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Flight of Indian Farmers
16SEP
‘My son is unwilling to come to even deliver my lunch to the field’
‘Getting labour to assi...
Expensive labour jostles with even more expensive input prices. Inflation has pushed up the
price of pesticides, fertilize...
Change is here. With every change comes a wave of opportunity and a wave of redundancy.
The trick is to assess, if your of...
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2016 Trafigura Interim Report
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Flight of Indian Farmers

  1. 1. Flight of Indian Farmers 16SEP ‘My son is unwilling to come to even deliver my lunch to the field’ ‘Getting labour to assist in the farms is a challenge, now we have to beg them instead of they begging us’ Black marketing and sale of spurious goods continues unabated. There is no method for us to ensure that we are actually getting the right products. There is no guarantee, that we shall get the right price. After all the uncertainty of what to grow and how to sow, we sometimes get a bonus price and sometimes get hardly any return. _____________________ Indian Agriculture is on the crux of change. Farmers are investing in their children’s education to ensure that they don’t become farmers. Jobs of any form are symbolic of surety, security and comfort that an increasing aware and prosperous Indian farmer is seeking. Farming is unpredictable, tough and lacks a guarantee of assured returns. Worse, even if a farmer, innovates and creates a solution that secures his future, the elusive devil called respect and class skip him. He remains – the aam admi, the bechara kissan. Exhausted, tired and ambitious. The Farming community has decided. They are fleeing. Determined to be the last generation of farmers, an exodus to greener pastures is on. India is changing, the quintessential cliché is undeniably true. Travelling through the villages around Pune, Aurangabad, Nasik, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and even Bihar the impact of the cliché is overwhelmingly massive Here is the irony. Since 2007, farmers are richer than before. Food inflation, better awareness, connectivity to the mandis thanks to telecom and the increasing land prices, has increased the income and overall wealth available to a farmer. At the same time, market fluctuations, spurious products, lack of respect, belief that someone else is reaping the fruits of his work, combined with a surprising shortage of labour is making the smaller farmer exhausted and frustrated. With money and wealth, he is unable to get comfort and security. He no longer wants to work the fields, yet there is no one but him who will. He is ready to opt out and try something else. The yin-yang forces, are working at both at a tangible and an emotive level. The Government had launched the National Rural Employment Guarantee Program, ensuring employment to landless labourers in rural India. State governments also awarded sops of rice at Rs 2/kg and land allocations to the landless. Execution of the program, meant guaranteed employment, AND cheap food RESULTING IN FLIPPING the desperation levels amongst labour. Suddenly, a farmer had to scout to get capable labour, at the right price, at the right time.
  2. 2. Expensive labour jostles with even more expensive input prices. Inflation has pushed up the price of pesticides, fertilizers and seeds. Black marketing and spurious suppliers have increased the availability but reduced the quality. A trust deficit arises, as multiple players makes multitude suggestions and the farmers are clueless regarding whose advice to follow. Follow the peers tends to win and each district apes the others actions. Often the results are not the best. After investing in high quality seeds the crops don’t always bear the best results further deepening the sense of frustration and helplessness. Juggad solutions for the above are still available. The largest angst surfaces at the time of sale. A crop is often not seen as a business product for a farmer, but more like a child that is reared. Having watched it grow, there is a connection. Post harvesting, the crop is taken to the mandi where the conditions reinstate the feeling of low self worth. There are no real stalls, the crops are dumped in heaps on slushy grounds, the closest bathroom is far away and this rich farmer and his field feels worthless. Respect and Recognition are lacking. At no point in the entire cycle of farming is anyone patting him on the back and rewarding for a job well done. To take advantage of fluctuating prices there are 2 infrastructural changes needed. One is the ability to store the goods, allowing you to sell when the prices rise and the other is the ability to ship the goods to states where the price is favorable. Sadly, infrastructure for storage remains limited and shipping goods expense as integration between vendors is yet to happen. Some have cracked this challenge. Take for example a farmer in Bihar, sitting in his onion godwon he smirked and said that he now earned Rs 20, lakhs per annum. He bought over all the onions in the area and sold in the South. This prosperity was new to him, 4 years ago the situation was different. By obtaining the support and financial backing of his uncle, he began foraying into business and changed his model for doing all the farming himself, to renting out the land to the farmers and using the capital for purchasing, storing and supplying by studying market trends. He is a winner. The list of actions and reactions is long, the ultimate outcome is simple. Landed farmers are planning to lease of the land to landless labourers and get themselves regular employment. An entire generation is being consciously left untrained from the world of farming, being groomed instead for a city life. Cultivation is being undertaken by landless farmers, who lease land from these farmers. Given the land laws of the nation, the lease remains a verbal transaction and the lesee is never sure if he shall get the same land next year. Outcome, the ability to invest and experiment is limited. The situation is not all bleak. Money and awareness is changing the mindset of shifting it from a lifestyle to a business. City dwellers are returning, an exceptionally few sons are returning from universities to alter the manner and practices used. Mechanization is making its presence felt, and access to farmers changing the awareness levels they have.
  3. 3. Change is here. With every change comes a wave of opportunity and a wave of redundancy. The trick is to assess, if your offering is aligned to grasp the altering mindset of the masses that have already become new beings. Think about it.  

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