What are the conditions of farmers in India like in terms of housing, security, etc?

1 Answer
Nov 4, 2016

I am not the right person to answer this but I have travelled in various interior parts of India and I must share one or two points with you.


India is geographically huge, with different climatic zones. Moreover soil conditions vary from region to region, hence farmers cultivate a variety of crops. Thus problems a farmer may face for example in gangetic plains would be very different from challenges faced by another in southern plateau. This will be further compounded by the fact that there are regions where land holdings are below one hectare: in India 67% of the farmland is held by marginal farmers. Average size of operational land holdings has reduced by half from 2.28 hectare in 1970-1971 to 1.16 hectare in 2010-2011 (NABARD).

Then there are communities traditionally engaged in farming but such people do not exist on government papers as 'farmer', simply because they do not own the land. At the time of draught they become unemployed and hence are worst affected.

I think India is going through a phase of transition when small farmers are slowly giving up their lands in favour of small jobs in industries. Though small and marginal farming has emerged as a distinct category in India, small farms are simply not viable economically. In some other places, farmers' cooperatives pool together the resources to tide over this problem. (e.g. AMUL is a brand owned by a dairy cooperative- http://www.amul.com/m/about-us)

In America, a trend of increase in farm size started with corresponding decrease in the number of farms during 1940s. Today in states like Punjab, small and marginal holdings are decreasing fast (a 25% decline in four decades). In coming years this trend will further increase.

From the above discussion it is evident that small and marginal farmers would not be able to save much for rainy days (I am not talking about rich landlords), though they may have a house. There are other socioeconomic constraints: like absence of education/health facilities in rural areas. Such factors may instigate families to migrate to nearby towns where they stay in dingy rented shacks. They neglect their farm land on one hand, and on the other they give up a clean environment for polluted urban slum.

Modi Government has announced that well being of farmers is a priority but the government must now become proactive in changing age old policies related to agriculture marketing. I must mention that Indian government announces 'minimum support price' of several crops so that farmers don't have to sell their produce at an abnormally low price. Such rates are revised every year and about 25 commodities are currently covered. Government has also launched crop insurance scheme.


Before I end this, I must ask you to visit the website of Indian Council of Agricultural Research. http://www.icar.org.in/ This organisation has played immense role in making the country self reliant in food production: after all our farmers are feeding a nation of 1.25 billion people.