Community Farming in India

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Sabir, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. Sabir

    Sabir DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    The Government should promote community farming in India

    It is shocking to stumble upon news of suicide committed by farmers when we are aspiring to be one of the major economic powers in the world. But unfortunately, such incidents kept on reported. If today it is Maharastra, tomorrow it will be Vidharva, next day may be West Bengal. It is nothing new that farmers in most part of India are in dire situation and stopgap effort of government through loan waiver scheme and subsidy fails to bring any permanent solution to the problems of poor farmers. Even attempted land reforms to transfer ownership of lands to the poor farmers from the land lords but it neither contribute to the overall productivity nor does it bring any improvement in the life of the farmers. Though India is gifted with its vast plain, fertile soil, thousands of water bodies, it still lags behind many countries in terms of productivity. Use of modern machineries and facilities is very limited in India. Clearly for most of the farmers who own very small area it is not possible to introduce such things as cost can not be covered without large scale production.

    Since Independence India is following Soviet socio-economic model but why did not attempt community farming that was a feature of Agriculture in Soviet Union is beyond my knowledge. The problem is not much in those areas in India where lands are fertile except for those years when monsoon fails or there is surplus production ( yes, farmers also suffer for excessive production as price dips because of our poor distribution system). But community farming could really make a difference in those areas where people were not lucky enough with fertile land or any other option to lead a life. We may have noted many such areas have become strong holds of Maoist elements.

    Recently I found repots about some effort to promote community farming and it has changed people’s life within a couple of year. Even Late YS Rajshekhar Reddy, former CM of Andhra attempted to promote community farming and set up a model in the country.

    We don’t need be expert to analyze the benefits of community farming. It is true more prosperous farmers will be less inclined to such attempt until and unless a proper example has been set in front of them. So government me start promoting it in backward areas where people are really suffering. There are many benefits that can be linked with it.

    It uses a pool of resources say land and manpower enabling the community to afford modern technology in field which peasants can not do individually.

    Government can easily connect these communities with different agricultural institutes and research centers for improving performance. Government can sanction loans to the communities instead of individuals thus ensuring better chance of repayment.

    A community with the help of government can undertake proper planning do decide output level and type of the corps in specific period of time. It can undertake better storing, distribution and marketing thus curbing wide fluctuation in the commodity price.

    Other social welfare programs such as education, medical facilities etc can be build up making keeping a farmer’s community in center.
     
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  3. Sabir

    Sabir DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    Cross posting this article from another thread as what will help future viewers-

    Tribals reap benefits of collective farming

    RAJENDRA KHATRY




    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    KANDORA VILLAGE, (MP), JULY 10: From brinks of despair to cusp of hope and empowerment. That's how a success story is unfolding for the tribals in some villages around the Badalkhol sanctuary in Jashpur district of Madhya Pradesh, bordering Orissa.

    Steeped in abject poverty, tribals, consisting of Pahadi Korwas, Korwas, Orans, Mundas, Birhors, Kujurs, who had nothing to look forward to; not very long ago, seem to see a new ray of hope, thanks to the Herculean efforts of a NGO-Jan Utthan Sanskritik Manch (JUSM), based at Kandora village in Kunkuri block of Jashpur.

    Collective farming method taught by JUSM to the tribals scattered around the Badalkhol sanctuary is proving to be a highly successful experiment in the region. Tribals who not long ago found it difficult to maintain sustainable living, as they tried to survive on forest produce and part time farming, are now not only able to do so, but also manage some saving, which was unthinkable till a few years back.

    ``Initially the idea of collective farming seemed strange and we were sceptical. But looking to the impressive gains made, we realise this is the answer to our miseries, '' says Runiya Ram, one of the villagers. ``Collective farming has brought about a sea change - for the better,'' says Hira Chauhan a farmer and also the president of JUSM.

    ``The concept of collective farming is simple'', explains Edward Minz, secretary, JUSM and the driving force behind the idea. ``Instead of individual efforts, villagers join hands for joint farming on their collective plots of land. They pool in resources, till the fields together and cultivate crops. The produce is shared equally. The idea has clicked in a big way", he claims.

    It is difficult to quantify the result of collective farming in monetary terms. But ask the tribals and they will tell you how effective the idea has been. ``Earlier we could hardly sustain ourselves in the off farming season. Now we have enough to pass off the year comfortably,'' claims Vincent Tirkey, another active farmer.

    Earlier they had a single crop in their fields, double crop is now becoming a regular feature, thanks to collective farming. The crops being cultivated are rice, dal, sugarcane, herbal medicinal plants, groundnut etc. Out of these, rice and groundnut crops have been more successful. Through the long-term marketing concept jackfruit, mango and mahua trees are also being planted in the area.

    While every effort is made to improve crop production, the JUSM has strictly banned use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides or hybrid seeds in fields. ``We have a firm belief in traditional farming. Chemical fertilisers and pesticides damage soil and crop. We are therefore promoting organic farming, '' says Minz. He however regrets, that the government is not making enough provision for irrigation in the tribal areas despite presence of big rivers like Eib or Dorki.

    Marketing of produce is a problem of the JUSM. The tribals have never been business-minded. ``It is difficult to explain the concept of marketing to them. All they want is enough to sustain themselves throughout the year. The idea that they can not only have enough, but also earn some money from farming is still beyond them. But if they have to improve their lot they have to learn to live with this concept,'' says Minz.

