70% of India’s people depend directly or indirectly on agriculture, and yet farmer suicides make up 11.2% of all suicides in India. The reasons are many, but what remains unchanged across the years is that no government has done enough for them.
It is a bleak picture indeed. Farmer suicides have been a thing in this country even before it came into existence. For example, the British not only put high tax rates on the farmers, but also allowed the money lenders, landowners and usurers to exploit them. The Green Revolution did somewhat to abate the situation for a few decades maybe, but the rise in population and corruption, and the divergence of the youth towards less taxing and more profitable urban jobs did nothing for the farmers.
While the effect of introducing GM crops is debatable, droughts, free-market economic policies and trauma also contribute to the problem. Because most of the government policies focus on looking into credit and loan rather than the core issues of income, productivity and farmer well-being in general, they remain ineffective. This issue has dented the public image of every enigmatic Prime Minister and optimistic Chief Minister.
Because this can’t go on and because it is pointless really at this juncture to expect the government to come to the rescue, many private individuals are taking up matters in their own hands. Here are some ways in which crowdfunding has been brought in use to help farmers:
- Manure: Manure can go a long way in dealing with the menace of chemical fertilizers. It also provides many with employment, especially women. The crowdfunding websites have ensured not only proper production, management and distribution of the manure, but the money from the sold manure has been used to buy a large number of mandatory farming tools like scythes.
- Workshop: Only 185 of the 98 million Indian farmers have access to modern farm tools. There is no point investing in high-end farm tech without having the proper knowledge how to use them. This is a common problem in India- we are often not prepared for the good things. Crowdfunding for conducting workshops in India is a good way to go about it because this demands serious thinking into the logistics- bringing in farmers, instructors, technicians and demo machines, etc.
- Forming a tools store: Crowdfunding can be used to implement farm tools in a number of ways. The funds can be used to buy tools (best done by a non-profit or a collective) which can then be lent out to the needy farmers on a small subscription basis till they are capable of buying their own tools.
In addition, the crowdfunding platforms in India can also be used for individual cases, as in helping those farmers in dire need. Though this is slightly more complicated simply because those having the proper know-how of conducting crowdfunding campaigns (English and technology proficient city dwellers) are seldom in touch with farmers in crisis. Nevertheless, those in touch with rural happenings or insiders trained in crowdfunding can use the help of crowdfunding websites in India.