Youngsters are abandoning their own farm land due to high-cost modern farming technology and a water shortage. They are relocating to new positions and opting for other jobs.
Harsha Yadav, a 19-year-old student, living in Golahalli, Bengaluru, returned home from his college. He began reading his computer class textbook right away. He expressed his desire to work on his father’s farm. Cleaning and milking cows are two of his favourite activities. Sowing seeds in the ground and caring for their land. However, his parents advise him to pursue a career as a software programmer because farming is unprofitable.
Harsha said that farming has become expensive due to a variety of factors including a lack of groundwater, expensive farming techniques, and a low return on investment (ROI). He stated that farming is a high-capital investment. It is only accessible to individuals with a significant amount of money to invest.
Devraj, a 37-year-old farmer from Devgere village near Bengaluru, Karnataka, recently sold his farm. “I couldn’t save any money in farming, so I quit,” he said. “I had three acres of land to work with. However, I am responsible for feeding and educating two children. I sold it and went to work for a delivery service as a driver.”
Farming, according to Devraj, is a high-capital and low-margin business. A farmer must invest lakhs of rupees in order to earn a few thousands of rupees. He said t hat proportion of low profit is insufficient to support a family. Farming used to provide him with a monthly income of Rs 9,000 per month. In comparison, his driving job pays him Rs 16,000 each month.
According to a Down to Earth survey published by the Centre for Study of Developing Societies, 61 percent of farmers would prefer to do anything other than farming.Also they would prefer to work in cities because of better education, health, and employment opportunities.
India is heavily reliant on agriculture. Agriculture accounts for only 16 percent of GDP yet employs the most people. Officially, there are only a few hundred million farmers.But when considering the family members who assist or occasionally farm, as well as daily wage labourers, the total number of farm workers is estimated to be closer to half a billion.stated a report by Economic Development and Agriculture in India.
Farmers’ children were 21.1 percent less likely to pursue farming in 2012 than they were in 2005, with a likelihood of 32.4 percent. While children of farmers and other labourers were 4.1 percent less likely to pursue the same occupation as their fathers, with a likelihood of 58.6 percent, according to a study from Azim Premji University
Rajesh, a real estate trader in Kumbalgudu, Karnataka, said that farmers in debt usually sell their farm to another farmer. However, due to a lack of funds, hardly anyone wants to invest in the farming sector these days.
People in the village are now putting their money into real estate instead of farming. They are either constructing an apartment on their current land or selling it to real estate developers. “I, too, come from a farming background,” Rajesh explained, “But today I work in real estate.” Land is a farmer’s pride, and selling it to someone else is a great ego hit for a farmer. I understand how farmers feel. But we don’t have a choice.”
According to research, 85 percent of Indian farmers work on less than five acres of land. Small and marginal farmers are the backbone of the agricultural business. They account for 82 percent of agricultural input. Despite this, farming is still a risky and laborious job. Many small farmers will need to discover other sources of income in order to break free from the constraints of poverty.
Madhu, a farmer in Bengaluru’s outskirts, said that a small farmer cannot afford to hire daily wage labourers. As a result, most farmers rely on their family members to provide the necessary manpower on the farm.
The ground water shortage in Karnataka is one of the causes behind the high cost of farming. Gorishankar, a 21-year-old farmer’s son, from Devanhalli, Bengaluru,wants to work in multinational software company. His farther owns about two acres of land. He alleges that due to depleted and contaminated groundwater, he has been unable to sow any crop on his farm for the past five years.
To irrigate the water, Gorishankar estimates that he will have to dig down to at least 1600 feet. Extracting ground-water costs at least three lakh rupees. It’s not only expensive, but there’s also the potential of contaminated water. It contains a lot of minerals that might degrade soil and crop quality. “My entire farming costs have increased by 70 percent as a result of the water shortage,” said Gorishankar.
