Help Out the Local Farmers
Half of the population in India relies on farming as their source of livelihood. But with the recent issues arising from the three market-friendly bills, which two are already passed in the upper house or Rajya Sabha, it will greatly change the current farming practices in the nation.
To be able to sustain their way of life, we urge you to read on and see how you can help out our local farmers and their livelihood. Together, we can make a difference. Our team at FarmerFriend aims to provide a platform for them to strive and grow and a chance for the farming industry to flourish in the years to come.
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Agriculture in India
58% of the residents in India are farmers. Agriculture accounts for 25% of the nation’s economy and 60% of its labour force are in this sector. Considered a backbone of the economy, the sector is distinguished for its diverse cropping system sustained by the country’s amount of rainfall, soil condition and temperature. The major crops produced in India are rice and wheat, but there are other crop varieties available such as:
- Non-food items like coffee, cotton, jute, rubber and tea
The country is also ranked in the Top 10 fishing nations in the world with a total of 3 million metric tons of fish caught every year. With its large contribution to food production across the world, India has a robust agricultural sector. Its main features are:
- Largest land area for cotton, rice and wheat production
- The biggest producer of cotton, farmed fish, rice, sugarcane, wheat and other food products
- The biggest producer of milk, pulses and spices
Though there’s been a decline in the number of farmers recently, the land area for cultivation has steadily increased to covering half of India’s total area. With the high growth rates of the services and industrial sector, agriculture’s share has been reduced to only 15% of the nation’s economy in the present time.
This sector has been projected for major growth in the coming years, but it’s faced with countless challenges that have plagued it for decades. Since half of the nation are farmers, a huge portion of their population is located in rural areas. 70% of India’s poor are in these areas and are dependent on a rural income.
To combat these problems, the nation must come up with plans and laws to create a productive, sustainable and diverse farming industry.
Challenges and solutions
- Increasing land production per unit of land
The sector makes up for a huge portion of the nation’s economy and total land area, but it has low yields compared to the world’s standards. Another problem that affects land production is improper water management. There’s a limit on water resources in India – with farmlands having to contend with the increasing demands of the urban areas and industrial sector.
If they can come up with a plan on how to properly manage the water resources available, then all of the present cultivable lands can be farmed. Other measures to increase the production are:
- Increasing yields with new and improved methods in farming
- Changing and branching out to a variety of higher value crops
- Designing value chains that will help reduce the marketing cost of the crops
- Improving water resources and irrigation management
- Promoting the use of new technologies
- Reforming and strengthening the research and development of the nation’s agriculture
- Production and distribution of high-quality seeds to farmers
The most vital factor for higher crop yields is the seed. It may be small, but it is critical to the growth of farm production. The National Seeds Corporation (NSC) was established in 1963 to combat this problem, but it’s not just about making quality seeds available to the farmers, but to produce a variety of seeds suitable for the different climates of India to diversify the crops produced.
- Limited access to manures and fertilizers to replenish the soil
Poor farmers don’t have the means to afford the use of fertilizers for their lands. Manures and fertilizers are highly needed to keep the soil healthy and nourished to become cultivable for years to come.
The government handed out incentives to farmers for the use of chemical fertilizers, resulting in an increase in its consumption. They have also put up fertilizer quality control labs to maintain its quality. But the use of these chemical products has resulted in another problem – environment pollution.
- Along with the sector’s growth, there must also be an effort to address the food security needs of India.
During the 70s and 80s, India saw an increase in food-grains and demands for rural labourers due to the country’s Green Revolution of the 1970s. This helped the government to combat the threat of famine and reduced rural poverty.
Agricultural growth slowed down in the 90s and 2000s and the Green Revolution wasn’t able to completely eliminate the threat of food scarcity. Lawmakers now have to change the existing policy and make programs and policies that are actually viable for the present demands of the agricultural sector.
- Lack of farming technology for use by small farmers
A large portion of the country still uses manual operations in farming. This is the case for most small and marginal farmers who are forced to farm using their hand and other simple tools like the sickle and wooden plough. To prevent the waste of labour, the use of new farming technologies and equipment are needed.
- Reducing poverty through rural development
On top of the improvement of the farming practices in the rural areas, it’s also crucial to provide the locals with other non-farming jobs that will allow the poor communities to have sustainable livelihoods and reasonable income.
Protest Against the New Farm Bills
India’s upper house recently passed two of the three market-friendly laws that will ease the regulations on sale, pricing and storage of farm goods. The bills have resulted in dividing public opinions, but farmers see them as an injustice giving a chance for middlemen to gain more and for big corporations to exploit them. Currently, the farmers took to the streets and started protesting against the bills.
Ways to Help the Farmers and Their Communities
Farmers are the key to combat hunger and poverty in the country. Here are some ways to help them.
- Preserving and taking care of our natural resources and environment.
Efforts must be made to create farming practices that are in sync with the local ecology. Farming can only be sustainable with a healthy and thriving natural environment.
- Create and inform the local farmers with sustainable farming techniques
For small, rural farms, organic farming and permaculture are much more sustainable. The government and non-profit organizations should unite to provide programs where farmers can learn sustainable farming practices.
- Keep the soil productivity for sustainable crop production
Making fertilizers and other compost materials available to farmers will help them keep a healthy soil for the cultivation of various crops. Access to high-quality seeds is also vital to sustaining the production of crops in different regions.
- Putting up rainwater harvesting systems and irrigation systems
Since water resources are limited, creating effective irrigation systems for farmers to access water for their crops and rainwater harvesting systems are crucial.
- Providing support through community-specific programs
Every farming community has a different need. Tailoring and designing programs that cater to these specific demands will help them succeed. No plan or program is a one-size-fits-all solution.
Practical Tips to Support Your Local Farmers
You may think that you don’t have the capacity to help out our local farmers. But you can and you must. We’ve put together a list that’ll give you a chance to support them even in small ways. Any action from you will make a difference in their lives.
- Buy from a farmer’s market or your local market
Avoid going to the grocery store when shopping for produce. Huge supermarkets mainly go through middlemen and the profits are divided. A farmer’s market or local ones get the products they sell directly from the farmers. They’re able to earn a full profit from their crops.
Getting your vegetables and fruits directly from the farmers will give you the best and fresh batch of produce to enjoy. Avoid haggling prices because farming is not an easy job, and it takes hard labour to reap harvests.
- Buy from special online shops
You can find a number of online sites these days that offer produce straight from the farmers. It’s cheaper and there are more items to choose from.
- Enjoy a meal at farm-to-table restaurants
Taste delicious meals made from locally-grown produce. You’re guaranteed to get quality food at a reasonable price and you’re given a chance to try out local flavours.
Here at FarmerFriend, you can get locally-grown quality produce at a cheap price. See the rest of our site for our great offerings.