“Sina chir dharati ka, kuch dane ugaye the,
Fasal layegi khushhali, kuch sapane sajaye the!”
The government has set a target for doubling the farmers’ income by the year 2022 and constituted a DFI committee. But the main question is why double farmers’ income? Past strategy for the development of the agriculture sector in India has focused primarily on raising agriculture output and improving food security. This strategy involved:
During the last half-century (1965 to 2015), since the adoption of the green revolution, India’s food production multiplied 3.7 times while population multiplied by 2.55 times. This made India not only food self-sufficient at an aggregate level, but also a net food exporting country. Doubling real income of farmers till 2022–23 over the base year 2015–16 requires annual growth of 10.41% in farmers’ income. This implies that the ongoing and previously achieved rate of growth in farm income has to be sharply accelerated. Hence, strong measures will be needed to harness all possible sources of growth in farmers’ income within as well as outside the agricultural sector. The major sources of growth operating within the agriculture sector are:
The sources outside agriculture include:
If we talk about an increase in agricultural productivity, there are two sources to increase agriculture output viz. area and productivity. Due to the rising demand for land for non-agriculture uses and an already high share of arable land in the total geographical area of the country, further expansion in area under cultivation is not feasible. Therefore, agricultural output has to be increased through improvement in productivity per unit of land.
Secondly, the improvement in Total Factor Productivity (TFP) is a vital source of output growth, directly contributing to cost-saving and thus increasing the income. TFP is the portion of output not explained by the number of inputs used in the production. Thirdly, diversification towards high-value crops (HVCs) offers great scope to improve farmers’ income. The staple crops (cereals, pulses, oilseeds) occupy 77% of the total or gross cropped area (GCA) but contribute to only 41% of the total output of the crop sector. Interestingly, the almost same value was contributed by HVCs (fruits, vegetables, fibre, etc.), which occupy just 19% of the gross cropped area. So the crops’ bifurcation is most vital to increase a farmers’ income and productivity.
Fourthly, an increase in crop productivity is significant because India has two main crop growing seasons, namely Kharif and Rabi, which make it possible to cultivate two crops per year on the same piece of land. Land use statistics show that the second crop is taken only on 38.9% of the net sown area. This implies that more than 60% of agriculture land in the country remains unused for half of the productive period. So an increase in crop intensity will benefit farmers’ and also enhance their income.
Shifting Cultivators To Non-Farm And Subsidiary Activities
The government has also prepared developmental and technological initiatives, and policies to double the farmers’ income by 2022–23. Some of the recent developmental initiatives of the central government to raise output and reduce cost include: Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, Soil Health Card, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, and another major initiative that provides insurance against crop and income loss, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, and PM-Kisan Yojana (interim budget2019), E-Nam etc. Some states are also running direct cash transfer schemes, for instance, Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana in Madhya Pradesh, Rythu Bandhu scheme in Telangana, scheme of Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation in Odisha.
Policies affect production, price realization and farmers’ income in a number of ways. The union government prepared ‘The model APMC Act called the State Agricultural Marketing Act, 2003, and shared with all the states for implementation. Lastly, if any state government imbibes this act and tries better a implementation, it will help achieve the farmers’ double income goal.