Q.2: Modern farming methods require more inputs which are manufactured in industry. Do you agree?
Solution: Yes, modern farming methods like - the use of fertilizers, pesticides, high yielding variety of seeds, power driven tube-wells for irrigation, latest tools and implements like tractors, harvesters, threshers etc. require more inputs which are manufactured in industry. In fact, agriculture and industry can not be separated from each other rather, they move hand in hand. Agriculture provides raw materials for various agro-based industries in India and lays a strong foundation of industry. On the other hand industry goes a long way in increasing the agricultural production. The development and application of bio-technology has not left much difference between agriculture and industry.
Q.3: How did spread of electricity help farmers in Palampur?
Solution: The spread of electricity helped the farmers of Palampur in a number of ways:
>> It helped the farmers of Palampur to irrigate their lands in a far better way. Earlier they used to irrigate their lands with the help of Persian wheels, which was not so effective. But now with the help of electricity they could irrigate much larger areas in lesser time and much effectively.
>> With the improved irrigation system as a result of the use of electricity, they could grow different crops round the year.
>> They did not have to depend on monsoon rains which were uncertain and erratic.
>> As a result of use of electricity the farmers of Palampur also got rid of many manual labour, anxieties etc.
Q.4: Is it important to increase the area under irrigation? Why?
Solution: It is very important to increase the area under irrigation because it is not wise to depend on monsoon rains which were uncertain and erratic. Moreover, to increase production we have to bring more area under irrigation which will help us to improve the farming pattern or adopt modern farmingmethods in those areas.
Q.6: Why are the wages of the farm labourers in Palampur less than minimum wages?
Solution: Farm labourers in the Palampur village come from the landless families cultivating small plots of land. Dala is one such farm labourer. The minimum wage fixed by the Government for a farm labourer is Rs. 60 per day but Dala is paid only Rs. 35-40 a day. This is because of the fact that there is great competition for work among the farm labourers of Palampur. So they themselves agree to work at much lower wages than what was fixed by the Government.
Q.8: What are the different ways of increasing production on the same piece of land? Use examples to explain.
Solution: The two most common ways of increasing the production are either by ‘multiple cropping’ or by adopting ‘modern farming’ method. For example, many farmers of Palampur village have adopted the process of multiple cropping to increase their production from same piece of land. During the rainy (kharif) season they grow jowar, bajra etc. which are used for cattle feeding. Between October and December they cultivate potatoes. In winter (rabi) season they grow wheat which is partly kept for family consumption and the surplus for selling.
In this the way the farmers of Palampur increased their production by multiple cropping.
Q.9: Describe the work of a farmer with 1 hectare of land.
Solution: A farmer who works in a farm of 1 hectare land has to face so many problems:
>> A small farmer knows that he can not meet his both ends just by working on such a small piece of land. So after working on his own field he has to work as a labourer on the field of some big farmer for a petty amount of Rs. 35-40 per day.
>> Even to start cultivation his own land he has neither means nor money for buying seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc.
>> Being a very small farmer he does not have any equipment or working capital.
>> To arrange all these things he/she has to take a loan either from a large farmer or a trader or a money lender at a hefty interest rate. Even after putting so much labour there is always a chance for him to be trapped in a debt cycle which will be always a big cause of tension for him.
Q.10: How do the medium and large farmers obtain capital for farming? How is it different from the small farmers?
Solution: It is a fact that the small farmers with less than 2 hectares of land have to face much more problems than the medium or large farmers. As compared to small farmers, medium and large farmers can quite easily obtain capital for farming. The reasons are several:
>> Large farmers have their own savings from farming which they had accumulated year after year so they don’t stand any need for taking loan from any where.
>> Generally medium farmers also have their own savings to spend for the improvement of their farms. But even if they need to borrow, the amount would be small. Such farmers can go to Bank directly and won’t face any difficulty in getting a loan from the Bank which will be at a reasonable interest too. The Banks feel happy to advance a loan to such farmers as they don’t see any risk because of the sound economic conditions of medium or large farmers.
Q.11: On what terms did Savita get a loan from Tejpal Singh? Would Savita’s condition be different if she could get a loan from the Bank at a low interest rate?
Solution: Being a small farmer Savita has to face a number of problems if she wants to cultivate wheat on her 1 hectare of land. To purchase seeds,
fertilizers and pesticides for cultivating she has no money. It will be highly difficult to get a loan from a Bank either. So she approached Tejpal Singh, a large farmer of her village for getting a loan. He agreed to give her a loan but at a hefty rate of interest of 24 percent for four months plus on a condition of her giving a manual labour to his field. Still Savita agrees to these terms as she knew that getting a loan for a small farmer is quite a difficult task.
Savita’s condition would have been certainly better if she could get a loan from a Bank a low or reasonable rate of interest. In that event she would have also been able to bring up her three children in a better way since she would have more time for her family.
Q.14: What can be done so that more non-farm production activities can be started in villages?
Solution: About 75 percent of the people in our villages depend upon farmingincluding both farmers and farm labourers. Among them the conditions of the farm labourers are very bad. Number of these people is increasing day by day whereas the land is fixed. Farming has reached up to the saturated point so there is little scope for further labourers of getting absorbed in farmingactivities. Hence, it becomes most important to increase non-farm activities so that some farm labourers can get employment there. Such non-farm activities can be - dairy farming, manufacturing, shop-keeping, transport, pisciculture, poultry farming, tailoring, educational activities etc. In the lean season the farm labourers can supplement their income by taking part in any of these non-farm activities and thus, improve their economical conditions. To help families start such activities they may be provided the required training, some financial help at a reasonable interest by Bank. It will also be helpful if we can improve the basic infrastructure of our villages including roadways, electricity, water supply etc. Above all if the Government takes initiatives in this direction by organizing various training programmes and arrangement of advancing loans through Banks at a moderate interest rate, then people in our villages will be able start a lot of non-farming activities followed by a change in their economic conditions very soon.