It is evident that farmers are the base of the agricultural sectors. They are the ones who work sincerely throughout the year to grow different varieties of crops, vegetables, and fruits. It will not be wrong to say that farmers are the food providers in the nation. We cannot imagine our existence without the presence of farmers. They work in the fields continuously without caring about the extreme environmental conditions. In spite of feeding the entire nation, they live a life full of misery. Suicidal cases of the farmers are also becoming very common in the nation. We will be discussing regarding the reasons, statistical figures, and ways to prevent farmer suicides in the nation in the essay given below.
Farmers Suicide in India- A Grave Issue
The advancement in science and technology is leading the progress of different sectors in the nation. There are several job opportunities created because of the expansion of the industrial sector in the nation. Despite the technological and industrial expansion in the nation, the agricultural sector is dominating in India. The majority of people are involved in this sector and earn their livelihood.
The advent of the green revolution has benefitted the agricultural sector and resulted in surplus yields of crops along with an increase in the use of technological methods in farming. Even after such improvements in the agricultural sector and innovation of new agricultural tools the condition of farmers is poor. This is really a panicking situation. The poor conditions of farmers force them to commit suicide. The ongoing process of suicidal cases in the nation is not good for a country that is also termed as an agricultural economy. The suicide cases of farmers are reported every year in the nation and it is not a good sign. The government of India must look into this matter and take measures that would help in stopping this issue from happening.
History of Farmers Suicide in India
The act of suicide by the farmers in India is not a new concern but it has been prevalent in the nation since the 19th century. The historical records well defines the frustration, revolts, and suicides of the farmers in India. Farmers growing cash crops were more involved in such activities but the suicidal cases at that time were very less as compared to the present. During 1870, farmers have to pay heavy land taxes in form of cash money. They were not relieved from paying the taxes even when the productivity was hampered due to drought or flood conditions. The Deccan Riots from 1875-1877 were the result of high frustration among the farmers and cruelty with them.
The Deccan Agriculturists Relief Act was passed by the colonial government after the Deccan Riots. According to this act, the interest rates charged by the money lenders were reduced but it was only applicable in the areas that were restricted for cotton farming. During the period of 1850-1940s, the death rate of people living in the rural agricultural area increased because of starvation. People in larger numbers died in this phase due to starvation and this number was very high than the death rate by suicides.Further, the farmer’s suicides were reported in the states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, and, Karnataka during 1966-1970. Thus it can be stated that the suicide cases of farmers in India became more prevalent during the mid of 1990s.
Factors/Reason for Farmers Suicide in India
The cases of suicide by the farmers are increasing day by day. There are number of reasons stated for this grave issue stated as farmer’s suicide in India. These issues must be looked upon by the government of India to stop this most saddening act of the farmers. Some of the relevant issues are mentioned below.
- Floods and Draughts- The farmers in India mainly depend upon the natural rainfall for growing the crops. The occurrence of flood or drought disturbs the crop cycle and this causes a great loss to the farmers. Rainfall is necessary for the growth of crops. The crops do not grow well if they get less or no rain. This mainly happens in the regions suffering from the condition of drought. The floods damage all the crops in the field. The yield of the crops is lowered and farmers are unable to earn a good profit. The regions in the nation suffering from frequent drought and floods report higher suicide cases of farmers.
- Heavy Loans- The fields and crops are everything to a farmer. They take loans from the banks or money lenders for growing crops in their fields with the hope that the good productivity of the crops will provide them a good profit. In this way, they can return the money back to the bank or the moneylender. The crop failure or low production incurs a great loss to the farmers. As a result, they end their life by committing suicide because of the burden of debt. Indebtedness is the major reason behind the suicide cases of farmers in the nation every year. They are very simple living people and thus their inability to pay the loans makes them miserable and frustrated with their lives.
- Family Problems- It is evident that the farmers are the one who feeds the entire nation but lives a very simple life. It is because they earn very less profit and have to take care of their families in the same earning. Many times it becomes difficult for the farmers to fulfill every responsibility of the family in very less amount of money. This leads the farmers to step forward for committing suicide as they cannot overcome the problems of the family.
- Rising Prices of All Agricultural Products- The rise in the price of seeds, fertilizers, agricultural equipment, etc is enhancing the burden of the farmers. They have to spend a maximum portion of their earnings in buying all these things required for agriculture. They suffer loss if the productivity is not good. In this way, we can state that the rising prices of agricultural products become a burden for the farmers.
