Agriculture: An Unwanted Bequeath


Farmers of the villages in Mundargi Taluk don’t want their children to be farmers; they say it’s a dying profession. They complain crops don’t yield them profit.

(Farmer along with his family, Mundargi)

Agriculture is the main occupation of the people of Mundargi, 80% of the families living there are involved in farming directly or indirectly, but in the recent times’ farmers are selling their lands and moving to cities looking for job opportunities and a constant income. Farmers are encouraging their children to do a job as they want a secured future for the next generations.

Godadappa Mailarappa Lingashettar, a farmer from Budihar village of Mundargi taluk says, “I desire to give better education to my children so that they can grow up to be doctor or engineer. I don’t want them to continue with Farming because it has no future.”

(Farmers carrying their produce to the market)

There is no fixed rate for their produce. The market value of the crops is influenced by the demand-supply ratio; the price of a particular crop fluctuates depending on its demand in the market and the farmers eventually end up in loss and debts. The Minimum Support Price offered by Government doesn’t cover all varieties of crops and thus fail to solve the problem.

Nagappa Pukirappa Jalappanuru, a farmer from Kalikere village in Mundargi said, “Earlier my elder son used to do farming, but there was no profit. Our loans were increasing; it went up to 3 lakhs. That’s why I and my elder son started going to job.”

(Farmer working in the field post-harvest in the scorching sun)

Moreover, the Agricultural yield is unpredictable because of the weather changes, In Mundargi, some years there is rainfall but most of the time its acute drought. There are ongoing irrigation projects that are supposed to bring water from the Tungabhadra River but not all villages of Mundargi have received water yet. There are about 15 villages under Mundargi taluk but hardly 2-3 of them have received water, rest still depends on rain. According to the statistics provided by the department of agriculture in Mundargi, Total area cultivated in Mundargi is 61317 hectare and total area irrigated is 22419 hectare, which means more than 60% of the cultivation still depends on rain.

(The Transition)

Gushiyanta Veeraiya Hiremat, a farmer from Dambal village in Mundargi says, “As there was no rain, the lakes dried, and drought came in, farmers sold their lands and started going to Mumbai, Goa, Mangalore, Bangalore, etc. looking for a job.”

Other than that, most of the Farmers consider agriculture as ‘not so dignified profession’ they believe that the profession lacks respect and thus want their children to do more respectful jobs and establish themselves in the society.

Dr. K Shivaramu, the Directorate of Extension, University of Agricultural Sciences Bangalore says, “In India, farmer population has come down to 52% from 80% and is still decreasing. They are not interested to take up agriculture as their profession as they assume it to be not so dignified job.”

(Farmer’s children playing in the field, after coming back from school.)

A study conducted by National Institute of Labor Economics Research and Development, Government of India, reports, “About 37 million workers have left agriculture in India.”

Talking about how the farmers are switching their profession, MS Nataraju, the Vice Chancellor of University of Agricultural Sciences Bangalore, says, “It is influenced by some push and pull factors. The next generation farmers are moving to the city because of lack of facilities in the village, may be health facility, education facility or entertainment facility, etc. nobody wants to retain in farming because of lack of facilities, which are the push factors. Pull factors are attractiveness of the city, and then peer pressure, many friends and family who migrate to the city; this also influences farmer’s sons and daughters to come over to the cities, so that they can get constant income.”

(Bullocks tied up in the fields with a resting cart.)

If all farmers eventually quit agriculture, the possible impacts will have devastating outcomes. There will be a shortage of food grains that might lead to famine, it will affect Indian economy since agriculture contributes a significant share in it, and it will also affect the job ratio of primary, secondary and tertiary sectors which will lead to unemployment since agriculture sector is the largest employment sector in India.

(A farmer family of around 15 people lives in this house. – Petalur village, Mundargi)

Gourishankar Sajjan, the Block Technology Officer, Department of Agriculture, Mundargi says, “I try to help the farmers by giving them the facilities they need. Give them the exposure they need by arranging trips for them. They get more information through this. The more they learn the more the situation will improve.”

Several schemes like Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture (ARYA),Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna, etc. are being introduced by the government to promote agriculture in the country, but the proper implementation and effectiveness of these schemes are questionable.

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