Urgent Need To Bring About A Revolution In India’s Farming Sector
Our Society Has Failed Miserably In Producing A Force Of Young And Dedicated Farmers
The importance and contribution of agriculture to our sustenance is something that everyone knows but very few acknowledge. There is a saying ‘if agriculture goes wrong nothing can go right in the country’. This saying has been proved right over and over again.
Ability to grow crops by the pre-historic man was the crucial step towards domestication. Growing your own food can be termed as the highest level of independency one can garner. Civilisations and dynasties are made or destroyed over agriculture, because it is our source of food. The human population can live without luxury but survival without food is impossible. This makes farming not only an activity but also a responsibility.
However, in our search for wealth and power, we forgot the core of our survival and the farmer who provided us with our life source was left destitute. The pages of world history are filled with the pain and the torture that the farming community had to face during wars and the period of industrialisation. Though their contribution remained the highest, they were taken for granted.
Taking into consideration our Indian society, agriculture has been embedded in our culture and golden history. Our lands were always rich and our farmers always dedicated to it. It was our exotic crops and sustainable growth that attracted numerous invasions. The British derived massive revenue by trading our indigo and cotton with the world market. As the farming community started to be exploited, the morale of the country went down.
After Independence, food scarcity became a major issue. A country’s population can never achieve real freedom if they have to depend on others for food. This led to the Green Revolution in the 1970s. But by then, the hunger of wealth and power had taken over Indian society. The Green Revolution was successful only because of the back-breaking hard work put in by our farmers.
Though India became self-sufficient in food, people’s interest in agriculture hit rock bottom. They no longer considered agriculture as a profession and the youth wanted to move to urban areas to take part in industrialisation, which brought about a major shift in our economy. But the government understood the importance of agriculture gand wanted the youth of the country to be more aware and involved in it.
This led to the establishment of ICAR and State Agriculture Universities to promote agricultural education and produce agriculture graduates who will be the forerunners for agriculture research, development and farmer welfare. As of December 2019, there are 4 deemed universities and 64 state agricultural universities in India.
The history of agriculture education in India can be traced back to the medieval period when study of agriculture was included in the curricula of Nalanda and Takshila universities as an important subject, which shows the importance ancient civilisations gave to farming practices.
As the agriculture system is too vast, it led to the opening of various sectors involved with research, inputs like seed, fertiliser, pesticides etc, along with storage, transportation, processing and marketing. Prestigious well-paying government jobs, both in the field of research and development, are on offer for those studying the subject. Agriculture became the trending subject of discussion and the government increased budget allocation to agriculture sector every year.
A lot of subsidy schemes were set up to help farmers decrease their dependency on money lenders and also to increase interest in farming. Funding for innovators and awards have been established for garnering more genuine response in this field.
Despite all this, agriculture has become such a professional course in India that the graduates do not or cannot pursue farming as their occupation. The ‘cannot’ part deals with parental pressure as most Indian parents do not like taking risk and consider farming as a low-paying, high-risk profession. This notion stems from our society as it considers farming to be the last option for someone who is incapable of doing anything else. So even though it had many positive impacts, it failed miserably in producing a force of young dedicated farmers.
The farmers are themselves tired of the recurring losses despite the hard work that they put into cultivating their land. They themselves don’t even want their progeny to be involved in farming. This points to a sad future, and requires an early and efficient solution before this ignorant approach towards farming plunges our economy into darkness.
The government has failed to streamline agriculture education in such a way that it will be more interesting and practical for the young generation, while as a society we have let down our culture by not providing our progenies a progressive outlook towards farming. Family is the first and foremost teacher of every child from where they pick up life’s lessons required, and that is where we have failed.
We failed to show them the importance of food that they receive every day and the amount of work put into it. By running after wealth, power and luxury, we forgot to teach them how to be empathetic to the farming community, who are selflessly working day in and day out. So, in order to bring about a revolution in the field of farming and sustainability, we have to sensitize our present and future generation of its demanding importance and the amount of respect the farming community deserves.
The government should start linking agro-based industries with agriculture education, and provide more funding towards demand-based research. Profitability of the farmers should be increased by making them more active in marketing and decreasing the involvement of middlemen. Only our genuine care, understanding and effort combined with that of the government can help farmers and farming to reach the zenith — the position they deserve.