- Lack of Awareness And Knowledge- It is not necessary that every farmer in the nation is literate. There are many who are illiterate and thus face difficulty in understanding government policies and schemes presented digitally. Thus, in this way, they are the sufferers as they cannot avail the benefits of the government policies and schemes launched for improving the condition of the farmers in the nation.
- The Approach of Corporate Sector In Agriculture- The entry of corporate sectors in the agricultural sector is not good for the farmers. It is because the big firms focus on earning their own benefit in spite of thinking about the benefit of farmers. They grow and sell the crops in the field according to their own marketing strategy and this might not be useful for the farmers. The corporate firm keeps the major profit of the produce with them and gives very less percentage to the farmers.
States of India Most Affected With Issue of Famers Suicide
The entire nation is suffering from the cases of farmer’s suicide but there are some states where a high number of suicide cases of farmers have been reported. This report published by National Crime Records Bureau states that more than 80% of suicide cases of farmers in the year 2015 happened in Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh states of India. Maharashtra state is most affected by this issue because more than 20,000 farmers have committed suicide in this state between the years 2009-2016. The higher number of suicides cases of food providers in the nation is saddening and must be prevented as soon as possible.
Statistics of this Major Concern in the Nation
The suicide cases of farmers have become more prevalent during the 1970s and are continued till date. The major reason for these suicides was indebtedness. The farmers committed suicide because of the fear of not being able to pay the loans or debts. It has been stated by the National Crime Records Bureau that 2,96,438 suicide cases of farmers have been reported from the year 1995. More than 20% of these suicide cases of farmers were from the Maharashtra state of India. The rest cases were concerned with Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Chhattisgarh states of India. More than 18,000 farmers have committed suicide in the year 2004 and this account for the highest number of farmer’s suicide cases in the nation.
The rate of farmer suicide cases in India was fluctuating between 1.4-1.8 per 1,00,000 populations. This rate of suicide cases of farmers was prevalent from 2005 till ten years. The number of suicide cases of farmers has been increased to about 5760 suicide cases further in the year 2017 and 2018. In the year 2020 approximately 11,000 farmer suicide cases have been reported in India. The data is provided by states after manipulation but the real number might be higher.
Methods to Prevent Farmers Suicide In India
There are many aspects that need to be improved for the prevention of farmer’s suicide in the nation. The change cannot be observed by improving any one of the conditions but every aspect has been looked equally for improving the condition of the farmers. More focus must be given to the long-term measures. Some of the methods for preventing farmer suicide cases in India have been mentioned below:
- Proper Water Management- The crop failure is majorly noticed because of the less rainfall or flooding of areas. The majority of the farmers in the nation depend upon natural resources for agriculture. This must be reduced and an alternative to this must be arranged by the government. The motive of the government must be that there must be no crop failure. Proper water management can be effective in providing water to the area facing drought conditions. In the same way, the stored water is distributed to the areas having a requirement of water will prevent the chance of flooding several regions.
- Finance Facilities Available To Farmers- The farmers must be given the facility of getting loans from institutional finance. This will prevent the farmers from taking loans from the money lenders. Institutional finance must be easily available to the poor farmers. Many times the poor farmers are just used for loan purposes but the reason behind that is something else. Therefore post monitoring must be done so that no misuse of money could be done.
- Knowledge of Cultivation Methods- The government needs to advise and explain to all the farmers regarding the economic procedure of cultivation. The use of new tools, techniques, seeds, etc must also be explained to them in an easy format. They must be informed about the crops that grow well in adverse conditions. In this way, they will not have to suffer a loss during the flood or drought conditions.
- Skill Development Training to the Farmers- There are many farmers that have a small landholding and thus income is also very small. The government must arrange for the training centers so that farmers can acquire skills. This will help them in generating extra income along with farming. The attaining of skills will be more beneficial for the farmers who are at loss because of frequent floods and drought in that region.
- Relief Packages for the Farmers- There must be the provision of relief packages for the farmers suffering from the loss because of crop failure due to the occurrence of flood or drought conditions. This will help them to compensate for the loss. It must be ensured that every needy farmer gets the benefit of the relief packages.
The government of India has launched several programs and policies for uplifting the condition of the farmers. In Spite of the initiation of these programs and policies no changes are observed in the condition of the farmers in the nation. Moreover, the average number of suicide cases of farmers has been increasing in successive years. It is the responsibility of the government to launch effective programs and policies for the farmers so that the problems of the farmers might be reduced. The programs and policies must be implemented in an effective way so that they may benefit the farmers. Moreover, more focus must be done on making the Indian farmers more skilled so that they could be able to fight the maximum issues they are facing at present. They must be empowered so they learn to sustain themselves during adversities.