The Farmers remain 'neglected' even in 2019- Data - Seeker's Thoughts

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The Farmers remain 'neglected' even in 2019- Data

In India farmers are hugely dependent upon the rain for agricultural production. The problem is that they remain neglected from the attention of the government. 

According to the data, three out of five farmers in India grow their crop using the rainwater, instead of irrigation. 

Basically, there has been negligence towards rainfed areas, which has certainly impacted on the farmer's income. 

How can these problems be?- The Proof

The Revitalising Rainfed Agriculture Network has released a new Rainfed Agriculture Atlas on 14th February 2019. 

The atlas shows the agro biodiversity and socio –economic condition prevailing area wise. In fact, it also attempted to document the policy biases that made the farming unviable in rainfed areas. 

What is Rainfed Agriculture Atlas?
Rainfed atlas is released by the Revitalising Rainfed Agriculture Network. 
It shows the agricultural biodiversity and socio - economic conditions. 

What is Revitalising Rainfed Agriculture Network?
Revitalising Rainfed Agriculture network is a pan- Indian of academics, civil society organization development bankers, and others, formed in 2010 working to enhance public investments in support of rainfed agriculture. 
It works towards prosperous, productive and secure rainfed agriculture.
RRA network has been evolving operational processes for planning and convergence to facilitate the revival of rainfed agriculture.

Atlas map revealed that policy are making farming not feasible. Over 61% of India’s farmers rely on rain-fed agriculture and 55% of the gross cropped areas are under rainfed farming.
Key Highlights of the New Atlas 

According to the atlas three out of five farmers in India grow their crops using rainwater, instead of irrigation. However, per hectare government investment on their lands may be 20 times lower, procurement of their crops is a fraction of major irrigated land crops, and many of the flagship agriculture schemes have not given them any benefit.

 In terms of procurement over the decade between 2001-02 and 2011-12, the government procured 5.4 lakh crore rupees of wheat and rice. On the other hand, coarse cereals, which are grown in rainfed areas, only had 3,200 rupees crore worth of procurement in the same period.
 Flagship government schemes, such as seed and fertiliser subsidies and soil health cards are designed for irrigated areas and simply extended to rainfed farmers without taking their needs into consideration.

Rainfed agriculture contributes to 60% of the value of agriculture GDP of India; there is a clear-cut bias towards irrigated areas when it comes to public investment in agriculture in the country.

There has been negligence towards rainfed areas which is leading to lower incomes for farmers in these areas. Farmers in rainfed areas are receiving 40% less of their income from agriculture in comparison to those in irrigated areas.

Farming Crisis
After so many flagship schemes in agriculture sector Indian farmers are facing constant pain in farming, after spending thousands of hundred crore why farmers are not able to improve their income and why are they are not able to use all the resources which are provided by the government? Why Indian farmers are still in debt? The average income of farmers is a little over Rs 6,000- odd a month.
Ten years ago it was around Rs 2,000, according to the National Sample Survey Organisation. 
In 2013 about 52% of the agricultural households in the country were estimated to be in debt, as against 48.6% in 2003.
The farmer today is in debt, finds it difficult to get credit; rural banks have been shut down and agriculture credit is high in metropolitan cities.  And after 3, 21,428 farmers have committed suicide between 1995 and 2015 according to the National Crime Records Bureau. 
The majority of the agriculture land is monsoon dependent. If there is good monsoon, the entire agriculture sector is upbeat, but if the monsoon fails, every farmer is affected, resulting fall in production. 
Irrigation which consumes more than 80% of the total water use in the country is not properly overhauled. Over usage of water unplanned water management methods has spoiled the irrigation system across the country.
Outdated farming technology
One of the primary reasons for fall in agriculture productivity is the lack of implement advanced farming technology. Besides, poor farming communities in the country, lack the understanding of modern agriculture methods to improve productivity.
The practice of planting crops which require more water like rice on the basis of irrigation facilities are expand to the water deficient areas. The problem is that deficient area consumes more water than required. 
Moreover, the excessive evaporation causes natural salts to deposit and accumulate on the fields, which enables land to lose their fertility quickly.
A way forward
India has already set a target of achieving an ambitious target of doubling farm income by 2022; it has also plans to increase the average income of a farmer household. 
More balanced approach is needed to give rainfed farmers technology and production support that their counterparts in irrigation areas have received over the last few decades.
Government should review again the ongoing policies and bring radical changes in the working process, in the long run cash incentives and income support like the PK-KISAN scheme announces in the interim budget 2019 are better than extensive procurement as they are inclusive in character, and doesn’t distinguish between farmers in one area or another, growing one crop or another.
There is a need to increase investment in agriculture infrastructure such as irrigation facilities, warehousing and cold storage the agriculture sector in India is expected to generate better yield and growth in the next few years. Agriculture experts hope that India is expected to be self-sufficient in pulses in few years. This is mainly due to great hard work of scientists to get early-maturing varieties of pulses supported by the increase in minimum support price.
Along with income support to help farmers through current crisis, it is now the time to design better structured intervention for the future. Ease of doing business, ease of doing farming should be done on the parameters of seeds, soil, and water in rainfed areas to make agriculture attractive in the long term.

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