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?