Agri Business

New Year resolution: No farm-loan waiver, please

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on December 31, 2018 Published on December 31, 2018

At present, farmers get for short-term loan of up to Rs 3 lakh at 7 per cent interest rate. An additional incentive of 3 per cent is being given to them for prompt repayment.

Farmers in Hiware Bazar village decide to do away with middlemen instead

2019 might be another farm-loan waiver year, but farmers in drought-affected Hiware Bazar village in Maharashtra, have a different plan in mind. They are not interested in the government’s loan waiver, but have resolved to develop their own marketing model this year to increase profits.

Even as the Centre mulls over how to help farmers and achieve its ambitious target of doubling their income, farmers here have shown the way by multiplying their income by conserving every drop of water and making agriculture a profit-making venture. The average monthly income of the farmer here has increased from ₹832 in 1991 to ₹32,000 today.

“Loan waivers will not help. We don’t want them. Instead, the government must empower farmers and make them less dependent on loan waivers. It is a proven fact that loan waivers don’t help farmers sustain and survive. We just need pure seeds, electricity and a fair price for our produce,” a farmer and village deputy sarpanch Popatrao Pawar told BusinessLine.

Like Pawar, many farmes here believe their fate is in their own hands. “The village has a tradition of holding a meeting on December 31 every year to review water availability and decide the cropping pattern. We have a water budget every year and if there is a water deficit, farmers take a collective break from farming. But this does not affect their earnings as the dairy business earns enough money,” said Pawar.

Marketing network plan

This year, farmers resolved that they would develop their own marketing network to sell their produce and keep away middlemen. “The middleman system is getting stronger and earning without doing any work. We are finding a solution. This is our New Year’s resolution,” said Pawar.

Hiware Bazar, located in an arid zone of Maharashtra in Ahmednagar district, gets 200-300 mm rainfall. Twenty-five years ago, villagers launched water conservation and watershed management works. They ensured that not a single drop of rainwater was wasted.

They changed the cropping pattern and also stopped growing water guzzling sugarcane, instead opting for vegetables, pulses, flowers and fruit cultivation.

Village farmers have a strong dairy business and about 4000 litres of milk is produced daily. Because of profit-making no family in the village is living below the poverty line. In last 25 years, Hiware Bazar has not called for a water tanker and families that had left the village in search of a livelihood have returned back. Not surprisingly groundwater is available at just 20-40 ft in Hiware Bazar while surrounding villages have to dig 300-400 ft.

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Published on December 31, 2018
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