Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Today more and more farmers are leaving sugarcane for other crops .The price for the crop has dropped considerably in recent time .The price of Sugarcane in Uttarakhand in between Rs.120-125/quintal. In UP, the rate has were not declared. Farmers are complaining, as they have not been paid for the last lot.
In Doiwala, Dehradun farmers have found a better option. According to Gurdeep Singh , a farmer ,there is mill in the area where farmers of the village used to sell the cane .The same mill consumed sugarcane from nearby regions as well. The sugar mill was a Pvt.Mill and was establised in year 1950-51.It became a Government enterprise in year 1998.
In year 1990, a company called ‘Flax Food Company’ came to the village and motivated villagers to produce different vegetable and plants. The farmers tried their hands on it. In the beginning mushroom and strawberry along with vegetables like Broccoli was cultivated and supplied to the company. Slowly company asked them to grow herbs. Common herbs grown are:
when the company approached farmers only 20 farmers agreed . Two-acre land was under herb cultivation at that time. Today the land area under cultivation has increased to eight acre and a total of 200 framers are involved in it.
The company guides farmers for cultivation . There are strict instructions on the percentage, type and time of the fertilizers to be used. Farmers follow the instructions and sell the produce to them. The company pays directly. Usually a single crop is cut thrice .The production is around 500 kg /bigha that means on an average from a single crop the farmer produces 1600 kg /bigha in a year. The produce is sold at the rate of Rs.6/kg. This company has a consumption capacity of 5000 tonnes and it exports the processed products to countries like England, Germany, and Denmark .
The company at the same time provides farmers with manure, pesticide etc .It is however not compulsory to buy from the company only. Farmers however prefer company’s product as they are more reliable and at reasonable rate as compered to public services.
The sugarcane has suffered a lot as the whole belt, at one point of time, produced sugarcane. This includes: Shyampur, Satyanarayan, Panchwani, Chhidrawala, Kanwali, Vikasnagar. Today area under sugar cultivation is either lost completely or has decreased considerably .The farmers fear that in the present condition the sugar mill in the region will not sustain for long.
This story was an excellent example of the direct relationship between farmer and industry. Paying fairly good price to the farmers for their produce serves their purposes and is beneficial to the industry as well. But still a partnership with the industry will secure the future in better way.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Secondly a farmer never gets the right share of profit .A quintal of wheat for example is fixed at the price of Rs.1100.A farmer sells wheat trader or middle man or mill owners ,at the rate of Rs.600-700 per quintal because the middleman pays him right away.The middle man sells it at the fixed rate of Rs.1100 there by earning major profit straight away. At the same time,mill owners on the other hand produce the following products from a quintal of wheat:
Suji 10 kg @Rs. 20=Rs.200
Maida 10 kg @Rs. 20=Rs.200
Aata 70 kg @Rs. 12=Rs.840
Choker 10 kg @Rs. 10=Rs.100
Total earning =Rs.1340
Similarly Mustard has a fixed price of Rs.3100/quintal.Farmer is paid it at the rate of Rs.1500 by middleman.Trader sells it at Rs.3100.Out of one quintal, the following products are made by processing mills:
Mustard oil 45 kg @Rs.70=Rs.3150
Khali 55 kg@Rs.7=Rs.385
The story is same for other crop produce and processed forms.Why cant a farmer get a share in this profit chain?
Friday, March 7, 2008
The team was amazed to see kilometer long queue of tractors loaded with mainly potatoes .All waiting for the storage to open. The farmers usually stay there day and night because the space is limited and there is no other storage facility in the region. Farmers on the way were waiting for last 7 days. But storage did not open .It was however opened for the big farmers.
