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The Indian Farmer: A Profile

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    The Indian Farmer: A Profile

    Farmers are often viewed as one standard community, but there are large variations among the Indian farming community. On the one hand are the small and marginal farmers, who own less than five acres, or two hectare, farmland. On the other hand are the large farmers who may own hundreds of hectares of land.

    Officially, ‘marginal farmer’ means a farmer cultivating (as owner or tenant or sharecropper) agricultural land up to one hectare (2.5 acres). Whereas a ‘small farmer’ is a farmer cultivating (as owner or tenant or sharecropper) agricultural land of more than one hectare and up to two hectares (5 acres). Medium and large farmers are those cultivating (as owner or tenant or sharecropper) between 2 to 10 hectares (5 to 25 acres) of land and more than 10 hectares (25 acres) of land respectively.

     

This rapid survey of Gaon Connection on ‘The Indian Farmer’s Perception of the New Agri Laws’ had a total of 5,022 farmer respondents. Of these, 72% farmers, or three-fourth, owned less than five acres of land, and thus are categorised as small and marginal farmers. The rest 28% had more than five acres of landholding and were medium and large farmers.

Majority of the farmers covered were involved in cultivation of rice (66%) or wheat (46%). Other major crops cultivated were cereals like jowar and bajra (23%), pulses (17%), oil seeds (15%), cotton (10%), sugarcane (3%), jute (1%), vegetables (11%), and spices and other crops (14%).

Based on their economic status, a little more than half of the farmers reported that they belong either to BPL (47%) or AAY (11%), and 42% said they belong to APL. Eighty five per cent farmer respondents had agriculture as the main source of their income. Agriculture as main source of income was more in the case of medium and large farmers (93%) in comparison to small and marginal farmers (82%).