As India transitions from a largely agrarian economy to a more broad-based economy comprising manufacturing and services sector, our farmers are faced with numerous challenges. In recent times, many farmers can be seen selling their land to be utilized for commercial purposes such as setting up hotels and restaurants, plants and offices, and residential real estate projects. Farmers are often lured by the greed of easy money, which they think will last a lifetime and make things easier for them.
Not many from the young generation like to do farming, which is another reason why old farmers are selling their agricultural land. Most youngsters from villages are getting attracted to the glitz and glamour of cities, which is making them migrate to these economic hubs in search of jobs and big opportunities. Other reasons for farmers selling their land include climate change, lack of proper Minimum Support Price (MSP), costly fertilizers and pesticides, and corruption in the system.
If things continue like this, a day will come where we won’t have enough to eat. There will be a major food crisis across the country, and it can lead to riots and civil war. It’s true that currently we have abundant food and we are also exporting farm produce to many countries. However, things can change dramatically if farmers continue to sell their land.
Selling agricultural land has not proved beneficial and most farmers are regretting their decision. The first few years after selling their land is quite enjoyable, as there’s cash in hand and at bank to lead a good life. However, most farmers don’t have the financial acumen to grow their money, which is why their bank balance eventually starts drying up. The interest earned from their deposits is not enough to take care of their needs. Moreover, getting another job or starting a new profession or business is also not possible for majority of farmers. When the money dries up, farmers are being forced to work as agricultural laborers. This is a serious problem in the country that needs to be addressed in an urgent manner.
Our sincere appeal to all farmers is that they should not sell their agricultural land for the greed of making quick money. With land, farmers can at least take care of their basic needs such as food. But if the land is gone, they would have no source of livelihood. The young generation in villages should also be made aware that money derived from selling agricultural land may not last forever. Hopefully, it would motivate them to work in the farming sector and let go of their delusions about living a grand life.
The government will also have to play an active role to prevent the sale of agricultural land. Government should remove corruption from the system, so that farmers can get the right price for their produce. Government should also ensure that farmers have access to fertilizers, pesticides and crop insurance at affordable rates. We appeal to the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare that practical and sustainable steps are taken, so that farmers don’t have to sell their land. Social welfare organizations and NGOs can also contribute at the village level by spreading awareness about the adverse consequences of selling agricultural land.