This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Pragya Uike. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why Should Farmers Bear The Burden Of The Climate Mess We Created?

More from Pragya Uike

WhyOnEarth logo mobEditor’s Note: Are you bothered by the drastic changes in our climate, causing extreme weather events and calamities such as the Kerala Floods? #WhyOnEarth aims to take the truth to the people with stories, experiences, opinions and revelations about the climate change reality that you should know, and act on. Have a story to share? Click here and publish.

We, the so-called “human beings”, are exactly how Hobbes described people in ‘The State of Nature’; solitary, poor, nasty, and brutish because we know nothing, but how to achieve our personal gains, either by hook or crook! We have already created a lot of disorder on this beautiful planet, and are on the verge of causing its breakdown! From the lithosphere to the ozone layer and even to space, we have managed to showcase and extend our destruction. But, you know what the worst part is? Those who contribute the least to climate change suffer the most! Some of those innocent victims are farmers.

A piece of land located in a village called Salhetola (Distt. Kanker, Chhattisgarh). Image by Pragya Uike

Can you see this empty tract of land? This land is located in a village called Salhetola (Distt. Kanker, Chhattisgarh). A Kharif Crop, rice was sown and harvested here. The above picture was clicked on November 3rd, 2019. By now, it should be witnessing farmers working on packaging and transporting activities, but this is not so. Do you know why? Because of the untimely rains as a result of climate change!

My interaction with a farmer, Todar Mal Sahu was a revelation for me. He told me a lot of things. They are bearing extra costs and efforts just to dry the harvested crops, which were destroyed by untimely rains. If you are wondering why they do not store their crops somewhere, then let me make it clear, that for a distance as close as 4-5 kms, (where the cold storage is located), they have to pay a hefty amount of Rs. 2000. Many of us buy a t-shirt for this amount, but for many of them, it is like their monthly budget! So, instead of taking it to cold storage, they choose to rely on their fate, which entirely depends upon the climate.

He also told me that since they are small farmers, and not like big corporations, they want to earn their income by fair means. Hence, they don’t want to use insecticides or pesticides, but their circumstances force them to do so! They try to use it as minimally as possible, in the pre-harvesting phase. But the problem goes out of hand if it rains untimely after harvest; their crops then become prone to various insects and pests which flourish in the rain; like ‘Maho’, ‘Tana Chhed’ (तना छेद) as they are locally called. The most dangerous Maho is the brown one, i.e. “Bhura Maho”.

This becomes more problematic when the majority of farmers use seeds provided by the government; these are often found to be of sub-standard quality as compared to the seeds sold by private enterprises. Hence, they already lag behind in terms of quality, and these pests cause further deterioration. Bt Crops are also not affordable to a majority of them.

When I asked about his views on a loan waiver scheme, supplemented by an increase in Minimum Support Price to Rs. 2500, he said that a majority of farmers are happy, and feel relieved. But the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Shri Bhupesh Baghel said that it was a one-time thing. Their happiness seems short-lived, and unless a concrete solution is chalked out, it is highly likely they will fall into the vicious cycle again.

The plight of lease farmers is worse, as they have to give a fixed amount of produce to the owners. If the produce is sufficient, they keep the surplus. If the produce is exactly equal to terms of the lease, they are left with nothing. If the produce fails even to reach the mark, they become indebted. But what affects productivity the most? Dear friends, it is none other than climate change! Either by way of untimely rains or by fluctuating temperature or decreasing water levels etc.

Apart from debt I asked him, what about the other major problems. He spontaneously said – ‘Paani ki Samasya’ (Water problems). The schemes by the government, like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana etc. have failed to meet the demands of farmers. Rich farmers manage to get irrigation facilities, but what about the majority, i.e. poor farmers?

The cost of borewell drilling is Rs. 60-70 per feet. In addition to the pipe, which is then fitted, costs go up to Rs. 250-300 per feet. And you know what makes it worse? ! In some places, it may take 400-500 ft. or even more, to reach the water level. Thanks to us; we have depleted the water levels severely. Now, just take a minute to calculate the cost! The quantum would reach in lakhs!

Chaff destroyed by untimely rains.

Now, take a look at this chaff, destroyed by untimely rains, because it could not be stored. This would’ve been food for cattle! We deprived them of their food as well! That, in turn, affects the income of farmers.

Not only that, but this untimely rain also affects women. In most places in India, especially this region, the process of sowing and harvesting is done exclusively by women. Approximately 20 women are employed by the contractor to sow land of 2 acres.

The contractor is paid RS. 4000 per acre, and he, in turn, distributes the wages to the women. For harvesting, each woman is paid Rs. 120 on a daily basis, directly. Now, just think, if the final proceedings of one round of their crop are getting delayed by untimely rains, how can they even think of sowing another round of crops? Women are affected badly by this! It is a direct attack on their empowerment! All thanks to us!

We also need to stop making them the scapegoats of our blame game. Even today, when there are various other evident reasons, like vehicular emissions, firecrackers, etc. we are solely blaming farmers for Delhi’s air pollution. They are always the object of politics but are never the subject of politics! They feed everyone but are themselves hungry; their voices never reach the ears of policymakers. How long will this continue to happen?

This was just an example; an example of just one or two aspects of climate change; there are thousands more! Just think about the gravity of the situation. We should feel ashamed that our burden is being shifted to innocent people – the producers, manufacturers, transporters, market men, cattle, women, their children, their old parents etc. And if you are still selfish, then keep in mind, that it is adversely affecting you too! None of us will be spared by the wrath of climate change; it is better, in fact, high time, we develop compassion towards our environment.

Featured Image Source:

You must be to comment.

More from Pragya Uike

Similar Posts

By Puja Bhattacharjee

By Faustina Johnson

By Tauqueer Ali Sabri

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below