    One of the greatest benefits of collective farming is that it has helped unite people and tribes. ``What better way then to see Hindus, Christians and people of other faith rubbing shoulders n the fields and outside. Eating, sleeping and dining together in the course of collective farming has promoted cultural harmony in the region like nothing else,'' explains Minz.

    Talking about the activities of the Jan Utthan Sanskritik Manch, Minz says it was formed in 1988 at Kandora village, Jashpur to help poor tribals sustain themselves. While the large objective of the manch remains protection and promotion of tribal culture of the region, the immediate aim is to create awareness among them to stand up for their rights.

    Community development programmes are being taken up in a big way by the manch activists. ``We want to create more and more of Gram Sabhas in the region. Only then will the tribals have full control over their land, forest and water resources,'' says Minz.

    Another major objective is promoting education among the tribals. The MP government too has chalked a special programme for the illiterates in the state called Education Guarantee Sceheme (EGC). Unfortunately the tribals have yet to take full benefit of the project. With the efforts of JUSM, however, things will change for the better, says Hira Chauhan.

    The JUSM today uses its cultural wing to create awareness about problems and their solutions in the tribal region. Street plays or stage shows are regularly held for the purpose, informs Minz. A major issue dogging the region is the subtle move by the MP forest department to drive the tribals out of the Badalkhol sanctuary. When force didn't work, the forest department tried to induce the tribals by offering money. So far the tribals have spurned all such offers and the credit for the rejection is also shared by the blitzkrieg campaign launched by the JUSM.

    Another major achievement of the JUSM is in getting minimum wages for tendu leaf collectors. Earlier the contractors could easily underpay the tribals for their hard work. Now they demand and get minimum wages.

    Tribals reap benefits of collective farming
     
  4. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    well checkup the situation in Fiji, it sounds very similar to what's going on there. Many farmer suicides there too.
    I think the latter part of your first paragraph of your first article covers the solution.
    Knowing it is one thing , getting it done perhaps quite another.
    The govt needs move the farmers onto something else if possible, again, that's easier said than done.
     
  5. NSG_Blackcats

    NSG_Blackcats Member of The Month OCTOBER 2009 Senior Member

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    I will start a series of posts which will be related to the issues currently faced by our farming community and I will try my best to provide some solutions. I am not an agriculture expert. So will request members to correct me if I am wrong anywhere.

    Part - I


    70 percent of our population depends upon agriculture. After Service sector (55%) and industry (29%), agriculture (17%) is the third biggest contributor to our GDP. But contribution of agriculture in our GDP is coming down though near about 70% of our population depends upon agriculture.

    When the purchasing power of these 70 percent of our population increases it will bring a robust growth in our economy. But as they are dependent on agriculture, their purchasing power will depend upon their productivity and the price that they will get for their product.

    The above mentioned facts are well known. But in recent times with many faulty policies of GoI, farmers are forced to end his life as they fail to repay their debt. Government should rethink about its SEZ policies. Fertile lands acquired for SEZ projects must be give 3/4times more the market price.

    Now let me share my views about problems faced by our farming community and what in my view can be the solution. In my first post I am focusing on the basic issues faced by our framers.

    1. Dependency on Monsoon.

    For water, more than 60% of the farmland in India depends on rains. So if there is a failure in monsoon (as happened previous year) farmers face huge losses. Link for checking irrigated Area Map of India.

    Solution: - How can we reduce water pendency of our farmland on monsoon.

    •Building more check dams in rivers. Government is now mostly concentrating on either increasing the height of the existing dam or on building big dams. Check dams can be built in less time and with less cost. It will also have minimal impact on our environment. With this check dams we can focus on minor irrigation projects at local body level (panchayat) which will be more efficient.

    •In rural area there are huge numbers of water bodies. But due to lack of proper maintenance these water resources are drying up very fast. If I am not wrong, GoI has started a pilot project few years before to restore these water bodies with the help of local villagers. This will not only provide a source for irrigation but also help in recharging our ground water level.

    •We need to invest more on R & D of Paddy and wheat seeds which can be cultivated on less water.

    •Rain water harvesting is another area where we need to give maximum emphasis.

    •Though river linking will have its adverse impact on environment, we must seriously have research on it. If we can link small rivers and have check dams on it, we can solve some water related problem in cultivation. Gujarat government has started some projects on river linking.

    Example Some Organisation which are working on Check dams

    Saurashtra Jal Dhara Trust (Gujarat)

    •It is providing villages cement free of charge for building check dams. If any village requires cement in excess of 2000 bags, the Trust provides that excess cement at a subsidiary rate of Rs. 105 per bag.

    •By the efforts of the Trust 80,000 check-dams in number of villages of Saurashtra are under implementation.

    •There are 5600 villages in Saurashtra and Kutch and 78 rivers carrying the rainwater into the sea. The aim of the Trust is to awakening the people to materialize check-dam yojanas in all these villages.

    Everyone is aware about performance of Gujarat when it comes to industrialization. Now time to check its agriculture growth.
    Read it: Agriculture, Secret of Modi’s success

    Source - I
    Source - II

    Source – Business Today

    Will continue from here in my next post
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    India needs a second green revolution with better scientific irrigation method like those of israel.they even grow crops in desert.read the following in detail:

    Focus on Israel: Israel's Agriculture in the 21st century

     
  7. Sabir

    Sabir DFI TEAM Senior Member

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