Growth in agriculture is not remunerative to Indian farmers -Richard Mahapatra

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published Published on Sep 7, 2020   modified Modified on Sep 10, 2020

-Down to Earth

Exceptional growth in agriculture and acreage in kharif season precipitate a crisis like never before for farmers  

In recent times, agriculture made headlines for all the wrong reasons: Farmers quitting cultivation; the sector turning into a perennial loss-making enterprise; and the country’s official policy to downsize the dependence on agriculture to reduce overall economic hardship among the poorest of the population.

Agriculture’s fast-declining economic importance reached such an extent that economists suggested India had already turned into a non-agrarian economy and the more people quit farming, the better the fortune of remaining farmers would be.

But two developments in the first half of September seem to be forcing us to revise these perceptions of Indian farming and farmers.

First, when India recorded 23.9 per cent contraction in the gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter (April-June, 2020), agriculture emerged as the unbelievable winner, growing at 3.4 per cent. This growth in the agriculture sector was based on the rabi or winter crop, that was anyway a bumper one.

Second, the kharif or the monsoon crop is already an exceptional one in terms of acreage. It has broken a four-year record, with 109.5 million hecatres (ha) under sowing.

Now, the tough question: how much will farmers earn out of this? Last fortnight, I had said — without the GDP and the latest acreage data — that farmers do not rejoice anymore at just the production figures. Indian farmers are going to suffer one of their worst losses, proportionate to their investment and excitement, according to all indications.  
Usually, crop output value is used as a proxy for farmers’ income. But in recent years, we have witnessed no co-relation between crop output and the income of farmers.

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Down to Earth, 7 September, 2020, https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/agriculture/growth-in-agriculture-is-not-remunerative-to-indian-farmers-73252?fbclid=IwAR17YSR7qb1_QY43unxhHkJewNhEF8QvOqpbazDkpjzPHi2I6WXshGV8itc


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