There is again a plot against farmers here .The storage owner buys each bag of potato at the rate of Rs.40/quintal from the big farmer and charges Rs.50 from small farmers. There are usually 120 bags in one tractor. There is no law that under which storages operate here. The owners fix the price. The tractor is hired by the farmers at the rate of Rs500 /day. Apart from this the storage owners sell their own bags to farmers with a price of Rs.16 per bag. The owners do not entertain any farmer until and unless the produce is filled in their own bags. That is an added burden on the farmers’ .In their long wait, the potato or any other produce, often gets dried up or spoiled. There is no control of the government on storage operations in the area, so the owner can refuse the farmer or adjust the price according to its convenience. Here the farmers sell its produce at the rate of Rs80-100/quintal, and if he opts for the second option and goes to Mandi he gets Rs.60-80 for the same quantity. So in both cases the farmer is at loss. In the storage, when a farmer goes to collect its material the owners return the spoilt one and are not responsible for the spoilage of any sort. If the storage is being used for a longer period the farmer has to pay a certain amount of interest to the owner.
This is clearly a form of ‘Exploitation’
On this, the owners store their own commodity and give spare space to farmers on their own price. Usually the price is not fixed and the owner is the sole authority as far as price fixing is concerned.
The farmer in short has no place to go.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Water scarcity is often the reason for conflict among different communities .
The yatra team ,after a series of meetings and discussions with local communties found that a proper management of water is urgently required.The team witnessed many traditional systems of water conservation.Growing needs , and depleting water resources both call for local water management.
In Andhra pradesh and Tamilnadu the local community is using local water bodies for irrigation and other purposes.They used to have ponds , through which the rain water is conserved and havested.
Andhra Pradesh was known for its traditional water bodies at one point of time .Today large number of such bodies have vanished .
In Adilabad district there were at least 350 ponds but today only 10 are left.The water bodies are managed by the local people only.
Village Etchora in Adilabad have the total supply of water through ponds . No pump or machinery is used.The ponds catered needs of the vilage.Another important thing that was noticed was traditionally 10% of the total produce of the village was used for the to maintenance school and other community institutions.There was a “community system”.Later when Britishers entered the village and introduced the Patta system.This broke the community system of the village.
Similarly in Mysore there were around 50,000 small and big ponds.The community in the District still believe in the tarditional system and at one of the village the villagers were digging the pond with the help of cattle and it was also decided whosover from the village goes to the site should dig it .A community approach was seen here.Moeover there was a concept of plantation around such water bodies “Nirmal Shrubs” as they are called were palnted around, so as keep the surrounding clean.
At another place a chain of ponds was catering the local water needs.The ponds were made in way that, allows excess water from one pond to flow naturally through a trench into the next one . Thus, rainwater flows horizontally, at lower velocity, with minimum degradation of silt.
Yatra team found that Andhra Pradesh and Tamil nadu has impressive local water harvesting systems. When the country is facing water crisis and it is only going to worsen in future, an initiative to conserve and harvest water by traditional methods can be a good and a sustainable solution.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Climate change is going to reduce the agriculture up to 40% and it will lead to less food and growing resentment among the deprived section of the society .The resentment often leads to what we term as ‘Terrorism or naxalism’. A deprived person will have no choice but to snatch things from the so called rich section of the society. Taking example of water ,nobody thought that a day will come when it will sold .Today we have packaged water and what not .If this can happen with water why cant it happen with food. We already have a number of packaged food in the market and cost is going to rise in future.
Thus,there is an urgent need to re launch agriculture and revive the policies so that it addresses to the growing needs of the country. One important thing is to take the climatic advantage and go for ecological farming.
Today the farmer do not want his kids to continue farming as it doesnt fetch good money.Most of them also feel that in this Agrarian country farmers are not respected and are among the ones who are ignored the most.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The cycle Yatra that started for the cause of Indian farmers is reaching Rajasthan tomorrow.The yatris are more than just content about the journey so far.The experience and exposure that they have got is what they could have only imagined.Every yatri now has a very clear picture of the problems that the country is facing today .Here is one liners rom each member of this Yatra:
Madan pal,farmer:"If Government can ignore the people living around roads and highways ,what about others."The access to interior parts is important here.
