Rural and Urban Considerations for Farmers’ Unions in India
India has seen several protests by farmers and their unions in recent years. However, recent changes to the Urban-Rural paradigm have seen more considerations being made in favour of urban residents of the country, such as being able to get the necessary support from the government to address price of production issues that are not adjusted against inflation, and do not result in further subsidies to help the farmers manage drops in their earnings. With a sense of reciprocity, it was interesting to see the extent to which many in Mumbai city even supported the agitation of farmers in the state of Maharashtra that took place a few months ago.
Some farmers have indirectly blamed the apparent divide between urban and rural India, and the middlemen who occupy this space, as being the primary reason that farmers are poorly compensated for their agricultural production, while urban consumers pay a high price that does not trickle down to the farmers. As this gap has grown, the desperation on the side of the farmers, many indebted to local moneylenders for financial assistance to see their toils result in a good harvest, have resorted to burning vehicles and blocking rail road tracks as an absolute last measure. They feel they have no recourse left when it comes to letting people in India’s cities know about their plight in the villages, something that has been deteriorating in some way or the other for a long time now.
There are mixed emotions amongst India’s farmers, to be sure. However, the fact of the matter is, agricultural production is feeling the pressure of several innovations and aspects of these innovations that do not translate into direct gains in livelihood for the farmers, and this is a serious cause of concern for all.