This booklet, “Where Have All the Small Farmers Gone?” is the first in the series, and it traces the broad history of the rich agriculture system in India which was ruined by the British colonial policies. We hope that these educational materials will help initiate conscious dialogue and interaction with and amount small farmers, helping them realize their strengths, retrieve their sense of dignity, and overcome the obstacles through their own initiatives, by enabling them to take decisions regarding agriculture.
Focus on the Global South
Since 1995, more than 290,000 farmers have committed suicide and around 2,358 farmers are quitting agriculture daily. With the average monthly income of farm households (Rs 2,115) now lower than their average monthly expenditures (Rs 2,700), it is not surprising that the food producers or annadatas who feed our entire nation are dying of hunger and malnutrition.
The neoliberal policy push for the input-intensive, export-led, industrial agricultural model has polluted the very foundations of our agriculture – soil, water and climate – causing serious damage to seed and agro biodiversity, and making farming unsustainable and unremunerative for millions of India’s small and marginal farmers.
Small and marginal farms, however, are still crucial for India’s food security and sustainable agricultural growth. They account for about 85% of the operational land holdings, or 44% of the total cultivated area in the country. The future of agriculture in India depends on the performance of small farmers, but they are the victims of neoliberal policies being pushed through the promotion of export-led industrial agriculture, or the second “green revolution”.
Visit the Focus on the Global South page to learn about the plight of independent farmers worldwide.