The major agrarian causes of farmers’ distress in the country include indebtedness, crop failure, drought, socio-economic and personal conditions. Through our campaign we aspired to raise awareness about the adversities faced by farmers in our country and find ways to overcome challenges by adapting to solutions.
We started this movement last year and received hundreds of solutions for betterment of farmers from your end. Our judge Devinder Sharma, an award-winning Indian journalist, reviewed all the suggestions to select the top 3 winning ones.
Here are the three winners of the #FarmersForFuture Movement and their suggestions:
Gautam Jain: Has been doing research work in farming and agriculture. He hopes to buy some land and start an organic farm.
Suggestion: The starting point must be focusing on access to water. This needs to be done on a war footing. Enough NGOs, citizens, activists and communities have already demonstrated how to do this efficiently and at low cost. This is important to first address health, malnutrition and women’s rights issues. 55 percent of our farmers still rely solely on rain fed irrigation. This is a terrible state of affairs. And herein, of course, it’s about integrated watershed management, small Wells, smaller water bodies, check dams etc.
Rishab Kushwaha: Left his cushy job in Delhi and moved back to Allahabad. He has been teaching children in his school about farming, and feels that youth should be more educated about the farming practices.
Suggestion: There are a lots of things we can do for the farmers. May be this is little hard to do but we should start a campaign in every school and college. I have started a project where we will go to farmers’ home to spend our weekend and spend as much money as possible on their home made products or buy their crops at their door. We aim to motivate youth to join farming.
I met a lot of farmers in last few months and found that the biggest pain is not money but the ignorance of the hard working farmers.
Even if people come to them just for a small healthy talks that will give them a lots of happiness. We need to be with them if we want to eat in future. Everyone needs foods but no one want to grow food now a days. Thank you for your efforts and we will bring a change for sure.
Shashidhar Shirahatti: Has been teaching at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Vijaypura, Karnataka, for the last 25 years.
Suggestion: My advise is to use ICT based model to allocate optimal quantity of water to irrigated farmers’ fields. This would result in saving of scarce water resource, equitable distribution to all irrespective of whether their fields are at head end or tail end of the canal system, and more importantly, save their agricultural lands from going waterlogged and saline.
The solution has the potential to extend the cultivating areas by using thus saved water. I suggest that rural youth can be trained intensively in the use of this user friendly model for transferring solutions to the farmers of their area, while creating livelihood opportunities for themselves.
Synopsis of Suggestion:
This solution addresses the computer assisted quantification of water allocation to Water Users’ Associations (WUAs) and capacity building activities in use of this tool by water supply officials and irrigators from WIAs.
During the application of the integrated water allocation model, the CRIWAR model (ILRI, Wageningen) calculated the summarized irrigation water requirements at the root zone of a cropping pattern in the 6000 ha (hectare) in the Tungabhadra command area in Karnataka, India, using minimum data of general, climatological and cropping pattern data, whereas the developed WUAS-D model transferred the root zone water requirements into the quantities of irrigation water to be delivered at the various managerial points using the efficiency of water conveyance and quality of canal network.
The application and dissemination of the integrated model was found to be useful in various scenarios like variations in the water availability, alternate cropping patterns, change in the quality of canal network etc., when a large number of WUAs (Water Users’ Associations), generally each WUA covering 300-500 ha irrigated area, are to be supplied water.
The feedback from the water management officials who were trained in the use of the above models in their routine water management activities helped to draw the conclusion that the model could reduce their computational time and labour remarkably, help visualize and react to various water delivery scenarios in the command area.
The representatives of WUAs who were trained in the use of the tool felt that their capacity building had enabled them to actively participate in the decision making process of irrigation water allocation.
Both actors reported that test application of the tool ensured the equitable water allocation to tail end distributors which were hitherto not receiving water. The field application of this training model has the potential to give livelihood opportunities to rural youths in employment as facilitators/computer workers with WUAs.
Here are a few other suggestions which we received:
The leftover slurry is an excellent manure and can be used in the fields. This encourages organic farming at the same time, the problem of waste disposal is solved. The biogas can also be used to power a generator, hence can be used to generate electricity. Community shared biogas plants can prove to be effective in solving many of the farmers problems at a relatively low investment. Technology Premier tech institutes in our country should have dedicated centres for developing rural technologies so that technologies are prepared keeping in mind the Indian farmers. More grants should be provided by government to promote innovation in agriculture technologies. Farmers should be exposed to newer technologies and it should be available to them at cheap rates.
This has disturbed their financial priorities and made them loan defaulters. Unmindful of the real reasons and the consequences in future, successive governments were quick to waive the bank dues to strengthen their own power base. Attracted by the ‘gesture’, those who hitherto were regular also started defaulting. The faulty criteria in selecting the eligible beneficiaries and corruption at various levels played its own role negatively.
Local leaders used ‘waiver in future too’ as a tool to strengthen their own support base. Liquor available everywhere was handy for every one to celebrate. Competition among these ‘sympathizers’ only aggravated the situation. Inquiries sponsored by Government departments and agencies either by non serious persons or with pre-conceived mindset has never caused any change in the situation. The steps constantly recommended and adopted so far have proved to be only cosmetic and self defeating offering nothing as remedy. The news of farmers’ suicides; once rare have now become a routine. Not a single day is passing without such tragic reports appearing in the media. An open-minded, humane, sympathetic study of ground realities and revolutionary approach is needed to solve today’s farmers problems. People with vested interest should be kept at a large distance from these steps. Or else, we should prepare ourselves for a very grim future in this sector in our country.
Jagdish Gami: As an NRE and grandson of a farmer I have invested large sum of money in landscaping the land, installing a bore and water storage tank. Gujarat government does not have any pride towards farmer hard working life because:
1) Light is not provided on full time basis which very often is not guaranteed on timely basis as well. Furthermore light provided is 3 phase therefore it is not available in farmer rest house for their domestic and comfort needs during hot weather. Light should be available on 24×7 basis for both farming and domestic needs. 2) Farmers do not get proper price for there crops. Farmers work hard day and night investing 100% but only get back only 40 to 50% back..or even less due middle men taking a higher profiteering and paying less to farmers for their crops. Their should be a Farmer governing Body which ensures that farmers get fair price for their crops.
Surya Kiran: Now we have reached a break point where the present conditions of farmers situation continue we will be saying once we were a agricultural based country. The policy makings and debt clearance when a new government is elected all this things will not reduce the burdens of Farmers. The government needs to take precautions to support farmers in all possible ways, as the climate is worsening and no proper rain cycle farmers are struggling very hard to harvest and even if they have done with little water resource they are not able to get proper yielding which eventually will effect our economy and also apart from these worries farmers has their parental responsibilities to full fill which are like proving basic education for their children and 3 times meal for a day, shelter over their head. As they were not able to produce any money from these adverse conditions for farming and not having any alternatives to make money and the self respect which they can’t let down n do some other work; all these conditions forcing farmers committing suicide. Instead of government spending too much in importing food products and contributing to foreign economy why can’t our government spend the same money on farmers family of their own national and support them, this initiative will make our economy better n lives improves our people lives. The farmers situation in our country is similar to climate issue if our government is not going to take any initiatives then we have face worse situation in the coming years.
Shreekanth Patel: India needs to go back to its roots and focus on farming. There should be strict laws against converting agricultural land for any other use. We need a second green revolution.