Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Solidarity to 490 Millions of Small farmers

Agriculture in India has long history, India ranks second worldwide in farm output. India is a land of 490 million small farmers of total 600 million and having the average land size of 3.2 acres (1.3 hectares). They are cultivating their small farms with the support of their family members and local labor. Small Farms have always been the most efficient for sustainable and bio-diversified way of agriculture. Small farms have tremendous scope for increasing productivity because the natural capital - the soil, the water, and the ecology can be improved through conservation and rejuvenation.60% of the farm produces comes from the small farms only which are assuring food security, rural employment, generating the revenue in the form of taxes, cess and foreign currency through exports. But India lost her 200,000 of quality farmers from past 15 years who are committed suicides and around 100 million of farmers are living on less than a dollar per day. 40% of the small farmers are being forced to leave the agriculture and migrating to towns and cities.

Farmers are dragged in to such kind of plights due to various reasons like spurious seeds, poor quality pesticides, non availability of fertilizers, delayed monsoons, ineffective irrigation system, mounting debts, exploitation by private money-lenders and banks, lack of insurance, Government polices and so on… The main problems for the ill-fated farmers are their Indebtedness and credit crisis, because the income from their farms is not sufficient to their farm investment and their generic living expenditure. The farm incomes are connected with the farm produce prices which are not remunerative and farmers are getting very less share for their produces paid by the consumer. Commercial Banks are also responsible for farmers’ perils, they are not extending enough agriculture loans to farmers. Some small farmers are not qualified to avail the credit facilities due to bankers’ abusive norms which are forcing them to turn to private money lenders with exorbitant interest rates. The government improper models of industrialization are pushing the rural communities off the land. The small farmers are migrating to cities as construction labor, apartment watchmen and positively they don’t want their children as to become farmers. Very few young people are coming into farming … If this situation continues, India can’t expect food security and it’s going to be the REPUBLIC OF HUNGER.

In fact, India needs small farmers because her peace, her land sovereignty, her food sovereignty is in their hands. They are the pillars of the country’s development. There is a need to encourage the small farmers by providing easy access to credit facilities, Reserve Bank of India has to control the rural banks/commercial bank to extend the agri loans to small farmers and Tenant farmers. The government has to make sure the supply of quality seeds, prompt distribution of fertilizers, extension support, marketing, and insurance to small farmers. Public Private Partnership is required to promote organic farming among the small farmers. Government should provide subsidized for farm equipment, proper training and techniques to use innovative tools to avoid physical drudgery. Basic literacy and women farmers’ encouragement programmes should be evolved to their family and rural community development.  The government should enact the collective farming / Contract farming with the modality of merging small farm land holdings under farmers cooperatives, make the farmers as independent share holder and collectively utilizing the supply chain/value chain with farmers operated marketing societies or private processors. (Just like dairy cooperatives). Government should reinforce the rural communities by providing basic welfare amenities like drinking water, electricity, transportation, primary health and sanitation.

We hope…all the small farmers avail the modern technologies and market opportunities to strengthen their economic status as well as nation’s prosperity. This is a part of campaign to get the United Nations to declare International Year of Family farming. Please Visit: http://www.familyfarmingcampaign.net/