The National Statistical Office recently published a report entitled “Situation Assessment Survey (SAS) of Farm Households in Rural India,” which indicates Indian farmers’ pitiful income levels.

As per data, farm households’ daily income has plummeted to around ₹277, which is similar to the minimum wage paid per day under the government’s national employment guarantee scheme.

With this low level of income from crop cultivation income, It will be extremely difficult to double farm revenue by 2022-23, as the government predicted in 2015-16. It will also be tough to convince farmers to engage further in agriculture.

Mr. Ronak Kothari, CEO, Kothari Agrico says, “Despite the fact that the government has prioritized increasing farm income through various programmes, the SAS data reveals a substantial decline in agricultural revenue in 2018-19 compared to 2012-13. To boost agricultural revenue, a variety of price and market-related initiatives are required.”

He adds further and recommends, firstly, the government must shift from a production-focused to a market-focused approach. Even in sufficiently irrigated locations, higher agricultural commodity production does not ensure increased income for farmers, according to experience.

Secondly, Farmers will not benefit from simply announcing MSPs unless procurement infrastructure is improved. The procurement level in most crops (with the exception of paddy and wheat) is low, as evidenced by SAS statistics. As a result, in order to help farmers, 20-25 per cent of the production of each specified crop must be procured.

The central government gives incentives to States through the PM-AASHA scheme for three schemes: Price Support Scheme, Price Deficiency Payment Scheme, and Private Procurement Stockiest Scheme. Mr. Kothari urges state governments to fully execute these programs for the benefit of farmers.

He continues to state that farmer-run markets in states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh benefit both farmers and consumers. As a result, as stated in the National Agricultural Policy of 2000, producers’ markets should be fostered across the country to increase farm revenue and eliminate middlemen.

“Aside from price incentives and market support, there is also a need to slash cultivation costs, which are limiting farm revenue potential.” He concludes.