Agri Business

It’s homework in the fields for farmers’ kids during the lockdown

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on April 15, 2020 Published on April 15, 2020

While their peers in cities are busy attending online classes during the lockdown, farmers’ kids are busy assisting their parents in the fields and selling farm produce door to door.

“The majority of children in rural areas are in the fields helping their parents. Farmers are already suffering heavily due to the lockdown, and during these testing times children are supporting their parents in all possible ways,” says Maruti Khude, a school teacher in Osmanabad. He added that the spread of coronavirus and the ensuing lockdown have changed the rural economy, adding to farmers’ distress. The crisis would have a major impact on farmers and their children, he says.

With Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) not functioning in many districts, farmers are selling their produce in local and city markets with the help of their children.

Ramkisan Nirmal, a farmer from Aurangabad, says that children have kept aside their studies as their families are fighting for survival.

“The lockdown has crippled farmers. Many are not even able to recover cultivation costs. I am not sure if farmers’ kids will be able to continue their school and college studies even after the lockdown is withdrawn. Farmers will have to choose between survival and education of their kids,” he says.

After graduation, many students from the Marathwada region migrate to Pune to take part in competitive examinations. However, under the current circumstances, the majority of them have returned to the villages and are working on farms. They are not sure of returning to the city.

For many children in rural areas, the Covid-19- crisis means the end of their school and college education. The most affected will be girls, whose education is anyway not a priority for many households.

The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) reveals that overall 69 per cent of females aged six and above have never attended school. Only a third of females have completed seven years of schooling or less, while 13 per cent have completed eight to nine years of schooling. The number of girls attending school declines further in secondary classes.

The survey has indicated that compared to boys more girls don’t attend school because their parents believe education is not necessary for them as they are required for household work.

Published on April 15, 2020

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