The farm loan waiver in my opinion may not solve the problems of ‘real farmer’s. Farm loans are NOT given to normal farmers who are dependent on farming for livelihood. Influential and well connected and well informed farmers only get these loans. So, a very small percentage of farmers will get some relief from loan waiver. Such waivers are very unfavorably viewed by bankers and they quote this as reason for not giving loans to REAL and NEEDY farmers. Also, in my opinon, following are the key points that farmers and farmer’s interest groups should insist the Governments to act upon. Many farmers whom I meet also share the same views.
- Government should implement good ‘Watershed Projects’ that will REALLY benefit. The result oriented and skillfully implemented projects will improve the quantity and quality of the ground water which is a serious concern of not only farmers but of everyone. The politician controlled contractors who execute such projects do not aim on making the project work, but on hasty completion. So, some projects have benefited and some have not.
- All ground water bodies must be revived by desilting and by regular maintenance.
- We must insist Governments to construct as many check dams as possible en route of all rivers. Irresponsible sand mining in rivers and riverbeds MUST be banned. Such mining has serious repercussions and irreversible damage.
- Governments MUST allow farmers / farmer groups fix the price of their produce. Minimum support price should be mandatory for all farm produce. Government should compensate farmers for sale of produce below production cost. Production cost should be evaluated by a joint team of agricultural colleges and farmers.
- Farm inputs, especially fertilizers should be made available at fixed prices. New products in the markets should be evaluated and approved by reputed institutes in order to save farmers from being cheated.
- None of the Agriculture department officials actually interact with REAL farmers. This scenario must change. All the schemes and other benefits including crop insurance is available only to well informed farmers and not ‘common’ farmers. This scenario must change.
- Government MUST consult with ground level farmers to introduce schemes for welfare of farmers and NOT consult agriculture scientists and executives.