Mahatma Gandhi said that “the world holds enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed.” Being a citrus fruit farmer from Abohar in Punjab I can tell you how right he was. The same citrus that I sell on my farm at ₹16 per kg. Sells for ₹50 at Khan market in New Delhi or on the sidewalk of Napean Sea Road in Mumbai after two days. Now that is what one would call a killing,” says Mr Ajay Jakhar, Chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj, New Delhi. Over 50 per cent of Punjab’s citrus cultivated in 55,000 acres grows within 30 km of the villages.
There is nothing black and white, every policy and decision is grey, some with deeper hues of black or white. Policies represent trade-offs between benefits to one and losses to others.
It is perfectly fair for the government to consider the plight of small and medium enterprises and small kirana store owners vis-à-vis FDI but what about the farmer?
As the farmer becomes irrelevant in the political sphere and the urban electorate gains prominence, the government takes sides to retain power.
Farmer organisations can play a positive role only if they serve the farming communities interests, irrespective of political affiliations and vested ideologies.
Dynamism at the policy level is needed for transformative change to happen; not good intentions. “…it is what you do that defines you”, as was said in a Batman movie.
What is often forgotten is that many a time, it is the ‘secondary’ livestock business that has helped a financially troubled farmer to keep his head above water.
The footsteps of the farmer have been replaced by chemical sprays and injections. Green, farm-yard manure and bio-fertilisers have become alien to our farmlands.
Farmers’ Forum has been created a platform to disseminate knowledge and to deliberate, discuss and determine to drive an inclusive agricultural strategy for India.