A farmer from Maharashtra had narrated a story about how he spent Rs 80,000 in growing over 1 tonne of onions and yet after he sold it, he could earn only 1 Rs for 1 tonne of onions. It pretty much explains why farmers commit suicide. Forget profits, how will a farmer survive with such earning where he cannot even get back the money he spent to grow onions.
What exactly happened
“On May 10, I sent 952 kg of onions in 18 gunny bags through a truck to the Pune-based Agriculture Produce Market Committee and received Rs 16 per 10 kg. So, per one kg, it works to one rupee and sixty paise,” Parbhane said to Indian Express reporter. He further added, “The total onion was sold for Rs 1,523.2. Out of the earnings, the middlemen took away Rs 91.35 as commission, labour charges were Rs 59 and Rs 18.55, and Rs 33.30 was paid against miscellaneous charges. Rs 1,320 was paid to the truck driver, who transported the produce to APMC.” He claimed that after all the deductions, he is taking home only Re 1.
Devidas Parbhane, the farmer who narrated the story says the fall in onion prices despite getting a bumper crop was very unfortunate. He was expecting to earn about Rs. 3 per kg. A delegation of onion traders and APMC members from Lasalgaon in Nashik has met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis seeking his intervention.
So why do farmers commit suicide?
Some states in India in many ways matches the productivity in farming of China and U.S and Germany. Indian farmers of some states like Punjab for examples has more tractors per hectare than many of the countries in the world however Punjab has become a graveyard for the farmers. According to one statistic, suicides of farmers in India over the past 20 years have touched 3.2 lakh farmers i.e 42 suicides per day.
1. The western countries subsidize their farmers so much, to put in perspective, U.S has signed a bill that would allocate 962 billion dollars of subsidy for their farmers over the next decade. While the subsidy offered to farmers of India barely touches the standards of the western countries like the United States.
2. Procurement prices of crops by the government has increased 19 fold from prices in the 1970’s, however, the salaries of teachers, government officials and many other categories of employees have increased many hundred fold times. It puts into perspective the lack of priority government has for farmers.
The Logical Indian pleads to the government to increase the procurement prices of crops and ensure our farmers are protected by making them earning more.