Distressed small farmers
Cooperatives alone can address small farmers’ woes; strong agricultural reform needed without delay.
How long will the country mutely witness thousands of its debt-stricken small farmers committing suicide year after year, irrespective of the political party in power at the Centre or states? With 67 per cent of India's farmland held by marginal farmers; continuous shrinkage of acreage under their control provides an alarming picture of the future of these poor farmers and India's agriculture. Unfortunately, political parties do not seem to be concerned about addressing the real issue of making agriculture scientifically sustainable without such political doles as writing-off poor farmers' bank-debts and certain farm subsidies that indirectly benefit industrial producers of power, fertilisers and pesticides more than their direct users. By its geographical size, India is the world's most populated country. A continuously non-remunerative domestic agriculture can ruin all its other economic advantages. It is another matter that financially-sick farmers across the country may someday organise themselves to revolt against the government or administration, instead of cheaply ending life by committing suicide. Also, if the crisis persists, India may have to eventually live substantially on food imports.