The effects of climate change affect farmers’ ability to grow the food we all need. Increasingly volatile weather and more extreme events – like floods and droughts – change growing seasons, limit the availability of water, allow weeds, pests, and fungi to thrive, and can reduce crop productivity. Soil erosion is reducing the amount of land available for agriculture, and declining biodiversity affects the pollination of crops. At the same time, farmers are under pressure to conserve water and use fewer agricultural inputs. Farmers must adapt to climate change but they can only do that if they are provided with enough funds. Pay according to the work they are putting in is very important, unjust pay or less pay is only going to add to the pressure they are under.
In September 2020, the farmers of India protested against the three farm laws passed by the Parliament of India. The acts, often called the Farm Bills, have been described as "anti-farmer laws" by many farmer unions, and politicians from the opposition who say it would leave farmers at the "mercy of corporates". The farmers have also demanded the creation of a minimum support price (MSP) bill, to ensure that corporates cannot control the prices. The union government, however, maintains that the laws will make it effortless for farmers to sell their produce directly to big buyers, and stated that the protests are based on misinformation. Related endemic legacy issues include farmer suicides and low farmer incomes. Despite India being largely self-sufficient in foodgrain production and having welfare schemes, hunger and nutrition remain serious issues, with India ranking as one of the worst countries in the world in food security parameters. The immediate demand the farmer union has made is The farmer unions believe that the laws will open the sale and marketing of agricultural products outside the notified Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis for farmers. Further, the laws will allow inter-state trade and encourage a hike in the electronic trading of agricultural produce. The new laws prevent the state governments from collecting a market fee, cess, or levy for trade outside the APMC markets; this has led the farmers to believe the laws will "gradually lead to the deterioration and ultimately end the mandi system" thus "leaving farmers at the mercy of corporates". Further, the farmers believe that the laws will end their existing relationship with agricultural small-scale businessmen.
Additionally, protesting farmers believe dismantling the APMC mandis will encourage abolishing the purchase of their crops at the Minimum Support Price (MSP). They are therefore demanding the minimum support prices guaranteed by the government in writing. Other demands added over time have included-
Convene a special Parliament session to repeal the farm laws
Make MSP and state procurement of crops a legal right
Assurances that the conventional procurement system will remain
Implement Swaminathan Panel Report and peg MSP at least 50% more than the weighted average cost of production
Cut diesel prices for agricultural use by 50%
Repeal of Commission on Air Quality Management in NCR and the adjoining Ordinance 2020 and removal of punishment and fine for stubble burning
Release of farmers arrested for burning paddy stubble in Punjab
Abolishing the Electricity Ordinance 2020
Center should not interfere in state subjects, decentralization in practice
Withdrawal of all cases against and release of farmer leaders
Farmers have been insistent on repealing the farm laws. Even after the government offered to stay the farm laws for 18 months on 21 January 2021, the farmers refused the stay and pushed for repeal. Other than the farm unions and leaders, people like Markandey Katju and Thol. Thirumavalavan has also made statements in relation to staying with the farm laws.
With the continued protest later the Modi administrators finally repealed All three farm bills. However, protests would continue until 11 December 2021. Hundreds of farmers danced and celebrated the victory they began removing roadblocks and dismantling thousands of makeshift homes along major highways. The protests were finally declared over and the farmers started returning to their homes.
The agricultural industry in India has a rich history, which is well documented in this blog post. But it is well over time that the farmers and the laborers get their fair share for the hard work they continuously put in. In fact, the Indian agricultural industry is one of the biggest in the world. With the industry generating more than $100 billion in revenue annually, it’s evident that the industry is important to the country. The Indian agricultural industry is extremely diverse with many different crops being grown for a variety of different purposes. In fact, the largest producer of rice in the world is located in India. It’s no wonder that India is such a key player in the global agricultural industry!
We’re always happy to provide our readers with information about the agricultural industry in India, especially since the industry is so important to the country and to the world. We’re excited to share more information about the Indian agricultural industry as time goes on, so stay tuned to our blog for more information as it becomes available!