Rural distress

Rural distress

Please click here to access the key findings of the report entitled: Key Indicators of Land and Livestock Holdings in India, NSS 70th Round (published in December 2014)

Please click here to access the full report entitled: Key Indicators of Land and Livestock Holdings in India, NSS 70th Round.  


The study entitled State of Indian Farmers: A Report (2014), done by Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi is based on a primary survey across 18 states of India, conducted between December 2013 and January 2014. The survey was conducted in 274 villages spread over 137 district of the country.

A total of 8220 randomly selected electors were approached for household interviews of which 5350 interviews were successfully completed. 2114 youth and 4298 females were interviewed.

Women respondents comprise 16.7 per cent, Scheduled Castes 19.8 per cent, Scheduled Tribes 11.9 per cent, and OBCs 40.3 per cent of the sample household. Non-Hindu constitutes 13.5 per cent of the sample household.

Key findings of the study 'State of Indian Farmers: A Report', done by Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi for Bharat Krishak Samaj (please click here to download) are:

•    Overall 83 per cent of the farmers interviewed consider agriculture to be their main occupation. Moreover, 79 per cent said that agriculture is the main source of income of their household. For others a large part of their household’s income came from non-agricultural works.

•    90 per cent of the farmers are doing farming because it is their ancestral occupation, while only 10 per cent are new farmers who have joined farming in recent years.

•    The NSS 59th round on the Situation Assessment Survey of Farmers, 2003 had revealed that at the all-India level, 60% of farmer households reported that they liked farming as a profession. The remaining 40% were of the opinion that, given a choice, they would take up some other career. The CSDS survey in 18 states has similar findings. The survey found that nearly three-fourths of farmers like their profession.

•    84 per cent of the farmers in central India like farming while in North and East India the figures are much lower at 67 and 69 per cent respectively. When asked whether they like farming or not, 72 per cent of the farmers answered in the affirmative while 22 per cent farmers said they do not like doing farming.

Reasons for disliking farming

•    Landless farmers show least interest/likeness towards farming and the figure of likeness rises gradually as we move from landless to large farmers who seem to like farming the most.

•    Lack of a good income is the main reason for their dislike of farming. 36 per cent of the farmers cited this as the reason. 18 per cent of those who dislike farming said they are doing it only because of family pressure. 16 per cent say that they see no future in this sector. 9 per cent said that they wish to do another job, while 8 per cent consider farming stressful or risky and hence do not like doing it.

Participation of Other Family Members in Farming

•    Over two-thirds (66 per cent) of the farmers said that women from their household are also engaged in farming. Among large farmers the figure was much higher at 73 per cent. Among landless farmers it was quite low at 42 per cent.

Cropping Pattern

•    Nearly half the farmers (46 per cent) grow up to two crops in a year while 28 per cent said they produce more than two crops annually. 26 per cent of the farmers who were interviewed said they are able to produce only one crop in a year. These figures however differ from region to region due to quality of soil, irrigation facilities, climatic conditions and the fact that some regions are more prone to floods and droughts than others.

•    The Indian cropping pattern is unique in the world as it is characterized mainly by the paddywheat cropping pattern. Survey data suggests that more than 60 per cent of the farmers are practicing this rice-wheat pattern. While 41 per cent of the farmers identified paddy as the main crop grown by them, 21 per cent said it was wheat.

Seeds

•    A large proportion of farmers (70 per cent) use local or traditional seeds. On being asked further if they used Hybrid seeds, 63 per cent of the farmers answered in the affirmative. Very few (4 per cent) said that they use Genetically Modified seeds.

•    Most farmers (36 per cent) were of the opinion that Hybrid seeds are more profitable than local seeds. 18 per cent felt otherwise while 32 per cent were of the opinion that both Hybrid and local seeds were profitable.

Fertilizers

•    40 per cent of the respondents said that they use both chemical and organic fertilizers. 35 per cent said they use only chemical fertilizers and 16 per cent said that they use only organic fertilizers.

Pesticides

•    When asked how often they used pesticides, only 18 per cent farmers said they use it regularly. 28 per cent said they use it occasionally, while 30 per cent use pesticides only when the need arises. 13 per cent farmers never use pesticides in their farming.

•    54 per cent of the small farmers said they use pesticides regularly. The figure among medium and large farmers is much less at 27 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

Irrigation

•    Only 40 per cent of the farmers said that irrigation facilities were available for their entire farming land. The most common sources for irrigation are private pumps, bore wells/boring and tube wells. 45 per cent of the farmers cited these as their main source of irrigation. 38 per cent of the farmers have access to canals in their villages for irrigation. Traditional sources of irrigation like pond and well continue to be important. 34 per cent of the farmers depend on wells while 30 per cent of the farmers said they depend on the pond to irrigate their land. Only 18 per cent of farmers said that they have the facility of Govt. tube wells for irrigation.

Electricity

•    Irrigation facilities are largely dependent on the availability of electricity. However, more than half the farmers said that there had been no electricity for farming (51 per cent) in their area in the week prior to the survey.

•    When asked if in order to receive uninterrupted power supply they were ready to pay more for it than what they pay today, 46 per cent of farmers rejected the idea, while 31 per cent said that they are willing to pay more for uninterrupted electricity supply.

Problems faced by Farmers

•    Irrigation emerged as the most important problem in East and Central India, whereas low productivity in South and West. In North India, labour related issues are the most important problem faced by the farmer.

Crop destruction and Suicide

•    Approximately 70 per cent farmers said that their crops got destroyed in the last three years. The main reasons for crop destruction are uncertain rainfall, drought and flood, destruction of crop by diseases and birds/ animal, and lack of irrigation.

