'Marginal farmers' don't get benefits out of govt schemes: Study
The study "Annual Survey of States of Marginal Farmers in India" was done by the Forum of Enterprises for Equitable Development (FEED).
A new study shows that most marginal farmers – who own less than 2.5 acres of land- face structural disparities. They are not able to access the benefits of government programmes meant for them. Moreover, their earnings from farming is lesser than non-farm activities.
The study "Annual Survey of States of Marginal Farmers in India" was done by the Forum of Enterprises for Equitable Development (FEED). The study was based on a telephonic survey that covered 6115 respondents spread across 20 states.
According to the study, around two-thirds of farmers (68.29%) households engaged in non-farm activities to supplement their income from crop cultivation. They are engaged in daily wage labour activities, especially road construction, house construction, etc.
Marginal farmers' main income sources are daily wage and non-farm, and they have stuck to their marginal holding as an asset. The average income from farms is Rs 42,107, while income from non-farm sources is Rs 62,439, and from livestock is Rs 55,511.
"The moot point is which government survey and our survey asks is why are the marginal land-holders considered as 'farmers'," says Sandeep Ghosh, who heads this study.
The study also underlined the inability of marginal farmers not to get benefits out of the government's scheme.
Marginal farmers lagged in getting benefits from agri-infrastructure such as seeds centres, credit centres, warehouses, soil testing centres, fertilizers shops and custom hiring centres.
For instance, over 82% of marginal farmers are aware of the flagship scheme PM Kisan – a scheme that provides Rs 6000 cash support to farmers, however, hardly 50% get benefits from it.
"It shows how existing disparities on the ground which government need to address," says Dr PS Brithal, Director, ICAR - National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research.
The study also highlighted the facts that marginal farmers' crop changing patterns. They prefer to cultivate potato and mustard over cereal crops such as paddy, wheat and pulses.
"There is a need to re-orientate agri-extension services and make them for marginal farmers," says VV Sadamate, former Agriculture Advisor, Government of India.