Trends Involved in Farming Practices Across Haryana: An Ethnographic Case Reflection From Four Villages
36 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2019
Date Written: June 17, 2019
In recent years, an exponential rise seen in accounts of farmer suicides; declining farmers’ incomes, and a gradual decline in agricultural productivity across states have been extensively highlighted in discussions around India's contemporary development scenario, making it essential to understand both, the activity of farming itself, and the extent to which farmers --- especially in certain rural spaces --- struggle in making farming a more profitable enterprise for themselves and others.
In this context, this report- involving four months of on-field ethnographic engagement in form of detailed oral interviews and conversations with 36 farmers from 4 randomly identified villages (Bidhnauli, Rathdhana, Aterna and Sersa) across Haryana- makes an attempt to understand how factors as: the educative profile of a farmer; average size of land acreage (i.e. land under cultivation); farmer's household working group composition (i.e. family-owned farming unit vs. independent farmer), affect (or shape) the farming activity in these areas.
Developing an in-depth understanding of how these factors- in addition to economics of costs involved in farming and the efficacy of social protection measures available through schemes of crop insurance --- play a critical role in the entrepreneurial nature of farming, broadly qualified as the key objectives to our research investigation. The findings further discuss the role and impact of current crop protection and insurance mechanisms- supported by the Pradhan Mantri Bima Yojana- in these identified villages, discussing limitations faced by farmers in claiming state-provided benefits.
Additionally, based on detailed interviews and conversations with each responding farmer, our observations help in understanding how aspects such as: an inter-generational transfer of knowledge about the process of farming (from one family member to another- in case of family owned farming enterprises), and existing knowledge-peer network among farmers at an intra/inter-village level (for most independent farmers), play substantive roles in both, influencing and shaping farmers decision on crop cultivation patterns at different stages.
Wheat, Rice and Onions are the three crops identified as a focal-basket for our study, owing to the geographical cropping pattern seen within the state of Haryana (as part of North India), where, wheat and rice remain (in rotation) the more ‘popularly’ sown crops and enjoy relatively higher market demand and price-based incentives (offered via government’s Minimum Support Price). The selection of Onion --- as the third crop selection-was based from observations made on farmer’s choice to cultivate more onions in recent years as part of increased 'experimentation' in cropping patterns.
Keywords: Indian Economy, Agriculture, Farmers, Ethnography, Haryana
JEL Classification: J43, J00, J01, J18, O00, O13
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