It’s a wake up call.
You may be eating Italian pasta or sipping Peruvian coffee or Hyderabadi Dum Biryani or much simple fruit salad. Whatever you may eat to live, everything had originated from the roots once deepened into the soils in search of life. That was organized and done as agriculture for our existence. Many of has a little awareness or concern about what happens in agriculture. This is a mild eye opener. Somewhere some farmer decides to quit agriculture when you are reading this now and move on to live in a small town or any urban habitat.
Naveen’s p h o t o g r a p h y
This happening is well justified by many factors.
>> A small farmer’s children got a good job and earning well so he need not to do agriculture anymore. The economy of their family got developed.
>> Only rich landlords can afford the expenses of agriculture and small farmers are unable to tackle the increase in the prices of basic commodities of living and agriculture.
>> In many cases farming / agriculture is still wrongly viewed as an uneducated man’s job and for them the paid employment is a prestigious occupation and a valid reason to quit agriculture as the generation practicing ages.
>> Apart from all these reasons one of the major factors is the environmental issues and depletion of resources. This includes both human induced-natural and purely human created environmental problems. We can list water scarcity, soil depletion, global warming, pollution, etc. here.
The point here is not to discuss how to solve the problems faced by agriculture. The question is Will agriculture itself may survive for the next generation as an occupation or it will be remembered as “a human way if cultivating crops in the history books”?
The alarming rate of conversion of agricultural lands to real estates is a major threat. Like reserved forest areas no government has strictly regulated fate of agricultural lands. Because most of the agriculture has been done on Private lands belongs to the farmers, where big landlords retain their property they amassed while the small farmers are easy targets. The small farmers are large in number and hardly have any savings to count on, if nature or river water fails them once. More than two times if they fail to get return on investment they are forced to quit their occupation. The ultimate bail out comes to them is by selling off their little lands. Even if they manage to stay back there lies only a tough and painful recovery ahead. Whatever the crops they reap in one season, the rate they get on sales in not sufficient enough to bail them out of debts.
Even small farmers without any loans also just do their occupation as an act of survival. The earnings would not suffice their emergency needs, children’s education, a normal lifestyle and a little saving for the future.
All these make it very difficult to carry on an occupation like agriculture. Practically speaking, if you were from an agricultural or agriculture depended family backdrop, you can feel the intense on these words.
On news or in school or in many documentaries you might have seen agriculture is still the world’s largest occupation. More than the number of engineers or doctors or a software professional, farmers were more in number. But the rate is taking the reverse gear now. The lack of interest in agriculture is fuelled by the attraction towards urban lifestyle. Very few countries worries about their farm lands and are propelling their industrial growth and looking that as the way to improvise their economy.
Of course here and there campaigns, financial support for agriculture / farmers are happening. Even the Indian government has launched a call centre to support farmers over the phone. But if we look at the bigger picture and see it over all the shrinking of agriculture has to be the bitter truth. We cannot conceal it for our satisfaction and tap ourselves everything is fine.
We are putting our entire future generations on a risk of starvation by reducing the farm lands. Japan has no land so they do agriculture on ships, what is the reason for countries like India? We have vast land to put us in the seventh place.
There are connecting links between the food we eat in cities, the farmers working on soils, the shrinking agricultural lands, the government policies towards protecting agricultural lands, increasing suburban real estates, our imaginary glamour on urban life and Air conditioned occupation and our individual social responsibilities.
There is a single common line connecting all these facts. FOOD
We can’t survive by eating artificial and synthetic amino compounds like in sci-fi movies. If we do that stage we would have killed all other species on the earth. Food comes from agriculture. That’s our life line. Hope we can save agriculture.
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Words by Din
Image Courtesy : Naveen Gowtham