A nation’s progress is first and foremost dependant on its farmers’ welfare. Only if agriculture thrives, industries and services can flourish. If we neglect farming, we cannot expect our nation to do well. The prime job of any elected government is to empower our farmers since this has a direct impact on our economy.
Compared to 50 years ago, it is no doubt that today we boast of scientific advancements, better productivity, and improved self-sufficiency. But, at the same time, farm lands are being converted into housing plots, farmers are selling their produce at throwaway prices, and farmer suicides are hogging the headlines. These are hard realities that every elected government has to face and cannot ignore.
If you ask any city dweller what he thinks of agriculture, the sure reply he would give is that farmers in our country are unfortunate and their future is bleak. Ask him what he can do to make it better for farmers, and does he have any suggestions or ideas, and he would shrug his shoulders and walk away. His prime concern is that Rs 10 increase in the monthly expense that he may have to bear for his rice, dhal and vegetables. Most such people cannot comprehend or imagine what we farmers go through so we can produce good food for them.
When you are reading this column, I would have sent a report to the government regarding what needs to be done to revive agriculture which is sick and dying. In my report I had suggested that organic farming needs to given a boost and more awareness is needed all over India on its benefits, both for a farmer and the consumer. Not one organic farmer in India is in debt or has committed suicide. And I pointed this out in the report.
You also check with your sources. Why is it so?
The reason is simple — chemical fertilizers and their overuse, and mindless spraying of toxic insecticides have started taking a toll not only on soil health but also on human health. This is a fact any medical practitioner will vouch for. If you see around you, you can notice that the manufacturers of chemical fertilizers thrive well, those selling hybrid seeds flourish, companies selling mechanisation for farming operations are doing well, but famers, the users, are suffering.
Isn’t this an irony? So how do we get out of this vicious cycle of debt and dependence?
Simple, it’s high time we start making our own inputs for our crops. Doing so can cut our expenses by 70% and can also help us get toxin-free food.
We have to start changing and move towards making our own inputs and using them.
Remember friends, as I have told you in my earlier posts, I am talking to you as a farmer, not as a journalist. As a farmer hailing from a family of agriculturists for the last several generations I am able to realise that many of us incur debt mainly because we buy chemicals from retail shops. If this dependence can be curbed, it can reduce our debt and distress.
Like the old saying goes, give a man a fish, he will survive for a day. If you teach him how to fish, he will survive a lifetime. We have to start changing and move towards making our own inputs and using them. Please do not expect any person to come and tell you this or make the inputs. You have to do it. You have to search and seek information.
Google, go personally, meet folks in your local KVK or agriculture department, meet those farmers who are growing crops organically, ask them questions, get your doubts cleared and start. We have lost much in the last 50 years so let no more time be wasted.
Till we meet next week, let us be proud that we are farmers working for our country.