- Mahak Jain
How small changes in farming practices can change the lives of marginal farmers - Ramesh Chaurasia
India has been an agriculture-based society since time eternal. We have vast areas of land perfectly suited for agriculture. India has vast river plains with different types of soils that allow a variety of crops to be grown here. Unfortunately, for a long time, a huge section of farmers in our country has been living as marginal workers. This is even when the country produces enough food for more than a billion people.
Unfortunately, since a long time, a huge section of farmers of our country have been living as marginal workers.”
— Ramesh Lakhulal Chaurasia
The future of farming lies in uncertainty.
It is observed that farming and employment in agriculture is not desirable profession for this generation. The younger generation does not want to carry on the generational profession of farming. This is due to many reasons like rapid industrialization and glamourization of life in fast-paced cities. While the people living in those cities think about peace in rural life, the people living in rural areas dream about being a part of the fast-paced technology-driven world.
Problems with supply chain management
Most of all, it is a poor supply chain that affects the yield of farmers. Even if a farmer is producing a huge yield, without a proper supply chain, the product will not be utilized or sold at the right time and in the right place. It has been studied that India wastes almost 20% of its fruits, vegetables and perishable products. This is due to improper storage conditions and irregular transportation systems. Therefore, supply chain management is essential.
Why is change needed for marginalized workers in the farming sector?
The socio-economic caste census shows data which indicates that around 56% of rural homes do not own lands and work as labourers. They are not paid well and they often live their lives in acute poverty. It is very unfortunate to know that the people who do the noblest work under the most difficult conditions are not compensated for their work and sacrifice. This needs to change, otherwise, we will lose more farmers as the next generation will also lose interest in farming. However, with a change in farming methods, technology and patterns, the shortage of land can be compensated. This can change with a new approach toward farming.
Ramesh Chaurasia, the president of the Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha is one of the leading philanthropists and community welfare workers who are actively working for the upliftment of marginalized farmers. People from the Chaurasia community have been involved in betel farming for centuries.
Mr Chaurasia has helped many people from the farming section of the Chaurasia community to get a better life. He believes that elevating the quality of products and supplying the products according to the demand are the most important factors today.
Focus on quality and not the quantity
The quantity of the yield does not matter if the quality of the yield is not good. Mediocre quality products will often be difficult to sell and will get a very low price. Highly nutritious and good quality produce sells at a higher price and is in huge demand. It is not just a matter of supply. The farmer needs to understand the quality that the market needs.
Organic farming as the future
Organic farming is mostly dependent on the farmer rather than the chemicals put in the soil to get the yield. Organic farming can be the answer for farmers who work on small lands because organic products sell at a higher price and are in demand. Organic farming requires less water, more natural fertilizer and more human care. This is proving to be a game-changer in the northeastern states. Marginalized farmers should be exposed more to organic farming practices.
How farmers are being helped today
The Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha, under the leadership of Mr Ramesh Chaurasia, organizes many events and seminars to educate farmers about various ways to improve their yield and income with modern methods of farming. Agriculture experts and botanists are invited to educate farmers about modern irrigation methods and types of farming like multi-layer farming. This is already showing results among betel farmers and a lot of marginalized farmers are now able to earn better with sustainable and modern practices of farming.