Anil Joshi,Leader of te Yatra:"We must thank God that every farmer in the country does not commit suicide otherwise they will not have a breathing space. "There is still a lot that can be done to improve the condition of farming and farmers in the country.
Manmohan Singh Negi:"In the states that the Yatra has covered so far it is seen that In Tamilnadu there is maximum dependence on the Government .Other states are still making a lot of local efforts to solve their problems. "It again proves the importance of local solutions,that are more sustainable and also reliable.
Prem dutt Mamgai:"Several factors of mixed nature are responsble for the decline in interest in agriculture.It is for our own interest that we tried to study the climate change impact and other factors because at the end of the day everyone needs the food to eat."
Tanuja Nainwal:"Poor farming returns are borne more by the woman.Even if the farmer kills himself it is the woman who is left to look after the family, pay the debt and get food. "
Nisha Rathore:"Women's contribution in agriculture is grossly underestimated.We all know that her contribution is not less than 60% in farming but still they are least acknwledged for it.Again a Mans World."
Dayaram Nautiyal:"Rapid repalcement of local seeds with hybrid varieties is leading to many problems, the most important is that farmer is losing its control over the seeds."
Meeta Kukreti:"Agricuture should be taught from early stages .This will be extremely beneficial to students coming from families with agriculture as the main occupation."
Hanif Gandhi:"Language is a big barrier in disemmination of the knowledge."
Dwarika Semwal:"If the things go on like this soon the farming will be taken over by industrial houses and contract farming will emerge in a big way."
Anand Negi:"It is sad and unfortunate that no local produce is sold in the local market of the villages covered by the yatra so far.The rural area has become the biggest market for the urban products and this way the dependency on urban area for every need is increasing day by day."
The land of farmer is going away in one way or another .As stated by Sunnaswamy of village Gundal Patti , district Adilabad,Karnataka "Government comes and takes the land for highway,road ,railway or industries and we are hardly given any choice.We do not know where to go .Some times we think that the independence has brought nothing for us.Our condition is still same. Infact Britishers never snatched the land from farmers.We still do not feel that we have got the freedom we are still being ruled, the only difference is that earlier the Britishers ruled over us and now our own fellow man rule over us."
Agriculture may be included in the course curriculum of at least secondary school levelling in all states.
In India more than than 65% of the population depends on agriculture.Hence, agriculture may be given a industrial status and therefore adequate budgetary allocation are needed for its developments .The current budget has taken into consideration a bit of it but still lot still needs to be done.
Population growth in rural areas (>4%) is much higher than the national average (<2%).poor health and education system is the major cause for this imbalance .To reduce its dependency on agriculture and further division of land holding ,population management in rural areas should be one of the top priorities.Hence, its popuation policy should be the integral part of agriculture as a more respectable profession.
Rural infrastructure like all weather road , assured electricity and irrigation facility backed with proper marketing avenues for agriculture input and output will go a long way in addressing its concerns of declining profitability in agriculture and to make agriculture as a more respectable profession .
Agro based industries should essentially be set up near rural areas and they can be located on the wasteland sites or land with poor fertility .This will have a multiplier ffects on rural development and checking in rural migration.
Rural bank/credit needs more reforms so that the system becomes more farmer friendly.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Indian farmer ..
In a village of Guna district, the political parties promised to give farmers an exemption from the electricity bill in case their party wins . Majority of the farmes voted for the party.But after the party won at the state level , as usual the promise made by the party was broken and the farmers in the villgers got the electricity bill amounting as high as Rs.50,000.The villagers collectively went to the CM He assured them that they will recive a 75% exemption .The assurance also has proven fake as their supply were being disconnected incase of non-payment of total amount.
Apart from this even the nature was playing games .This year the severe cold has destroyed Coriander and Gram crop the most .Gopal singh of Ramanna Village District Guna was very optimistic about the profit from the Coriander that he grew in his 50 acre field , but now he has suffered a great loss.