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Letters: Revamp farm ecosystem

Farming is getting relegated as an occupation managed by the poor

Business Standard 

The editorial “Bad timing” (June 19) has rightly reinforced the detrimental impact of the spree of farm loan waivers gripping the nation. Its fiscal strain is sure to bloat the deficit. Everyone is more than convinced that loan waivers as social sops can set a bad precedence. Hence, it is time for a serious introspection into the precise reasons for the plight of farmers in India. Beginning with fragmented land holdings, uncertain and hostile weather conditions, poor education on modernising farming, dependence on monsoon, non-availability of bank loans and many more are rarely discussed. Moreover, from an occupational standpoint, farming is low-profile and rarely adopted by educated youths in the community. Farming is getting relegated as an occupation managed by the poor either on their own behalf or that of affluent farmers.
In an agro-based economy if the farming community cannot be affluent how can the rest of the population enjoy self-sufficiency in food? Farming must be made profitable. The minimum support price (MSP) should not only be raised to commercial levels but the ecosystem supporting farming activity need to be revamped. Farming must be respected as a profession for which education on agriculture must be incorporated at the school level so that professionals from colleges begin to look at it instead of opting to migrate to congested urban areas, leaving elders to meddle in farming.

Therefore, some long-term seminal changes have to be targeted instead of blaming the representatives of the government or farmers. Fix the root cause instead of treating symptoms all the time and then shifting the blame on people at the helm of affairs. A parliamentary committee should look at the plight of farmers and initiate policy transformation to bring farming to the mainstream of professions which youngsters should be proud to pursue. It must be made a profitable economic activity to continue to attract the best talent.
                K Srinivasa Rao  Noida

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