List of Contents
Synopsis: Farming is best left to those who can do it well. Better fewer, but better.
Recently National Statistical Office (NSO) Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households report was released. It throws up interesting data which can also be used to guide the agriculture policies for the future.
What are the key findings of the Survey?
An average agricultural household earned a total monthly income of Rs 10,218 during 2018-19 (July-June). Out of this, the net receipts from crop production were just Rs 3,798 and from farming of animals was Rs 1,582. Taken together, this hardly contributes 53% of the total household income.
The single-largest income source was actually the wages/salary, at Rs 4,063. Thus, it can be said that the average farmer, is more a wage labourer than a seller of produce from his/her land.
What does the data imply?
If we consider that farmers are those that derive 60% or more of their income from farms, then only 30 Million can be called farmers. This implies that India’s agriculture policy should primarily target these 30 Million farmers.
We should target these farmers through improved access to markets, water, electricity, credit and other means. We should focus on lowering the production cost and improving the output efficiency.
What should we do for the rest of the farmers?
We need to understand that for the remaining farmers, the crop-based mechanism needs to be reviewed. We should look to migrate them to activities like dairy, poultry etc.
Source: This post is based on “India must shed obsession with ‘marginal farmers’. Their future lies outside farms — in dairy, poultry, food retail” published in the Indian Express on 21st August 2021.