75th Independence Day: A Farmer’s Plight in an Agrarian NationAugust 14, 2021
A Farmers Plight in an Agrarian Nation
Dehradun, Aug 14: “Jai jawan, Jai Kisan” These words set forth by Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1965, our then Prime Minister, have been like a consistent echo throughout the nation. With the descent of time, the significance of farmers has continued to grow. From being dependent on foreign countries for food to being self-sufficient, everything has resulted from the fervour and endurance of farmers.
India is an agrarian country, meaning a majority of its population makes income through agriculture, which is why almost 70% of the Indian economy is backed by agriculture. It will be a grave understatement if Indian farmers are called anything but “the spine of the Indian economy.”
And although Shastri’s phrase has a ring to it even today, its truth has somewhat been lost.
The farmers are our sole food providers. They had carried us out of the clutches of food scarcity before, and they continue to do so. Yet, even after 75 years of Independence, they haven’t been able to receive anything monumental in return. Instead, they live a life filled with hardships and farmer issues don’t seem to have a full stop yet. Around 80% of Indian farmers lead marginalized lives with less than a hectare of land. The lack of plentiful harvests and sufficient return from their crops has led to rising in farmer suicides. A 2021 report by the State of India’s Environment (SoE) highlighted that 5763 farmers from 20 states (including the Union Territories) & 4586 farm labourers from 21 states had committed suicides in 2018. This number was bumped up in 2019 to 5957 farmers from 17 states.
Although crop failure is a major contributor to these fatalities, the lack of financial aid tops the list. The farmers put all their capital on the line in order to grow quality crops. To sell their crop & food products to the consumers, the farmers go through numerous middlemen who snatch the majority of the return. It leaves the farmers with little to nothing.
While the government provides the farmers with a Minimum Support Price (MSP), it doesn’t even come as close as half of the input. The markets are often down in the aftermath of harvests; this forces the farmers to sell their produce for meagre costs and drowns them into debt. A 2016 survey called “The Economic Survey” states that a farmer’s average annual income only goes as far as ₹20,000 & less.
Current scenario – Farmers Amendment Bill:
In the recent months, India has witnessed mass farmers’ protests against the Farm Bills passed in the parliament, namely:
- Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020;
- Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and
- Farm Services Act 2020 and
- Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020
The farmers have been in complete disagreement with the bills owning to the understanding that the bills will end MSP. It means they will be stripped from whatever guaranteed amount they were receiving against their crops. The demands from farmers include the abolition of these three laws & sustainability for MSP.
A ray of hope:
One cannot solve the problems faced by farmers in a fortnight. The road to making farmers capable is extensive. Amidst the rising farmer issues, many companies have come forward to the aid of farmers. One such company is Kiwi Kisan Window. A health & wellness startup based in Dehradun, Kiwi Kisan Window deals in organic & healthy conscious food. The startup was initiated in 2017 by social entrepreneurs Abhinav Ahluwalia & Nupur Agarwal to aid farmers in their agricultural pursuits. Kiwi works at the grassroots level with marginalized farmers from across the country. They acquire the products from the farmers & package them in their warehouse. From there, the products are distributed throughout the country. Kiwi acts as a direct window between the farmers & consumers. This elimination of middlemen provides farmers with fair trade opportunities.
In the span of 4 years, Kiwi has gotten approximately 10,000 farmers onboard. Along with it, the startup has also generated a stable income for about 10,000 farmers. The company has helped farmers indulge in organic farming by familiarizing them with its technical know-how. Through the entirety of lockdowns imposed in 2020 due to covid-19, Kiwi mobilized the food produced by these farmers in order to save them from getting ruined due to weather conditions. Kiwi wishes to bring a ripple effect in the market through their initiative & encourage the consumers to support the farmers.
Our true independence lies in uplifting & walking shoulder to shoulder with everyone. The country is developing & moving forward every day; the farmers shouldn’t be exempt from this growth. If anything, the farmers should be at the forefront of the changing times.
“When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization.” – Daniel Webster
Connect with Kiwi on their social media handles for further information: Google My Business, Instagram,
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