Risks, Farmers’ Suicides and Agrarian Crisis in India - Is There A Way Out?

Srijit Mishra
JEL codes: 
Poor returns to cultivation and absence of non-farm opportunities are indicative of the larger socio-economic malaise in rural India. This is accentuated by the multiple risks that the farmer faces yield, price, input, technology and credit among others. The increasing incidence of farmers suicides is symptomatic of a larger crisis, which is much more widespread. Risk mitigation strategies should go beyond credit. Long term strategies requires more stable income from agriculture, and more importantly, from non-farm sources. Private credit and input markets need to be regulated. A challenge for the technological and financial gurus is to provide innovative products that reduce costs while increasing returns. The institutional vacuum of organising farmers needs to be addressed through a federation of self-help groups (SHGs) or alternative structures.