income for the farmers and this is obvious in the chronic rise in agrarian riots since 2014.

Recorded incidents of agrarian riots jumped 670 per cent from 628 in 2014 to 4,837 in 2016, according to the latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau.

While there have been several incidences of farmers’ distress and discontent, at least 37 major farmer protests from 15 states that took place between Jan 2017 to May 2018 made news headlines this year, according to ‘State of India’s Environment in figures’.

In fact, experts have even suggested that India needs to adopt a “well designed” integrated farming system (IFS) to double farmers’ income by 2022. IFS is a farming practice meant for all-round development of agriculture with animal husbandry and other occupations related to core agricultural practices. It has the capability to make the sector profitable.

 

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