Farmers can’t wait

| Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on April 25, 2016

‘Chained to debt in life and death’ by A Narayanamoorthy and P Alli (April 25) is a down-to-earth account of the distressed farmer. The condition of the Indian farmer is very much like King Sisyphus condemned for all eternity to rolling a boulder up a hill, only to watch it slide down before it reaches the top, and then to start all over again. Indebtedness is not the heart of the problem, it is income deficit. The income from farming is much lower than the cost of cultivation and not enough to provide a minimum acceptable living wage. Farmers continue to be exploited by middlemen.

Wastage at the harvest and post-harvest stage is also abnormally high in India. There is a huge gap between potential and actual yield in the case of several crops, caused by technology fatigue, soil fatigue and delay in technology transfer to the field.

Agriculture and agriculturists can be saved only through structural changes. Firstly, we must forge efficient commodity value chains dovetailed to markets. Secondly, farming must be transformed into agribusiness and farmers into agripreneurs. Thirdly, agriculture must adopt technology such as micro irrigation, precision farming, fertigation, soil testing, etc. Finally, the Government must create a responsive ecosystem ensuring timely and adequate supply of credit at affordable cost, crop insurance, storage facilities for perishables, national e- market linking all wholesale markets, and efficient procurement mechanisms whenever there is a crash in prices.

Philip Sabu

Thrissur, Kerala

It is important to realise that given the choice, more than 40 per cent of farmers will quit farming. In India, agricultural research has never been truly farmer centric. Researchers have to get out of their climatised laboratories and offices and soil their hands and feet in farmers’ fields.

China developed a strategy based on this principle with remarkable success.

KP Prabhakaran Nair

Kozhikode, Kerala

Cold response

This refers to the report, ‘India needs a robust judiciary’ (April 25). It is surprising that the Prime Minister, who was present when Chief Justice TS Thakur broke down, has proposed no concrete action plan in response to the CJI’s impassioned appeal to do something to save the judiciary from collapsing from the backlog. His advice to cut down on court holidays, suggesting judges are indolent, does not address the question of shortage of courts and judges. Overburdening the already overworked judges will produce only diminishing returns. The current judge strength is less than half what’s required.

G David Milton

Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu

Preserve their present

This refers to ‘The PF paradox’ by Aditi Nigam (From the Viewsroom, April 25). Unilaterally changing the rules affecting labour without understanding the ground realities will result in trouble. Problems faced by the corporates cannot be compared with the problems of the working class. Corporates operate under the structure of limited liability whereas there is no such provision for the working class. Shutting the door to draw from their own savings may not be appropriate. The future is important but the present is much more important.

S Kalyanasundaram


Take charge

This refers to your edit, ‘Not just cricket vs water’ (April 25). The whole country is going through a heat wave and the States that have declared drought were clearly underprepared.

The Centre should ensure timely release of funds and make sure it travels shoulder to shoulder with the States in this time of crisis. Banks have the network needed to provide credit to every farmer in this country and we should make sure that the regulatory system empowers our banks to fulfil the credit requirements of farmers; farm debt is a major problem which needs to be addressed if we want a sustainable agricultural sector. Investment on irrigation and creating awareness on water conservation and providing market access to farmers is the way forward.

CR Arun


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Published on April 25, 2016
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