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This image is by Pinaki Roy, from The Daily Star. It shows how
middlemen are prioritised more by the government than the farmers,
and how helpless they are.

January 30, 2021

It’s not surprising, that dealing with the modern challenges of agriculture proves to be difficult for many Indian farmers. Limited access to information, frequently caused by low literacy rates directly translates into low-efficiency, low-productivity crops, trapping many farmers in a vicious cycle of poverty.

Agriculture accounts for up to 18 percent of India’s GDP and employs more than half of the country’s workers. Yet agricultural communities are among the most deprived communities in the nation. Poor living conditions have been blamed for the suicides of 3,000 Indian farmers over the last three years, according to the latest figures from India’s Ministry of Agriculture. And without increasing access to education or literacy, it’s tough to imagine a change in the status quo.

“For a lot of farmer families, education is still a big luxury. People cannot get educated because of financial problems, and they keep having financial problems because they are not educated,” says Dr. Vijayaragavan Vishwanathan.

Despite the claims of India being an agriculturist nation, farmers are a neglected lot as successive governments have ignored the need to educate the farming community. Lack of scientific knowledge about farming techniques and illiteracy are the main causes behind their exploitation and farmer suicides.

“Most Indian farmers don’t know what amount of water to use for which crop, neither do they understand the natural composition of the farm soil. clearly, they are deliberately being kept illiterate because if they weren’t, they would revolt against the injustice of this nation.”Said Amitabh Pavade a farmers rights activist in a discussion about farmer suicide. Tawade also blamed the government for implementing faulty policies which resulted in the exploitation of farmers. He pointed out that despite a substantial global demand forecast oil, the Indian government imports the oil instead of encouraging more farmers to go for castor cultivation. Thanks to the lack of education in their lives, they are being taken for granted at the cheapest of costs, in turn resulting in them taking their own lives due to the lack of money and feeling of helplessness.

Speaking of it in a more economic perspective in terms of India, the crisis arises by three major factors.First, the cost of production is going up because of rising input costs. Second, the risks involved are increasing due to erratic monsoon and market behaviour. Third, the return from farming is on the decline as pricing and procurement are unfavourable. Even crops like pulses, which we need badly to overcome protein hunger, are not being purchased at the minimum support price (MSP) announced. Chilli growers in Andhra Pradesh are facing a similar predicament. The import-export policies are also not always in the interest of farmers, as in the case of natural rubber in Kerala this year. Thus, a whole series of ecological, technological, social and economic factors is multiplying the problems of small farmers, already facing risks triggered by climate change. Now if farmers were educated, they would be able to question and negotiate more justice to themselves. They would be able to make use of climate predictions and use it to their benefit by the help of echnological farming and most of all increase profits and farm efficiency.

As a group we believe that farmers are being taken for granted, they aren’t receiving justice for their hard work and stance in society. Due to the lack of knowledge, not only are they being cheated in various ways, but they are being deprived of maximum efficiency! We hope o encourage you to raise your voice and encourage farmer literacy!