Agriculture Policy

Prime Minister Modi Has Done a Poor Job, Say Half of Farmer-Respondents in Lokniti-CSDS Survey

More than half (53 percent) of farmer-respondents in a Mood of the Nation Survey conducted by Lokniti-CSDS  said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had done a poor job of addressing their concerns. But a not-so-insignificant number (41 percent) said the central government had done a good job.

Nearly three farmers in every five (58 percent) reported significant levels of dissatisfaction with the rates they were getting for their produce.  Only 27 percent of farmers said they sold their produce to the government purchase centre; nearly double that percentage – or half of all farmers – said they sold it to middlemen.

Nearly two-thirds of farmers (64 percent) said they would like to leave agriculture if they got a city job. This was slightly higher than 62 percent in the 2013 Indian Farmers’ Survey. However 60 percent this time said they would not want their children to be in agriculture, up from 36 percent in 2013.

(Top photo: Bengal potato pickers, March 2015. By Vivian Fernandes. Potato farmers have been among the worst sufferers on account of crashing prices).

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I Do Not Understand Bt Cotton technology; I Know It Works

Y Kallanagouda Patil, 46, of Uppinbetegeri village in Dharwad taluk  owns 52 acres jointly with his three brothers. He holds a diploma in agriculture from a school in Raichur. Patil grows cotton on ten acres, apart from sugarcane, potato, Bengal gram, jowar, tur,moong and vegetables. He uses groundwater to irrigate his fields. The water is drawn from a depth of 280 feet. Electricity is free so he flood irrigates the fields, except the one under banana  where he uses drip irrigation. He does not micro-irrigate cotton because it is closely planted and has to make way for another crop after eight months. This farmer has his cost all worked out. Making quick mental calculations, he estimates the cost of cotton crop at Rs 22,500 an acre and the realization from 17 quintals an acre at Rs 68,000. He had planted Bayer seed. ‘I do not understand technology, he says, all I know is if I use Bt seed there will be no

Pests Snack on Chilly But Not Cotton

F Basavaraj Rudagi, 48, did not grow cotton before 2008. This farmer from Saundhi village in Dharwad district’s Kundogol taluk made a partial switch to Bt cotton as chilly was susceptible to pest attack and yield was declining. From five acres in 2009, Rudagi had fifteen of a forty acre joint farm under cotton this year, when smartindianagriculture  caught up with him in February. He tried out Bayer in a change from Mahyco and Raasi seed. Rudagi says he got 11.5 quintals (100 kg) an acre from his rain-fed crop and at Rs 4,050 a quintal, his realization was a little over Rs 46,000. The cost, he says, is Rs 26,000 an acre, excluding rental earnings had he leased out the land. This does not mesh with the profit he claims he makes, but then he admits to not keeping crop-wise accounts. Rudagi also grows peanuts, coriander, gram, safflower and jowar. There is safety in diversity. And yes he plants pigeon pea or tur around the cotton crop for bollworms to feed on so they are not forced by the survival instinct to develop resistance to Bt protein.  In this sense he is quite a cut apart. Low cotton prices are worrying but what is the alternative?