Economics & Politics / Rural India

Future of Indian Agriculture Sector : Changing Attitude of Farmers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Indian agriculture is standing at a threshold right now, the environment is right for the Green Revolution Vol. 2.0.

The steady economic growth in Industrial & Service sector, as a result of small steps taken towards a Free Market Economy in 1990’s, should not be taken as end-all of all reforms in India. The Indian Economy is still not in that auto-pilot stage where the high growth will continue for years to come without any further policy report. We still have miles to go before we reach world-class standards in the Industrial & Service sector.

And when it comes to Agriculture sector, we have not even started the journey yet. Even though the contribution of Agriculture sector to India’s GDP has significantly came down, its significance has not diminished.

To feed the 1.21 billion population, we need a world-class Agriculture system. We not only need to meet the global standards in agriculture productivity, there is a need to consider Agriculture in India as a unique model of development. After-all, the life & future of 850 million people depend on it.

Some areas in India (the Gangetic belt)  are the oldest cultivation sites, humans start cultivation here in pre-historic years & continue to do so even today.  This means the practices followed by the farmers in these areas are ingrained in their believe system, socio-culture traditions. For successful transformation Agriculture in India, most critical part is not just providing the farmer’s modern tools for agriculture, but also to encourage a change in their attitude towards agriculture. And as a first in that direction, one needs to understand their attitude towards agriculture, learn from them, see how the changes are taking place in farmer’s attitude which will make the environment suitable for the Green Revolution Vol. 2.


1. Increasing willingness to move beyond self-sufficiency in farming, or even beyond farming

  • With reducing size of landholdings and an increasing scope for commercialization in farming, farmers today are looking for more and more opportunities
  • Looking for ways to grow or sustain in the increasingly competitive market, like by way of acquiring more land  and therefore yield or by adopting modern techniques of farming
  • Farming on profit-sharing basis an emerging trend, especially  for those who are themselves engaged in own business or are employed elsewhere
  • Therefore, more proactive than ever before, generally on the lookout for quicker and reliable information in this regard

“I am into farming, so I would like to do modern farming – which would give me a better yield. We will then earn more money, and use that for our children’s education and to have a better standard of living”

“Because of tractor and modern implements, we save a lot of time. The work which earlier used to be done in eight days is now completed in three days. So, I get more time for myself or to complete other important works. I can also help my brother with shop keeping and pay attention to my son’s education”

2. More open to spending on material possessions – luxury becoming a necessity

“We have a better lifetsyle today. Now we can fulfill all our desires. We can wear better clothes, we have better appliance today. I am planning to buy many other appliances for my home”

  • Greater willingness to fulfill the desires of self and family, a visible change from the time when everything was saved for the rainy day

3. Rising consciousness regarding their children’s education and growth

  • Realize the criticality of education for their children and are willing to invest in the same. Their children (son as well as daughter) are moving out of the village to get better education
  • No compulsion for their children to enter into farming, they are free to make their choices, especially knowing the hardships or seasonality involved
  • Those interested are being encouraged to get trained and then experiment in this field rather than relying on traditional methods or trial and error
  • However, with farming becoming more simpler and commercialized from their times, the scope of turning farming into a profitable profession is also higher
4. Increasing opportunity cost of non-mechanization leading to a growing realization of its criticality so as to ensure a reasonable productivity and yield
  • Constantly upgrading farming techniques and implements, to give a better yield and thereby fetch better price in the market
  • Increasing peer pressure, adoption of newer ways by some farmers creates pressure on others to follow, especially when the benefits are widely apparent
  • Mechanization also becoming critical with increasing scarcity of farm labor (increasingly migrating to cities/ bigger places for better opportunities) and labor costs soaring

“Today’s generation has lot more awareness, they are young, energetic and their attitude towards farming is commercial. Earlier it was not so, we used to do emotional farming”

5. Ownership not necessary today for interacting with/ accessing mechanization – thereby, helping the farmers cross the mental barrier to some extent

  • The trend of hiring implements/ tractor/ bullock etc. on rent has made everything easily accessible
  • But with increasing requirements for these things and soaring rent charges, the recurring expenses have also taken a new high especially for the small farmers
  • While the relatively well-off or enterprising farmers are reaping the benefits of this trend

“While new technology is within our reach, our expenses have also risen. But then the returns are also good”

“Earlier we were poor when we used to rely on bullocks for farming, but since the time we have started using tractor, we have made lot of progress”

6. However, some areas of vulnerabilities continue to be relevant 

  • Dependence on rains for irrigation
  • Finance or cash availability still a constraint with most farmers, except for the few well-off, well connected farmers
  • Limited access to timely & reliable information, affecting planning & accuracy of decisions

“In farming, the main problem is regarding water…the crop yield can improve only if we can get sufficient water”

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