From the Viewsroom

Will rain alone boost farmers?

Gayathri G | Updated on January 20, 2018

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There are several other factors that tilt the balance

In light of the positive predictions about the monsoon, it’s natural to think that all our agrarian worries will be over soon. After two successive years of poor monsoon, the forecast of 106 per cent long period average sounds promising, but it is not sufficient to make up for the earlier droughts. It is predicted that we will receive the highest amount of rainfall since 1999 and that will contain inflation, fill up reservoirs and sustain overall economic growth. But this alone cannot resolve the ongoing agrarian crisis as rainfall will not be evenly distributed. Even in an excess rainfall year, there are States or pockets suffering from drought and vice-versa.

A clear picture will emerge only when the IMD comes out with a region-wise rain forecast. Also, an above-normal monsoon does not necessarily mean above-average agricultural growth, as many factors — flawed farm policies, poor management of water resources, delayed infrastructural development, availability of seeds, lack of formal market access, technology and/or finances, and, more importantly, poor warehousing or storage of foodgrains — are in play.

The FCI was set up to ensure price support operations to safeguard farmers’ interests, help in distribution of foodgrains through the PDS, and maintain a satisfactory level of buffer stocks. But every year we see foodgrains rotting due to improper storage facilities. The country fares poorly in the Global Hunger Index even as we have tonnes of foodgrains rotting in open yards under horrible weather conditions. Only innovative schemes for water preservation, value-addition to agri produce and more competition in the food storage sector can act as a panacea for the agrarian ills.

Chief Sub Editor

Published on April 21, 2016

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