The global rise in temperature works as a catalyst in increasing the number of farmers’ suicide. As per a study by University of California, Berkeley, almost 60,000 farmer suicides in the last three decades were due to climate change. The world is witnessing the horrific consequences of rising mercury and the farm sector is not aloof to the phenomenon.
The released report states crop-damaging temperatures increase suicide rates in India. Last year, farmer suicides decreased but remained at an epidemic level in some state, causing pressure on legislators to announce loan waiver, but is it a permanent solution?
The two major drawbacks that plague Indian agriculture is the lack of scientific approach and dependence on monsoons. Dating back to our independence, every government has boasted of working for farmers but the reality states otherwise. About 60 per cent of farm land in the nation still doesn’t have proper irrigation facility. We feel proud saying that India is a nation of farmers and our farm productivity serves as the backbone of our economy but we ignore the trend that numbers of farmers are growing at a decreasing rate as no farmer wants his son to become a farmer.
There’s is a reason for this. The increasing irregularity of rains has increased the vulnerability of farmers’. They don’t want their upcoming generations to crave for two certain square meals. Many part time farmers have switched to being full-time labourers in the unorganized sector of our nation as they get assured daily wages doing it. Increasing urbanization is also a by-product of this anomaly of our system.
National Agricultural Market is a good initiative to provide maximum selling price for farmers’ produce but what if there’s no produce? The first attempt of government (be it state or Central) should be towards building proper infrastructure for the farm sector. Sticking to basics like providing proper canal system, crop-rotation policy, and selection of crop according to the soil-profile will change the complete dynamics of agriculture in India. Mechanization of agriculture and providing e-markets can just provide impetus to productivity, so these are the steps that should be followed after the basics are firmly rooted.
The farm sector which employs loosely 65 per cent of our 1.3 billion big population contributes just 14 per cent our gross domestic product (GDP). Last month’s Supreme Court advice fits perfectly well here- “It is the duty of executive governments to ensure that such incidents must not happen. The policy for the welfare of farmers must be implemented at the ground level. The approach of the governments should be preventive rather than compensatory.”