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My dear farming friends, while I am writing this column, our brethren in delta districts are undergoing unimaginable hardships due to Gaja cyclone which has rendered hundreds homeless, destroyed homes, uprooted trees, and damaged crops and electricity poles. Our brothers and sisters have been made refugees in their own land. And rehabilitation by the government is as usual slow and god knows how many will get relief from the government. We all know how corrupt the system is so the question as to whether these people will ever get some monetary help is a big question?

Friends, for us the field is our workplace and a good crop is our annual income. India is an agrarian country, where farming is supposed to be thousands of years old, yet a majority of its farmers are not happy financially. Who is going to take responsibility for this?

Accountability is a must. There is no use in passing the buck. Sadly there is no accountability today or was ever there in the past. If you see or observe carefully almost all governments in the past till present have been announcing several schemes for us. But of what use are all the financial schemes and bank loans?

All this information is only on paper. To even get a small subsidy or information from a local agriculture office in our region we need to pull strings. I am sure many of you know the difficulty in availing a small-crop loan from a bank? At the same time, in the city a person is able to buy a brand new car for several lakhs in a few hours over the phone. Is this a healthy economy?

I am not against facilities and comforts. They are a necessity today, but in the name of new luxuries, we and our vocation should not be ignored.It is the prime duty of journalists to throw light and bring out solutions to burning problems in villages, instead of only reporting on deaths and suicides. It is true many of our brothers have committed suicide due to loss but there are still many left who are doing farming, with no choice. At least for those living the media should be proactive and encourage us by covering our work and achievement on and off.

Though many of our friends are true scholars in their area, in reality they are not treated so. I am sure you will agree with me on this. Have you visited your local agriculture university or kvk in your area? The high-rise red coloured brick compound wall and wire fences erected around create a mental block for us in entering the place.

We are used to treating anybody coming home as our guests as we strongly believe in: “Athithi devo bhava”, meaning treat our guests as god, but if we go to local agriculture or other government office we seldom receive even a courteous smile.

Famine, storm, flood, earthquake does not seem to affect a politician a bureaucrat or businessman – it is only we who have to endure the loss and suffers.Have you ever heard about a person from any other profession committing suicide due to business failure?

A basic profession as farming needs money. Seeds, insecticides etc. do not come free. Attracted by advertisements that endorse farming products a farmer buys them and uses it with hopes of high yields. When it fails, the company that supplied the product does not take any responsibility. The government for its part lowers the rate of interests time and again, thereby  encouraging us to take avail financial assistance, making us lifelong debtors. In the end the hope of a getting a good yield remains just a dream for us.

Will continue to talk next week………

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