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.