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86% of Marginal Farmers Don’t Want to Sell Off Their Land for Other Activities Says DIU Study

The Development Intelligence Unit (DIU) conducted a study in different states of India and found that 86% of the marginal farmers do not want to sell their land despite of low income/profit or natural calamities.

Vivek Singh
Source: ORFONLINE.ORG; A farmer irrigating his crops; do not want to sell his land

A study conducted by the Development Intelligence Unit (DIU) says that nearly 70% (6,000+) of marginal farmers are associated with non-farm occupations for income support, but 84% of them are not willing to sell their land.

As per the DIU study, marginal farmers are mostly associated with non-agricultural activities which include livestock management and wage labour for better income. Farmers who hold less than 2 hectares of land are holding more than 86% of all farmers in India, but they only own nearly 47% of the crop area (10th agriculture census 2015-16).

The ‘Annual Survey of State of Marginal Farmers in India’ study highlights that nearly 84% of the marginal farmers among 6000 marginal farmers do not want to sell their land or quit farming despite natural calamities and low profits to pursue any other economic activities.

According to the survey, 81.39 percent of farmers with 2 to 2.5 acres and 93.9% of those with 0 to 0.5 acres of property desire to keep farming. Contrarily, only 5.32 percent of farmers with the smallest landholdings and 14.76 percent of those with the greatest desire to scale back this activity. Only 2.77 percent of respondents intended to completely stop farming, compared to 10.99 percent who decided to lessen it over time.

68.3 percent of marginal farmers work a daily wage job (78 percent), own a small business (60 percent), operate a non-agricultural business (18 percent), care for animals (12 percent), or hold down a salaried job (12 percent) to supplement their meagre income from farming. According to the survey, marginal farmers have average landholding sizes of about 1.22 acres. A mere 56% of marginal farmers use only rain-fed crops and lack access to irrigation. The median annual sales from farming are projected to be Rs. 40,000, while around 69 percent of farmers sold their crops or byproducts for an average yearly sale of Rs. 60,510.

In the previous year, marginal farmers who worked as daily wage workers to supplement their agricultural income made an average salary of Rs. 1,00,275. The poll looked at changes in marginal farmers' economic circumstances during the previous three years. 3.7% of people stated their health had improved in the previous three years, and 2.4% said there had been a major improvement. Farmer sentiment was rated as being worse by 11.09 percent, and substantially worse by 1.93 percent than it was three years prior.

In the survey, it is also found that 79.9 percent of farmers are aware of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sammaan Nidhi (PMKISAN) Scheme, 55% of farmers know about the Kisan Credit Card (KCC), and 48.9 of farmers are aware of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).

Sandeep Ghosh who is a Senior Fellow and Director at Development Intelligence Unit says that the due to their limited income options, marginal farming households typically have debt. They may also use inputs inefficiently, necessitating a great deal of government assistance. Despite these difficulties, the 2.5 crore marginal farmers contribute significantly to rural economies and food production, which is important to the agricultural industry. For women farmers and labourers to be able to take advantage of the benefits under various programmes, it is crucial to raise awareness about the flagship programmes and provide farmer cards to them.

The Development Intelligence Unit survey says that the survey was conducted by telephone. In the survey, 6,115 respondents were covered with 43 questions on different socio-economic facets that generally relate to income, farming, and livelihood during February 2023 covering the Agriculture Year 2021-22.

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