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Crisis in Indian Agriculture: Why Farmers are Deliberately Destroying their Crops?

Indian Agriculture sector has always been sensitive and facing crises at multiple levels, which will exacerbate the food quality and security crisis, the environmental crisis and the farm crisis being faced by all of us.

Shivam Dwivedi
A Farmer in Muzaffarpur destroys his harvest of tomatoes

Indian Agriculture sector has always been sensitive and facing crises at multiple levels, which will exacerbate the food security crisis, the environmental crisis and the farm crisis being faced by all of us.  

This year again, the prices of tomato and capsicum have crashed drastically at the time of harvest, leading to massive losses for Haryana farmers. A lot of farmers have chosen to destroy the crop in the fields itself, to minimize their losses. 

As per sources, last week itself, a group of farmers in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district spoiled their harvest of tomatoes and other green vegetables to demonstrate their protest against low prices which are not even covering their total cost of production. According to the farmers, they have destroyed crops worth lakhs of rupees. 

In addition, the farmers of the Ganj Bazaar area even claimed their produce is not even getting them Rs 1 per kg. Some other green vegetables like capsicum are selling for less than Rs 2 per kilogram making it difficult for the farmers to meet their needs. Further, the cost of transportation of the crops adds to the distress of the farmers as they have to bear it with no profit whatsoever. 

Main Reason of Deliberate Destruction of Crops: 

For the second time, the prices of tomatoes and capsicum have decreased drastically leading to heavy losses for the farmers of Haryana as well. Due to which, many farmers are deliberately destroying their crops in the fields as a sign to register their protest against the incurred losses. 

Elements Involved: 

The problem of price crash has been increased further due to the COVID related lockdown in the past two years. Other reason could be, vegetable farmers have always suffered a downward spiral in prices at the time of harvest as they cannot be stored for a long time and that’s why needs to be sold before they get spoiled. The reduction in the demand for tomatoes and vegetables in Muzaffarpur is also because of cheaper take-offs by traders from other states due to restriction of movement related to the COVID-19 pandemic

Demand of Farmers: 

Horticulture farmers are also demanding Minimum Support Price (MSP) in vegetables as well. They said that the government does not pay any attention to their problems and they are struggling to fight with the situation on their own. 

The need of the hour is to ensure basic income security for the farmers, especially the small & marginal farmers. The government should acknowledge that the farmers are in a position to negotiate a better deal for their produce, either through government procurement or through sale in the open markets. 

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