Agriculture plays a key role in shaping India’s economy not only by sustaining the livelihood of millions of households, but also by contributing a substantial share in the country’s GDP. However in recent years the share of agriculture and its allied sectors in the growth pie has been declining gradually and this has been causing some concerns. There is also much talk of a systemic crisis in the agrarian sector reflected largely by the disturbing trend of farmer’s suicide in various parts of the country due to increasing debt and crop failures. Low remunerative prices for their produce and land acquisition have also been big concerns for farmers. Even as there is a renewed focus on farmers and their concerns among policymakers and the media, except for a few surveys, case studies and sound bites, we still do not know how a large mass of farmers are living, what their conditions are, and what they are thinking about issues related to them and their sector. In order to address this lacuna, Lokniti-CSDS conducted a comprehensive nationwide study among farmer’s households spread across the country in 2013-2014.
The study is based on a primary survey across 18 states of India conducted between December 2013 and January 2014. The survey was conducted in 274 villages spread over 137 district of the country. A total of 8220 randomly selected electors were approached for household interviews of which 5350 interviews were successfully completed. Interviews were conducted in only those households that were engaged in farming/dependent on agriculture.
The main objectives of the study were to...
· Assess the condition of farmers and farmer households
· Find out the level of indebtedness of farmer households
· Look at the reasons for agrarian distress and farmer suicides
· Assess the effectiveness of government policies for farmers
· Look at the farming practices and preferences among farmers
· Find out farmer concerns and whether they differ from state to state
· Find out the political preferences and choices of farmers
· Gauge the level of awareness and acceptance of new farming techniques and crops
· Find out the attitudes and opinions of farmers on key issues related to farming
· Generate indicators on the status of farmers and farming in order to facilitate policy