Climate Change, being one of the major concerns in the modern world of environmental crisis is severely affecting the agriculture in India. Farmers, who make a substantial proportion of the masses, are the victims of such unpredictable climatic changes and its impacts. With more number of small and marginal farmers India stands as not sufficiently equipped to cope with such problems.
There are certainly some essential problems that every farmer in the country is facing today due to climate change, for example, substantial fall in the overall crop production consequently contributing to the global food crisis and also flaws in national economy. But there are certain key traits which are exclusive to the small and marginal farmers only:
In case of droughts/floods/shortage in crop production small and marginal farmers are left with limited options. But as they say, life has to go on. For this reason only mortgage/selling of lands and assets are chosen by these people as a hopeful option of survival through this crisis. But when these kinds of disruptions continue to occur they are pushed into the ocean of debt to large farmers leaving them helpless and optionless.
The one noteworthy key feature of this debt problem is that it seems to be like a trap of vicious circle. Once a small scale farmer puts his feet into this there is no way he can escape the inevitable of being ruined. The big land owners or the businessman often take the entire fruits of hard work as a compensation of their previous indebtedness. This leaves the farmers with nothing at all in hand even if the production of that particular year is moderately okay.
This debt-trap eventually then leads to certain bigger and more complex problems:
Shift to Cash Crops leading to Lack of Food Security
With cash-crops having the advantage of being commercial in nature, less dependent on nature they become one of the hopeful choices for the farmers falling prey to the vicious cycle of debt-trap. But this “hopeful” choice leads to the lack of food security which is again not only an individual problem of that particular farmer but also a global crisis on a larger picturesque.
Migration to the Cities
While some of the farmers succumb to the climatic and socio-political disruptions some seek a way out by migrating to the cities. This option of migration essentially indicates a complete up-rootment of the village life/set-up of that farmer family and getting adapted to the city life. Now the problem of employment arises as these farmers or the other members usually don’t harbor any skill except that of farming. It becomes difficult both for them to adapt to the atmosphere of the city life with no source of income at hand. Here also they are prone to fall prey to the vicious cycle of debt-trap operated by the illegal agents/moneylenders functioning on small scale. But the darker reflection displays the tendency of getting entrapped by the black-marketing operators et al with the children of such farmers becoming the immediate target of child labor.
This is how the impacts of climate change function on larger scale starting acting as a fuel to a lot many problems that contribute to the social evils.
In addition to this the shift to cash crops is a step that might be seemingly profitable but in the long run it can have sever adverse effects. Remember the indigo cultivation during the reign of British in India that saw a great rebellion and secured a significant place in history of India?? It is one of the cash crops which was cultivated solely with the purpose of profit-making by the Britishers. But the main reasons for which this initiative faced a threat and took the shape of rebellion is because of the several adverse effects that it had associated with it.
It was primarily damaging the health to great extent of the farmers involved in the process of cultivation. A varied type skin diseases started surfacing among the mass of farmers. And the worst thing is that the cultivation process was completely damaging the soil making it unsuitable for the cultivation of staple crops such as rice and wheat.
The situation is closely related to the culture of mono-cropping in today’s world where many countries have adopted the system in order to gain more and more financial profits. In India jute is one of the major cash crops to be cultivated. But the notable factor here is that the cultivation of cash crops demand excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides. Such excessive use for obvious reasons damages the soil by reducing the humus content in it. Plus the culture of mono-cropping or the sole cultivation of cash crops year after year reduces the capacity of the soil to nourish any other crop. Thus after one crop cycle of any cash crop and before the beginning of the other the soil is of no use and thus is left barren.
And in a way such cultivation also harm the various organisms and microorganisms residing inside the soil. After 4-5 years of continuous cultivation the process gradually starts polluting the underground water as well which is the key source of water in India, especially in the rural areas. Despite having the great advantage of being less weather dependent these crops are certainly not suitable for neither the environment nor the human or the economy in the long run.
To conclude I would strongly emphasize on the fact that by harming the nature we are not only degrading the quality of the habitat we are residing in but also damaging ourselves. We are putting the fortune of our future generations by not only depriving them of witnessing the wonder world of penguins or polar bears but also making them prone to become an unsocial element. Though it is not the children of those actually harming the nature suffering but, because of a certain section of homo sapeins a greater number of the mankind is suffering making their own and their children’s fortune wrapped in darkness and gory.
Damaging the environment will only bring forth a dark-age for us therefore we must stop our greedy behavior towards nature right away. The sooner it is done the sooner we will again be privileged with the showers of love from the mother nature.