I am reading a chapter on Agriculture from How Asia Works. There seems to be a pattern in the failure and apathy towards farmers.
- Land ownership is uneven. Most farmers are tenants, not owners.
- Lack of government’s loan and subsidy forcing farmers to private lenders, who charge a higher interest. Failure of repayment results in dire consequences.
- Fertilizers and seeds are bought at an inflated price as there is no state control.
- Dependence on rainwater as irrigation facilities is missing.
- Lack of education about cash crops which could help in making a better life and getting more income.
- Missing industrialization in post-production.
- Farmers don’t decide the selling price of the yield but buyers.
- Newer generation migrating the urban lifestyle for a better life.
Another documentary I was watching talks about how this has resulted in the rise of local armed militias as unemployed youth needs food. Some have forced into drug consumption or in the cultivation of narcotics.
China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have done better than the rest. They have provided loans, subsidy, and proper land reforms. In some cases, they bough yield at higher prices from farmers to have them a better life.
The book talks about 1950, second world post-wartime reforms. Reading it made me think more about India. I feel all the above problems persist and what is forcing farmers to give up cultivation. We have come a long way from the past but have barely scratched the surface.