Everyday we hear of farmer suicides and crop failures. And India is going thru a massive rural-urban migration with millions leaving agriculture to go to the cities to take up paid jobs. We hear about the agricultural sector being the lowest in terms of productivity when compared to the industrial and service sectors. Further, in the developed world, agriculture as a percentage of the GDP is miniscule. This is indeed a dismal picture.
At the same time on this forum, we read about educated persons who are successful in their own fields wanting to move into agriculture as a profession.
Is there something that these new educated entrants know or dont know? Do they view agriculture as a romantic, emotional, soul-stirring activity? Are their feet grounded in reality when they chuck up their secure jobs and move into agriculture with all its uncertainities? Do they have any practical experience or any idea of the scale of capital, effort and time required and importantly the opportunity cost?
We have a lot of agricultural scientists, universities, etc. We also have success stories like Punjab, Amul-model milk revolution, Kerala rubber farmers, successful tea and coffee estates, public listed companies like Harrisons Malayalam, etc.
The successes mentioned above - can they be replicated? What are the factors behind them? Is it mono-cropping or government support or superior technology or progressive risk-taking farmers or dedicated individuals or something else?
On the other hand, the stories about farmer suicides, low agro productivity, etc do not stop. Why don't these stories stop? If on the one hand we have success stories and simultaneously have horrible failures, what are the crucial determinants? Is it that the failures were lazy farmers or were they non-progressive with respect to new ideas and practices? Or were their farm holdings very small in size?
Lot of educated (including me) try to move to agriculture after having a financial backup. For eg. for me, it is a passion and I understand that even though money is less, there are many other beneficial factors like good health, mental satisfaction, close to nature etc..Also I have a feeling that we can do better in terms of productivity without using the chemicals and using organic/natural farming methods.
I think it is very difficult for the small scale farmers, but with farmers with 4-5 acres, can sustain from this.
But villages are also changing and all the luxuries are there and people are behind this..
There is a need of awareness on increasing productivity by using organic/natural methods, all have to be educated on the value system and how to live happily with limited resources..
People living in the cities can understand what they are missing and if the villagers also can understand what they have, it will be fantastic.
Yes.. Agriculture is really a profitable one.. if planned properly
Agriculture would be definitely be profitable, if it is properly planned. As you said in your mail, there are lot of educated, high profile professionals are getting into this industry. One should really appreciate such movement and also know that all these individuals are having proper back up, prior to getting into this industry and do it in alarge scale. Eventhough I'm in the Software Indsutry for more than two decades, I have a great passion on the agri industry. I'm very keen in observing the agri related information and the development for more than two decades. I'm planning to start an Integrated Agro Farming in a large scale in my own village, and planning to provide an industry status to this business. This will improve the employment opportunity to the rural people as well as to improve the economy of my village.
Please encourage such new entrants into this business and believe that the agri industry would definitely contributes the major portion on the indian economy in future, because of these educated, high profile professionals entering into Agriculture.
Agriculture is the mother of all industries. There is a chance for the small and big farmer to make it.
However like they say, We cannot do the same thing every day and expect a different result.
We have to move out of the comfort zones, break through the terror barrier. We must consider any past failings as ladders to success. Indians are one of the most brilliant people on earth and there is no reason why (when they can send satellites into space, make the nuclear weapon)they cannot equal or exceed any other country in this field.
India has somehow in the past decades given short shrift to farming as a profession, but things are changing. In fact most IT people these days I meet have had enough sitting in front of their PC's and once they have made some money they are looking at agriculture for the second innings. This is truly remarkable and I can tell you that in the next five to ten years India will feed the world.
India's fields, mark my words will become the preferred destination for agricultural outsourcing.
India has after the USA the highest arable land (53 pc of its land area) and we must convert this into a Goldmine. It is happening and it will be the "Mother of all Revolutions"
If all the farmers leave farming due to low profitability, think what will be the situation.
There is lack of technical know-how among most of the farmers in addition to poverty. Scientific cultivation can make a difference if the farmers get proper information about modern technology as well as finance.
