Recent studies have shown a steep rise in farmer suicides
Recent studies have shown a steep rise in farmer suicides. Examine the reasons for increasing farmer suicides and suggest possible solutions to overcome the problem.
The recent data from National Crime Records Bureau have recorded a 72% suicide rate among small farmers. A small farmer is the one who owns less than 2 hectares of land. And a marginal farmer owns less than 1 hectare of land. The states of Maharashtra and Karnataka have reported the maximum number of suicide cases among the small farmers. And the states of Maharashtra and Chattisgarh have reported maximum number of suicide cases among marginal farmers.
Reasons behind the increase in number of farmer suicides
Rise of indebtedness
The high loans taken by the farmers are one of the most important causes of suicides. However, a recent study has shown that the loans are mostly taken from the banks and other financial institutions rather than money lenders. Despite of that, tremendous pressures are built upon these farmers to sustain their families and also repay the loans on time.
The rise in price of seeds, fertilizers, chemicals, agricultural equipments on a constant basis has lead the farmers to borrow huge amount of money from banking institutions. The cost of cultivation has also increased manifold in the past 10years.
Adverse weather conditions
The climatic constraints like failure of monsoon, drought, etc lead to crop failure. Since agriculture is mainly dependent upon the monsoon, it receives a huge blow in case of adverse climatic conditions.
Possible solutions to the problem
The banks, financial institutions should come up with new and innovative policies on lending. Pressure on farmers to repay loans should be minimized. The timely delivery of subsidized seeds and fertilizers is important.
Instead of depending only on fertilizer subsidy, more focus should be given on technological improvement on seeds, better agricultural research, high yielding, and pest-resistant variety of seeds.
Proper implementation of the Soil Health Card Scheme, provision of potash based, phosphorous based fertilizers, according to the soil needs, proper warehouse facilities, provision of agricultural equipments at low costs, etc. are some of the possible methods to improve agriculture and reduce the plight of the farmers.