•    Approximately one in every seven respondent (15 per cent) said they have heard about suicides in their area.

Non-farm Employment

•    The survey reveals that farmers who have no land (landless farmers) show a much stronger preference for city life over village life. The dissatisfaction with economic condition lies at the heart of why majority of farmers (69 per cent) think that city life is much better than village life. Very few farmers (19 per cent) were of the opinion that village life was better than city life.

•    On being asked whether they would leave farming if they get an employment opportunity in the city, 61 per cent of the farmers answered in the affirmative and 26 per cent said they would not.

Farming as a choice for children

•    When farmers were asked whether they want their children to settle in the city, as many as 60 per cent said they want their children to settle in the city. Another 14 per cent do not want their children to settle in the city, whereas 19 per cent said they will prefer their children’s choice on this matter.

•    When asked whether they would like to see their children engaging in farming, only 18 per cent responded positively. 36 per cent said they do not want their children to continue farming as their occupation and 37 per cent said they will prefer their children’s choice and go with their decision while choosing their profession.

•    The sentiment that their children should not continue farming is strongest among landless and small farmers (39 per cent) and weakest among large farmers (28 per cent).

Economic Hardships

•    In the survey, only 5 per cent respondents said that in last five years they had to sell their land.

•    Poor financial condition (27 per cent) seems to be the most important reason followed by money required for a marriage in the family. Some farmers also had to sell their land due to the pressure of land acquisition.

Loans

•    39 per cent of the respondents were not worried at all about repayment of loan. Housing and marriage in the household also seem to be a reason for worry among Indian farmers.

•    Only two out of ten farmers said that in last five years they had take loan for farming related activity. The loans were primarily taken for purchasing fertilizers, seeds, pesticides etc. or buying farming equipments like tractor, thrasher etc.

Benefiting from Government Schemes

•    Most respondents (50 per cent) feel that only rich farmers got the benefits of government schemes and policies related to farming. Only 10 per cent believe that poor and small farmers have got the benefit from farming related schemes and another 8 per cent saw no benefit whatsoever either to large farmers or marginal farmers.

MGNREGA

•    Approximately 85 per cent of the farmers have heard about the rural employment guarantee scheme.

Direct Cash Transfer

•    Most farmers (70 per cent) have not heard about Direct Cash Transfer scheme. Landless farmers are least aware about the Direct Cash Transfer scheme with only 13 per cent of them having heard about it.

Land Acquisition law and Foreign Direct Investment

•    Only 27 per cent of the farmers have heard about the Land Acquisition law. Among those who had heard about this law, only 21 per cent said that farmers stand to benefit from the law, and 57 per cent of the respondents said that farmers stands to lose from this law, whereas 22 per cent did not express their opinion on this issue.

•    The survey finds that 83 per cent of the farmers have not heard about Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Among those who have heard of FDI, a majority (51 per cent) said that FDI should not be allowed in the agriculture sector since farmers may not be able to bargain, whereas 28 per cent said that FDI should be allowed in the agriculture sector so that farmers can sell their crops directly to the big companies. Another 21 per cent expressed no opinion on this question. Interestingly, the landless farmers are more in support of foreign direct investment in agriculture because they believe that it will allow farmers to sell their agricultural produce directly to the big companies. 40 per cent of the landless farmers supported the idea of FDI in agriculture. On the contrary, the large farmers with big landholdings do not support FDI in the agriculture sector because they believe that it would harm the bargaining capacity of the farmers.

Minimum Support Price

•    Approximately 62 per cent of the interviewed farmers were not aware about MSP, whereas 38 per cent had heard about MSP. Among those who had heard about MSP, most (64 per cent) said that they were not satisfied with the rates of crops decided by the government and only 27 per cent are satisfied with the rates of crops decided by the Government.

Political Participation

•    When farmers were asked about their opinion on whether demonstrations, strikes, gheraos etc. are appropriate ways through which farmers can fight for their rights, 67 per cent said yes they were appropriate, whereas only 7 per cent considered them to be inappropriate means.

•    Most of the farmers said that price rise will be the most important issue for them when they go out to vote in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. 17 per cent of the surveyed farmers reported price rise as an issue followed by other issues like unemployment, irrigation, and corruption.

Economic Profile of Indian Farmers

•    The penetration of the Aadhar card among farmers is much less at 50 per cent

•    Only about half the farmers in North India said they have an Aadhar card. In the Eastern part of the country, only one in ten farmers reported to have an Aadhar card.

•    Of all the regions, the proportion of farmers with a bank account is lowest in Eastern India.

•    61 per cent of landless farmers said they have a bank or post office account as compared to 73 per cent small farmers who said they have one.

•    The survey shows that 92 per cent of the farmers have a ration card. While 45 per cent of the farmers said they have a BPL ration card, 42 per cent have an APL card.

Opinion of Women and Youth from Farmer Households

•    18 per cent women of the farmer households do other non-farming work to contribute financially to the family income.

•    67 per cent women say that the income from agriculture is not sufficient to fulfill the livelihood needs of their family. Only 20 per cent found it to be sufficient.

•    63 per cent youth belonging to farmer households help the family in farming.

•    Only 24 per cent youth belonging to farmer households are interested in continuing farming while 76 per cent would prefer to do some other work rather than farming.

•    Among the youth who are interested in continuing farming, most said it is their traditional occupation and they wanted to take it forward.

•    21 per cent women belonging to farmer households said that price rice was the biggest problem being faced by their household and 13 per cent said poverty is their biggest problem.

Note: A household that has more than 10 acres of land is a Large Farmer; between 4 acre and 9.99 is a Medium Farmer; less than four acres as a Small/Marginal Farmer; and with no land as Landless Farmer.


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