It is true that if lot of farmers leave the agriculture it will be a serious situation. But it looks like only then the importance of agriculture will be understood. Otherwise government should do proactively promote agriculture and also farmers should form societies so that they get the best price for their produce.
For me it looks like rather than the scientific methods, our old conventional methods (organic/natural farming) are good for the nature and soil. It also gives the quality products. For e.g there are many reports that mulching saves good amount of water and plants can resist the drought.
But it will be difficult for farmers to find funds for education, marriages of their daughters/sons. I heard some one suggesting that these should be planned by farmers on long term and probably should plant some ten teak woods or some such trees when their kids are born. Also they should not go behind lot of luxuries but should understand that their life is one of the best even without these. This awareness/realization is also important.
Agriculture is Profitable but is rid with challenges
It is an interesting discussion that I happenned to read although almost a month late.
I am strong propenet of promoting agriculture as this I believe is the most oldest profession ever known to come naturally to mankind.
But the industry is plaugued with unorganised service providers and self proclaimed consultants and turnkey consultancy providers who have half baked information and or merely just glorified brokers or co-ordinators.
New entrants should be wary of such dubious agencies or individuals who are on the prowl for such opportunities to fleece money out of good souls.
In addition to this labour availability for farm activities is a big challenge. With the exodus of labour to the cities, getting good quality labour to carry out farming is a big challenge
The bottomline is that get into agriculture only after you have researched well on the project, people you are consulting or depending. Otherwise you would be in for a jolt!
We can learn lot of things about agriculture by visiting farms, discussing and of course reading the books. But it is true that it does not equal to the direct farming experience. There is a chance of continous learning in farming for everyone which makes it interesting.
Yes, it is true that labour availability is a problem, but lot of labour can be avoided in farming. For eg. tilling of coconut farms is a totally waste operation and similarly there are many..Recently I have seen people using JCB to open the base of the coconut tree for putting the fertilizer.
Like a wise farmer told.. instead of asking the question to ourself.. How about trying this? It should be How about not doing this? How about not doing that? And you will find that many of the standard farming labor can be avoided.
There was a news in Deccan Herald that some village in Karnataka, farmers jointly take care of the farming activities and avoid dependency on external labours. Probably this kind of co-operation is required, to address the challenges.
Agree with Mr.NANDAN. Having said that...... I find that "Crop Farming" e.g. Soyabean, Arhar Dal etc is hardly profitable in VIDARBHA due to LABOUR NON-AVAILABILITY & COST and BLACK-MARKETING by Fertilizer dealers/distributors .
Farm labour situation has worsened. because of Govt providing RATION at Rs.2/- per kg to people below powerty line (BPL-Card),
Now-A-Days since running a house-hold has become damn-simple to labours, FARM-Labourers in Vidarbha hardly work 2 days per week.
Thus the side-effects of BPL-CARD are like
a. LABOUR-SHORTAGE & its cascading effect of
It is difficult to go for MECHANISATION because
-- Small land-holdings & VARIED-CROPS of adjacent farmers do not allow GROUP-FARMING advantage of BULK-BUYING or deploying machines.
The situation goes worse during SEASON for fertiliser-availability.
The liscences for distribution mostly are with relatives (Wife/Son etc) of local MP's & MLA's. They BLACK-MARKET the fertilisers.
Last year I had to buy SSP at Price of Rs.400/- per bag when official price was rs.197/- in AMRAVATI. I called-up the Dist.Collector & reporter of Channel-AAJTAK to look into the matter. Both were too busy to suit the distributors.
Imagine a situation wherein I got SSP (though at double price) only when I offered to ransack the local-dealers shop. What wud the poor farmers do ??? I have seen people WAITING in front of the local-dealer's shop (with Parchi-system of wait-list) for 5-6 days just to get 5-6 bags of SSP !!!
If guys like me feel HELPLESS & CHEATED, NO WONDER farmers of VIDARBHA are tired of crops and more than 50% land ACTUALLY remains UNCULTIVATED every year...