Farmers Suicide has been increasing over the past number of years but what exactly reason for their suicides?
Agriculture has always been celebrated as the primary sector in India. India is an agrarian economy, which means, agriculture is the predominant sector of the Indian economy. True to this, even to this day in spite of the Indian economy opening out to the world and globalization, close to 70% of the population still depends on agriculture for its livelihood.
Behind all the growth and development lies the reality that Indian farmers have to face extreme poverty and financial crisis driving them to suicides. The year 1997 saw the first few cases of farmers committing suicides, these cases steadily increased over the next decade, peaking in 2001 and reports say that as many as 6000 farmers committed suicide in the last 5 years in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
What Are the Reason For Farmer Suicide?
To understand this, one must analyze the agriculture set up in India. Indian agriculture is predominantly dependent on nature. Irrigation facilities that are currently available do not cover the entire cultivable land. Any failure of nature directly affects the fortunes of the farmers.
Secondly, Indian agriculture is largely an unorganized sector, there is no systematic planning in cultivation, farmers work on lands of uneconomical sizes, institutional finances are not available and minimum purchases prices of the government do not, in reality, reach the poorest farmer.
India has witnessed a spate of droughts over the last decade. The worst affected is the farmers of Rayalaseema districts in Andhra Pradesh. Nature has repeatedly failed the farmers of these states and owing to lack of facilities to save their crops, these farmers have no means to face the adversities of crop failures.
The farmers normally resort to borrowing from money lenders, in the absence of institutionalized finance. where institutional finance is available, the ordinary farmer does not have a chance of availing it because of the procedures involved in disbursing the finance. The institutional finance, where available is mostly availed by the medium or large landowners, the small farmers do not even have the awareness of the existence of such facilities. The money lender is the only source of finance to the farmers.
Agriculture works out profitably where the size of the land is medium to large to benefit from the economies of large-scale production. the fact is that majority of the farmers in India own as little as 2 acres of land, cultivation on such small-sized lands is not feasible in many cases, the farmers are not even the owners of the land, which makes profitable cultivation impossible because a significant portion of the earnings go towards the payment of lease for the land . At times, even the middle to large landowners are faced with the difficulties of the vast majority of farmers, however, they are able to at least realize their investment for each crop.
How Can We Stop Farmers Suicide?
When then needs to be done to prevent this sad state of affairs? There cannot be one single solution to end the woes of the farmer. Giving monetary relief is not an effective solution. The solutions should aim at the entire structure of agriculture.
There cannot be one single solution to prevent the suicides of farmers. The trend can be reversed through the active participation of the government in addressing the real issues of the farmers that are driving them to suicides. Social responsibility also goes a long way to help the farmers.
The big landowners in most places do not lend a helping hand to struggling farmers, in most cases, they grab the benefits which are otherwise meant for the poor farmers. The general public, NGO ’s, Corporates and other organizations too can play a part in helping farmers by adopting drought-affected villages and families and helping them to rehabilitate
The solution to the farmer's plight should be directed towards enabling the farmers to help themselves and sustain on their own. Temporary measures through monetary relief would not be the solution… The efforts should be targeted at improving the entire structure of the small farmers wherein the relief is not given on a drought basis, rather they are taught to overcome their difficulties through their own skills and capabilities.
If India has to shine, it is these farmers that need to be empowered.