Despite the agricultural sector’s potential for productivity, India’s farmers face hardships and poverty as a result of low agricultural production. Two major solutions to the problem of poor productivity are untapped scientific knowledge and small-scale farm mechanization. Farmers’ adoption of new technology is an important alternative for increasing agricultural productivity and increasing farmer incomes, according to the World Bank. These efforts will help farmers boost yields, manage inputs more efficiently, improve product quality, adjust to climate change, and conserve resources.
Kiran, a 25-year-old farmer who has studied Masters of Business Administration, has a real estate business. He uses modern farming techniques in his farm. He said that farming is a cash cow business.He was privileged to have sufficient amount of capital.Otherwise without money backup farming is a loss-making business. He invested in modern farming techniques like drip irrigation and to use his business knowledge in in farm.
A report says that farmers cannot rely entirely on rainfall and must turn to irrigation to water their crops. While drip irrigation might seem like the logical choice because of its efficiency, the reasons why farmers use one system over another are varied and sometimes complex.
Efficient irrigation as a measure of sustainable water use has limits in agriculture because it often drives intensification that can lead to problems like over-tilling, poor soil health, erosion, overuse of fertilizers and pesticides and greater water use, all of which undo efficiency gains.
The depth of borewells in Bengaluru is estimated to have reached unprecedented depths of over 1,500 feet. This is largely due to the fact that without recharge wells to direct rainwater into the aquifers, the quantum of rainfall recharging groundwater can be as low as 4 percent depending on the soil as most of the water tends to run off.
A research study by S Mansi from Institute of Social and EconomicChanges (ISEC) showed that the built-up area located 20 kilometers from Whitefeild has increased by 106 percent. It states that rapid urbanization is spilling over into Bengaluru’s peripheral villages, eating away the green cover and depletingground water level from eight villages of Jadigenhalli gram panchayat in Bengaluru rural.
Inflation has an impact on farming. Wheat cost was Rs 76 per quintal in 1970. It is currently worth Rs 2,000 quintal after 52 years. A school peon’s income has climbed 280-300 times during this time period,On the other hand a government employee’s salary has increased by 120-150 percent. Wheat prices have only increased by 27times during this time span.
“Wheat prices should have increased in lockstep with government employee compensation. Wheat prices should’ve been Rs 7,600 per quintal if inflation had increased by 100 percent. This, however, did not happen. Only Rs 2,000 is given to farmers, said Devinder Sharma, an agriculture expert in a report.
In terms of economics and jobs, rural India is no longer agrarian. Economist Ramesh Chand (also a member of the government think tank) examined the shift in the rural sector in a study report for the Niti Aayog.
It has become a non-farm economy since 2004-05. Farmers are abandoning agriculture in favour of non-agricultural jobs. It’s a business decision because they make more money from the latter. A farmer’s income is around one-fifth that of a non-farmer, states the report.
A Gaon Connection survey states, 48 percent of Indian farmers do not want their children to work in agriculture. Researchers conducted a survey in May, interviewing over 18,000 people from 19 different states. The majority of farmers polled cited rising input prices, crop damage, inadequate irrigation infrastructure, and not receiving a fair price for their harvest as reasons for their growing discontent with farming. According to the 2011 census, India has 14.5 crore farmers and 27 crore farm labourers. Agriculture, on the other hand, employs over 60 crore people, both directly and indirectly.
Agriculture supports 57 percent of India’s population, or 60 crore people. However, the world’s fourth-largest economy is experiencing an agrarian crisis. India is seeing a migration wave, according to the World Bank. Around one crore individuals migrate from villages to cities every year.
The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare’s Input Survey 2011-12 states (published in 2016), that the average age of an Indian farmer was 50.1 years in 2016.
If youngster do not opt for farming, then farming will eventually die. There will be no production of food in future. Eventually food will become expensive.It will impact on each and every product people buy. Just like fuel price impacts on commodity prices, said Madhav Chavan, a social activist and founder of Pratham foundation, a non-government organization.