Chapter

Farmers' Distress in a Modernizing Agriculture—The Tragedy of the Upwardly Mobile

V. M. Rao

in Agrarian Crisis in India

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780198069096
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080472 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198069096.003.0005
Farmers' Distress in a Modernizing Agriculture—The Tragedy of the Upwardly Mobile

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Although the crisis in agricultural growth and agrarian crisis are overlapping perspectives, they give rise to contrasting diagnoses of the problems in Indian agriculture. This chapter describes farming communities in India as a three-tier pyramid created by government policies over time. Poverty-stricken farmers make up the base of the pyramid, the so-called upwardly mobile farmers (that is, farmers struggling to move up the productivity level but often relegated to the middle) are in the middle, and a small section lobbying for subsidies, and seeking rents or unproductive profits instead of utilizing their potential for entrepreneurship for agricultural growth are at the top. The chapter argues that by providing state support to the upwardly mobile farmers, growth is possible even for those situated at the bottom of the pyramid. It examines case studies of farmers' suicides in five states and suggests critical interventions in terms of credit, extension services, and institutional structure.

Keywords: India; agriculture; agrarian crisis; three-tier pyramid; modernized agriculture; upwardly mobile farmers; farmers' suicides; credit; extension services; institutional structure

Chapter.  6286 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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