An Eye on Farmers’ Issues that Compel Farmers to Quit Farming
If all the world’s population quit their occupation would not damage the world at such scale than quitting farming. Because, farmers feed the world. We are alive and doing our day to day tasks on time just because of farmers.
According to some researches, farming is the planet’s most critical job. Agricultural production is degrading day to day because of farmers’ decision to leave farming. Furthermore, many farmers who have no options other than farming commit suicide. In Pakistan, there is not any kind of research has been published on farmer’s suicide. However, in our neighboring country (India) 10,281 farmers committed suicide in 2019 (NCRBI). That’s why It is important to manage this grave issue so that, globe would not face this chronic challenge.
According to Pakistan statistical report, agriculture is the second largest sector, accounting for over 21% of GDP, and remains by far the largest employer, absorbing 45% of the country’s total labor force. Nearly 62 percent of the country’s population live in rural areas, and is directly or indirectly linked with agriculture for their livelihood. The farmers quit their jobs due to the many reasons that overall affects the GDP of the country.
Reasons to quit farming
Water crisis is increasing the farmer’s decision to quit farming. The scarcity of water is a major constraint in agriculture. Although, Pakistan has one of the best canal systems in the world, and ground water is still considered a reliable source of irrigation. But the agriculture water distribution is at the peak of irregularities. The illegal canals and channels have created a major water distribution problem. However, ground-water use has several constraints, including its quality and high pumping cost.
The climatic conditions also have negative impacts on the farming. It is estimated that farmers are affected badly by exogenous weather shocks, like floods, heavy, or low rainfall, and uncontrolled crop disease, which results in crop losses. Sometimes, the heavy rainfall results in floods which damages the farmer’s crops. On the other hand, the most of the time the unavailability of rainfall for a long period causes drought, which forces the farmer to leave farming.
The government is also not providing subsidies to farmers. Furthermore, there are huge taxes on farm inputs. Therefore, farmers take loan on high interest rates to operate their farm and then could not payback to them. Because a farm doesn’t generate as income as required to free farmer from the burden of loans. This is one of those factors which supports the farmer decision to quit farming.
Storage and price issues
The marketing and storage of produce are immense issues of the world. The marketing of produce on the lower rates causing frustrations to the farmer. As, the yield produce on the same time at large quantity. The storage units are unavailable to farmers, to store the perishable produce for a long time. Therefore, the supply becomes high and the demand becomes low at that time. Likewise, the government has no control over the local market and the brokers. Therefore, the farmers sell their produce on lower rates, which results in the loss of farmers’ income and impacts on farmers’ decision to leave farming.
Lack of interest
In villages, the farmers are uneducated and they are using old tradition methods of farming. They are also unaware of the modern technologies. Likewise, the farmer transplants the rice seedlings with the help of labor rather than using rice transplanted machine. This kind of technology saves time and expenditures of the farmer. Likewise, there are no education opportunities in some remote areas. In cities, the agriculture graduates are passing out in great number. But, they are showing lack of interest. They are joining other departments to serve rather than joining their own field. So, it is also causing a huge disturbance in the agriculture sector.
The transportation of vegetables and fruits are required on a daily basis. The vegetable and fruits are perishable, it means they have low storage life. These products should be transported on time otherwise this causes huge loss. As, the condition of roads is bad in rural areas. So, it creates transportation problems. The poor transportation results in post-harvest losses to farmers.
The agriculture is the backbone of the country and it has a major role in the GDP of Pakistan. That’s why, we should not neglect its importance. As we know, scarcity of water is a major constraint in farming. Therefore, we should build check dams and water reservoirs to store water for agriculture purpose. We can also aware farmers to grow drought-resistant crops that require less water as well as persuading them to adopt modern irrigation techniques for extensive farming.
The subsidies should be provided to farmers on agricultural inputs like seeds, pesticides, fertilizers. The process of loan taking involves hurdles and should be tackle with better policies. The State must build storage units in order to stabilize the market rates and can export items to other countries if produces are more than the country’s demand. These steps will enhance farmers’ income and ultimately their interest.
Authors: Syed Hassan Ali shah, Muhammad Asif, Naveed Ahmed.