top of page

ROLE Of AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY TO REDUCE FARMER’S SUICIDE

Written by: Gargi Sarma, Industry Analyst @Global Launch Base


India is an agrarian country and about 70% of its population is dependent on agriculture either directly or indirectly. However, not all farmers are leading a happy contented life. This is starkly demonstrated by the number of farmer suicides in India, which is extremely alarming. In this article, we'll look at the reasons behind farmer suicides in India as well as the statistics that go with it and what might be the possible solutions to it.

The National Crime Report Board (NCRB) annual report on Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India (ADSI) provides the most reliable source of the actual numbers and causes for the Farmer suicides.


The numbers above reveal a startling fact: 72% of the suicides come from just 4 states (Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh) of which the state of Maharashtra alone contributes to 45% of the unfortunate deaths due to Farmer suicides in India. Further, we can note that the suicide cases are seen to be higher for agricultural labourers than the farmers and cultivators. While it is disastrous to see such concentrated numbers in a smaller region of India, it can help while designing and developing solutions to alleviate the problems with more focused energy around these particular geographies.

These suicides are driven by many factors, on average three or more, with the predominant reason being unable to repay loans. Let us look into these driving factors which are leading to farmer’s suicide.

Possible reasons behind farmer’s suicide in India:

In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion regarding the causes of farmer suicides in India, both in the media and academic papers. Therefore, the following factors are observed to be the major driving factors linked to farmer’s suicide.

Increase in the overall cost of cultivation: The growing burden on farmers is the result of higher agricultural input costs such as

- Cost of seed and chemicals

- Cost of agricultural equipment

- Cost of labour

Bankruptcy or indebtedness: Whether the banks are harnessing the farmers has been a long-running issue that requires more precise actual data and there is always a strong link between farmer’s suicide and indebtedness.

Lack of direct association with markets: Although efforts such as the National Agricultural Market and contract farming are assisting in the direct integration of farmer’s goods with the market for reducing the need for intermediaries. However, when we look into reality, the efforts continue to lag behind.

Insufficient awareness: The inability of farmers to take advantage of the benefits of government programmes mainly arises due to the gap in literacy and digital forum, which is making the marginal and small farmers vulnerable.

Water crisis: The fact that these suicides are high in the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka indicates how the water crisis is failing to satisfy the production needs and increases the threat. This scenario is especially true when we look into the ongoing failure of the monsoons.

Climate change: Climate change has already increased high levels of uncertainty in the monsoon system and results in low agricultural productivity. While the flash floods have caused crop losses and postponed monsoons have resulted in output shortfalls year after year.

Water disputes among states: The refusal of the states to meet each other's water requirements has contributed to the already existing issue. One recent example is the Kaveri conflict, in which the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu fought over water shortages both inside and outside of the tribunal, even to the point of non-compliance with the tribunal's decision.

India’s urban consumer-driven economic policies: India's political economy is dominated by urban consumers rather than rural producers. This is evident in the urgency of controlling price restrictions to the price increase and an unplanned removal once the price is under control. Compare this to how we have been enforcing a minimum import price to protect our steel industry. This disparity in treatment of the primary sector reduces profit margins, limiting farmer’s ability to break away from the debt cycle.

Reinvestment initiatives: The approach to deal with farmer indebtedness and farmer suicides has been appeasement politics, as seen by the Uttar Pradesh government's recent decision to forgive Rs 36000 crore in loans. Surprisingly, this occurs at a time when the monsoon is supposed to increase agricultural yields.

Crop failure: Another reason behind these suicides is unsustainable output and associated farmer indebtedness, which leads to a failure to strengthen the farmer's economic situation.

What can be done to reduce farmer’s suicides?

Many actions and initiatives can be taken to alleviate the issue at hand. On the one hand, we have various government and non-governmental organizations working towards addressing the issue from the ground, we can bring several technologies and innovations to avoid the hard-working Indian farmer from taking his own precious life.

The following new data-driven, scientific approaches in the agricultural sector with significant advantages clearly have a good potential to improve the life of an Indian farmer.


  1. Satellite Driven Data: Drought and flood monitoring is essential for decision-makers to analyse the effects on the environment, economy and society. The early notice of food insecurity allowed through Satellite based observation will help them prepare a response and deploy resources on time by understanding trends and patterns will also aid in assessing climate change risks and resilience as well as defining the future outlook.


Eleaf

2. GIS-based Agriculture: Farmers can use GIS software to map present and projected changes in precipitation, temperature, crop yields, plant health and other variables. It also allows farmers to employ GPS-based treatments in addition to smart machinery to optimise fertiliser and pesticide application; because they don't have to treat the entire field but simply treat certain regions, they may save money, effort, and time.

3. Drones: Farmers may use drones to precisely identify crop biomass, plant height, weed presence and water saturation on specific field regions. In comparison to satellites, they provide better and more accurate data with higher resolution. They give vital information even faster than scouts when they are handled locally.

4. Blockchain Technology: Farmers face the challenges of fair trade, selling, promoting and confirming the authenticity of their goods once the crops and food are available. Farmers may use blockchain apps to secure the safety of their crops, avoid theft and fraud, manage the supply chain effectively and balance the food ecology.

5. Smart Irrigation: Irrigation systems have evolved into more than just water supply systems. Ground coverage has increased but these sophisticated systems may also use sensors to monitor ground moisture levels and deliver precisely the right quantity of water for maximum development. Water supply rates can even be modified individually based on the demands of individual zones. This is a significant benefit for farmers who are having difficulty supplying adequate water to all arable land owing to financial constraints.

Arable

Tule

6. Smart Soil Quality Monitoring: For years, farmers have found soil monitoring to be a time-consuming procedure. Soil sampling may now be automated thanks to new soil-monitoring technologies. Soil sample harvesting machines are GPS-guided which may be set to draw samples at precise intervals and can record data during harvests for later remembrance and analysis.

Grofit

7. Insurance: Farmers Insurance can be a solution that will be accomplished with strategy and automation by utilising modern technologies to assist speed in the delivery of products and services that today's consumers have come to demand.

CropIn

Pula

8. New MoU’s in India: Under the new initiatives, new technologies and services such as sensors to monitor livestock, drones to analyse soil and administer pesticides are sought to enhance farm output and raise farmer’s earnings through Agristack Project (Each farmer will have their own digital identity, farmers' ID, which will include personal information, information about the land they farm as well as productivity and financial).

Together with our collective efforts, we can save many lives of our farmers. We invite you to participate in this cause by promoting awareness, encouraging initiatives and nurturing innovations that make our noble farmers stand tall with their heads held high and thrive with the rest of the nation.

About Global Launch Base:

The Indian Agri-Tech industry is expected to grow exponentially to over $30 Billion by 2025. Global Launch Base specializes in bringing high tech innovation for Agri-Tech and Conservation into the Indian Market.

Our expertise includes working with high tech European Agri-Tech companies and working with the local farmers and actually managing our own farms!. We look forward to helping you navigate the vastly different but vibrant Indian Agricultural markets.


  • Agri-Tech Innovations

  • Forest/ Wildlife Conservation

  • Food Waste Reduction


9 views0 comments

Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page