Even as one of the key emerging economies, India’s Agricultural sector remains backward in more than one ways.
India is home to a land mass equivalent in size and quality to the European Union. It has the fourth largest agriculture sector, and yet remains unable to utilise the vast abundance of resources and manpower to provide the best means of livelihood. Not surprisingly, the sector in India has been the largest employer of manpower, but remains underutilised and underfunded. While the sector requires the right attention, right financial support, right policies for its growth as it is meant to be, government has mostly mothered it with restrictions on growth and profitability.
A primary factor for the sector’s non-performance is that it has never really been internalised as an economically important sector. The industrial revolution, followed by inventions in communication, technology, internet, and globalization weeded agriculture out, with no significant progress, and successive failures. Although the sector can potentially enrich the economy like a trident, with its multifaceted outcomes, it has been ignored to the extent of perpetual depreciation. Economic indicators reflecting massive growth in industrialization and manufacturing, overshadow the unexplored possibilities of agriculture.
One more possible cause for the sector’s diminutive façade may be structural weaknesses of government’s handling of agriculture. It reflects in the way it deprives it with necessary technology and infrastructure support. Water availability remains crucial for avoiding inconsistent farming, expensive electricity or its complete lack thereof is another factor of bad influence on agriculture’s intermittent growth. Increasing fluctuations in global food prices on a repetitive basis is a challenge for farmers, arising either out of overproduction or underutilisation. Government has chipped in with the Minimum Support Price (MSP) model to safeguard price volatility, but it usually remains lower than the price which can be achieved in a free market by itself.
Selective loan for farm equipment and less allocation for agriculture advancement is the key factor pulling its growth backwards. It is a surprise that although agriculture support bodies like NABARD along with the government bears more than 50% of farm loans, farmers are still incapable of repaying even small loans, eventually committing suicide. Government’s inability to stash out the cartel system that sees themselves as saviours of farmers, are in fact the parasites that suck maximum profit out of the system, leaving the farmer poor and inefficient. These structural irregularities are seen as consistent hindrance in establishing a sunshine agriculture sector. If these continue to occupy a dominant position in the system, farmers shall continue to commit suicide and government shall continue to justify their vindication.
Adopting a drive to produce organic farming as the new revolution can be both profitable and self-sufficient. Facilitating innovative long term farm loans that unburden farmers of its psychological weight could gradually arrest the wave of suicide. Arresting volatile yield and supply through free market pricing and eliminating all commission agents and layers of mediators could raise farmer income. It only awaits political will, and a resolute stand to redeem the rightful place of farmers and agriculture in India’s social structure.
By all means, the government must internalise agriculture sector that can surpass mainstream sectors and provide livelihood and immense economic prosperity, which is the quickest redemption to the path of a justifiable solution. Allocating accessibility outreach to all farmers for all resources, equipment and financial support included, shall sow the seed of an uncompromising agriculture practice, one that bypasses even the most revered economy propellers. Agriculture shall remain imperishable and outlive all current and forthcoming sectors, realising this truth is wise enough for the government to rework their perspective.