Agriculture’s long drought
The crisis in agriculture is more like a treadmill than a time bomb. Even so, it is likely to implode, sooner rather than later
The precarious situation of millions of farmers in rural India has been pushed closer to the edge by deficient monsoons in three of the past four years that have led to the longest sequence of near-drought situations during the past century. Farmers’ suicides are in the news once again. But these are just symptoms of widespread agrarian distress. There is a quiet crisis in agriculture that runs deep. It is perhaps more acute than the crisis in the mid-1960s, the era of our ship-to-mouth existence dependent upon food imports from the US under PL 480, which was resolved by the green revolution. Yet, the discourse and debate on the economy proceeds as if the agricultural sector does not exist or, if it exists, it does not matter.