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Indian Economy

Doubling Farmers Income

  • 15 Feb 2021
  • 8 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Central Government admitted that no actual assessment of farm income has been carried out since 2013.

Key Points

  • About:
    • Agriculture sustains livelihood for more than half of India's total population. Doubling farmers’ income in such a short period is an overwhelming task for decision makers, scientists and policy makers because of its continued role in employment, income and most importantly in national food security.
    • Doubling farmers’ income is possible through increasing total output and better price realization in the market, reduction in production costs,diversification of product, efficient post-harvest management, value addition, etc.
  • Data Related to Indian Farmers:

  • Related Steps Taken by Government:
    • Institutional Reforms:
    • Technological Reforms:
      • Initiating E-NAM: The National Agriculture Market (eNAM) is a pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
      • Technology mission on cotton: It aims to increase the income of the cotton growers by reducing the cost of cultivation as well as by increasing the yield per hectare through proper transfer of technology to the growers.
      • Technology Mission on Oilseeds, Pulses and Maize (TMOPM): Few schemes implemented under TMOPM are: Oilseeds Production Programme (OPP), National Pulses Development Project (NPDP), etc.
      • Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH): It is a scheme for the holistic growth of the horticulture sector covering fruits, vegetables, root & tuber crops, mushrooms, spices, flowers, aromatic plants, coconut, cashew, cocoa and bamboo.
      • Sugar Technology Mission: Aimed at reducing the cost of production of sugar and improving sugar quality through steps for improvements in productivity, energy conservation and improvements in capital output ratio.
      • National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture: It aims at promoting sustainable agriculture through a series of adaptation measures focusing on ten key dimensions encompassing Indian agriculture namely; ‘Improved crop seeds, livestock and fish cultures’, ‘Water Use Efficiency’, ‘Pest Management’, ‘Improved Farm Practices’, ‘Nutrient Management’, ‘Agricultural insurance’, ‘Credit support’, ‘Markets’, ‘Access to Information’ and ‘Livelihood diversification’.
      • In addition, schemes relating to tree plantation (Har Medh Par Ped), Bee Keeping, Dairy and Fisheries are also implemented.
  • Need and Challenges: To achieve the target of doubling farmers' income by 2022, the Economic Survey 2021 has highlighted few basic challenges which needs to be addressed:
    • Extension of Irrigation Facilities:
      • The coverage of irrigation facilities needs to be extended while ensuring an effective water conservation mechanism.
    • Improve Agricultural Credit:
      • An inclusive approach to provision for agricultural credit has to be undertaken to address the issue of skewness in its regional distribution, it said.
    • Land Reform:
      • As the proportion of small and marginal holdings is significantly large, land reform measures like freeing up land markets can help farmers improve their Income.
    • Boost to Allied Sectors:
      • Allied sectors, such as animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries, need to be given a boost to provide an assured secondary source of employment and income, especially for small and marginal farmers.
    • Farm Mechanisation:
      • There is also a need to address the issue of lower farm mechanisation in India which is only about 40% as compared to about 60% in China and around 75 % in Brazil.
    • Improving Food Processing Sector:
      • More focussed attention" is required to be given to the sector due to its significant role in reducing post-harvest losses and creation of an additional market for farm outputs.
        • The food processing sector is growing at an average annual growth rate of more than 5% over the last six years ending 2017-18.
    • Exploring Global Markets:
      • There is a need to give increased focus on exploring global markets for agricultural commodities to give an additional source of market for the surplus of agricultural produce India currently has.
    • Reallocation of Labour:
      • There is also a need to reallocate labour resources to other sectors.
      • Though the structural transformations involved a falling share of the agriculture sector and rising share of services sector jobs, more needs to be done to create manufacturing jobs to absorb the large pool of workers.
    • Other Issues:
      • Issues such as investment in agriculture, insurance coverage, water conservation, improved yields through better farming practices, access to market, availability of institutional credit, increasing the linkages between agricultural and non-agricultural sectors need urgent attention.

Way Forward

  • The low level of farmers' income and year to year fluctuations in it are a major source of agrarian distress.
  • To secure the future of agriculture and to improve the livelihood of half of India's population, adequate attention needs to be given to improve the welfare of farmers and raise agricultural income.
  • It is essential to mobilize States and UTs to own and achieve the goal of doubling farmers' income with active focus on capacity building (technology adoption and awareness) of farmers that will be the catalyst to boost farmers income.
  • The National Sample Survey Office’s last survey on agricultural households was conducted in 2013. There has been no further assessment of the farmers income. Therefore there is an urgent need to track the progress of farmers.

Source: TH

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