As part of my “Know Our Farmer Series”, spoke to another farmer in Sharajpet, 6 kms from Aler in Nalagonda district.
He is primarily a cotton farmer and has 9 acres of land. Below is a gist of my conversation
- Grows cotton in 4-5 acres of land every year
- Has been relying on BT Cotton seeds for the past 5-6 years
- Spends 800 rupees to buy one packet of BT Cotton seeds, which is the subsidized rate
- Need to procure the seeds well in advance, because one they are out of stock, they are available in black market for almost 1200 rupees
- On an average, he spends 4000 – 4800 rupees for the seeds for the 4-5 acres of land
- Lack of rain or untimely rain has meant he hasn’t had a good year at all. This has been the story for the past 4-5 years
- Even when he is able to grow cotton, the market price is not guaranteed forcing him to sell it at a very low price
Surprisingly enough, this farmer wasn’t frustrated with my lack of knowledge nor with my questions, some of which were silly at times.
He however is willing to listen to suggestions or inputs that will help better his situation.
He has two kids, one daughter who is currently in 7th standard and a son in the 10th standard. When I asked him whether he would want his children to take up farming, he said, without any hesitation, they cannot survive on farming and he wants them to become something else which is why he wants them to study.
Whatever small sampling I’ve done so far, the message is consistent
- Farmers don’t want their kids to take up farming
- The price of the cotton is not guaranteed in the market
- Heavy dependency on rain fed irrigation resulting in losses due to the unpredictability of rain
- Rise in expenditure
- No proper support system or forums to share the knowledge and/or experience forcing them to operate in isolation
- BT Cotton hasn’t really helped with increasing their yield or throughput
I’ve reached out to a few individuals working in the area of farming and agriculture to solicit help for this farmer.