In my last week visit to villages in Alibaug (Konkan region), farmers told me why they have no other option but to leave farming as nothing is being done on the irrigation infrastructure front by the government since the last six and a half decades and the initial investment has grown in leaps and bounds. Here are the main reasons why farmers are quitting farming and becoming extinct in the Konkan region:
1). Investment is higher than the produce:
2). Labour cost has shot up by 150 %.
3). Scarcity of Labour force.
4). Higher demands by labour to do a day’s job.
5). No irrigation infrastructure.
6). Depends completely on Rain God’s mercy for a better monsoon.
7). Salty ground water cannot be used for crops.
8). No extra income to survive the whole year.
9). Shifting towards Metro Cities for livelihood & survival.
10). Cost of electricity, fertilizers have doubled up.
11). Inflow of black money by the rich and famous, who are buying farms at 1 crore per acre. Farmers who have more land are selling few acres to change their style of living because of more money.
12). Inflow of money has changed the work culture and farmers’ attitude, who are not ready to slog for almost nothing as they have the money power to buy food for their families.
13). Eight long months farmlands lie barren because of non-availablity of irrigation system or failure of the same (in Phopheri & Saral, drinking water supply is only for an hour).
14). Ratio of healthy farmers (like the earlier generation) is almost neglible in today’s time.
15). No right price for farmers’ produce by the government agencies.
16). Two long months time period to receive payments from government agencies force the farmers to sell their produce to the middlemen, who pay them lower price on cash payment.
16). Middlemen mafia has become stronger to force the farmers to sell their produce.
17). Lack of knowledge makes poor farmers to still continue with age-old farming technics.
18). In two or three generation periods, farmers’ sons prefer to slog in the urban set up with lower or higher education to have a good annual income rather than live in pittance by continuing farming. So migration to cities has become their best bet to live a decent life. In Maharastra according to 2001 Government Survey, 42 % population have turned urban, that means Angriculture Sector has lost almost 12 %... the 2011 survey will see the percentage crossing the 50 % barrier according to various experts.
All these factors contribute to force the farmers of Phopheri and Saral villages to shift their base in urban set up. Farmers are not lured by the government to continue farming and in near future, the farmers’ community in all likelihood will become extinct… so then who will produce food for the nation? Think seriously about such a situation in near future!