Viewers' Voice


Rural India Changing Harvest

Indra R. Sharma


Inflation of the prices of the fruits and vegetables has been alarming. Who is responsible and who gains out of this inflation? Unfortunately, the farmers don’t. As good news, the Indian farmers are trying to work against all odds such as water scarcity and government impertinence to sustain the livelihood from the gradually diminishing landholding due to family fragmentation.

Many enterprising farmers are taking bold steps and switching over to the crops that have better market and better return. With improving road connectivity, it is getting easier to reach the markets.

I get reminded of my grandfather in our remote village. He used to advise to take some grapes for keeping fit during college days. The grapes were really costly and scarce in those days. In summer, one could not find milk in Sasaram even with villages all around it. Things have changed. Many in villages are keeping good breed of cows, supply milk regularly to the collection centre and get a regular extra income. Even the state governments are trying to emulate the successful enterprises of the other state. As reported, Bihar is planning to set up a large number of mini-dairies.

I was talking to Pintoo in his village in Bihar today morning. He was in his fields irrigating his wheat field. I was surprised when he started talking about sprinklers and drip irrigation. With roads reaching his village, he with his cousins is trying to have some commercial crops such as peppermint. May be pretty soon, they switch to vegetables and fruits too.

A farmer with small landholding up to 10 acres can’t be reasonably affluent unless he switches to produce vegetables, fruits, and have commercial plantations for additional earning. He will have to adapt the best possible farming practices too.

And the good news is that it is happening in many states. The urban Indian consumers today get exotic strawberries, kiwi fruit all the year round and celery, cauliflower and green peas in summer. As reported, fruits and vegetables are being grown on nearly twice the land as in 1990-91. I can get broccoli, baby corn and many varieties today in Noida’s shops that I used to see in the western countries. The apples coming from the local producers are as juicy as one from California. Mushrooms and soybeans have got into Indian cuisines.

Maharashtra has showcased what can be done on the fruit front, particularly bigger, seedless grapes. Scientists are also helping to develop high yielding better crop varieties.

The Rajasthan Olive Cultivation Limited with a tie up with an Israeli company grows olives and dates. Orange cultivation is already transforming the landscape in Jhalawar. Rajasthan cultivates chillies, coriander and other cash crops such as cumin, fenugreek garlic, fennel and ajwain. Interestingly, Gujarat is trying to grow apples.

With frequent drought and growing shortage of water, the farmers are switching over to new practices that require much less water. Many rice producing states are experimenting with a new technique of direct dry seeding for paddy. Interestingly, the environment gets less methane with this practice. And all this is with no loss of yield. Companies such as PepsiCo and ITC are assisting the farmers in different states. Punjab has developed a new machine that drills the seeds directly into the ground.

Indian farmers at least majority of them still need a lot of handholding, easy availability of quality inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and insecticides, electricity and timely credits from banks, besides the knowledge about the new scientific developments that is useful for him for improving the yield productivity.

Can the governments focus on these aspects rather than offering only the waivers and subsidies that hardly reach to the deserving lots?




Very good intentions and plans for your own rural areas . I wish all success . New age Zamindaars must come forward . If you travel Bihar you will find many schools / colleges were built by then rich land-lords or cash rich people which benefited thousands of Bihari . Now , people like you are capable enough to uplift your own native . Your mail will inspire thousands of non Resident Bihari across the globe .

recent success of initiative "Bihar Conclave" shows that - We all love our motherland willing hard to improve its situation . It was always a lack of political will , now its also being solved so its a good chance for all of us .

Ranjan Rituraj Sinh


I would like to express my view on the above mentioned piece of news and comment of Mr. Mishra thereon. It may be that Mr. Sharma would have painted some optimistic story, but it contains some truth also. In contrast, Mr. Mishra has broken all the hell while criticising Mr.Sharma and the state government and has termed the story a Utopian one. In this regard, I would like to humbly submit to Mr. Mishra that he should not expect too much in such a small span of time from the present government and should not start comparing it with other developed states of the country and even with the foreign countries. What Mr. Mishra has stated in his criticism may be correct, but he should first compare the conditions of the state with those prevailing during previous government and for that matter he should extend the period to the Jagannath Mishra government too. I would request to Mr. Mishra to analyse the conditions on relative basis not on absoulute basis and then he may find the answers of his questions at once.

By the way, we must be thankful to the present compensation that it has at least created an atmosphere of law and order in the state and also that it has taken some steps which has given certain positive messages to the rest of the world as regard to its intentions of treading on the path of development (hopefully I am correct). Fortunately, in the last few years, news stories of typical Bihar has noticeably reduced which is also an indicator of improvement. I appreciate Mr. Mishra that he has taken the present government to task and it is essential in democracy also. ...Still he should not paint and put the onus of every wrong doings on the government only viz. price rise in the state which is affected more by the policies of the central government rather than the state government.

Mukesh Kumar


An article by Indra R Sharma “Rural India Changing Harvest” (Viewers’ Voice) makes a fascinating reading leaving its readers in utopian world of fantasy. The writer unwittingly or deliberately does not present the true picture of Bihar which every Bihari wants to rebuild as a developed state. He failed to see that Bihar is placed 19th along with Orissa in corruption, three out of 29 RTI commissioners are in the chair, hundreds of people are absconding framed in false cases for demanding information in corruption cases, thousands old persons could not apply under RTI fearing harassment, corrupt nexus among bureaucrats, people representatives, and contractors is thriving, PDS is collapsed, coupons are misused, complaints go unheeded and so on. Agro-products are sold at higher prices but farmers are not ensured of ‘harvesting’ the crops of this unusual phenomenon (inflation at lowest and prices at highest levels). Our beloved CM with a change-Bihar-vision could have got passed a bill to limit the gain of the middle men dealing in essential commodities. For instance, potato was bought Rs.400 per quintal; its maximum whole sale price should be fixed Rs.500 a quintal (25%). If the price goes higher than that it should be shared between the farmer and the buyer.  
Secondly, it should be remembered that every instance cannot be generalized to qualify for a premise and one farmer’s success cannot be emulated every where. In rural areas many, many farmers lost interest because of nuisance created in their unfenced orchards (saplings were felled; green fruits were thrown to ground or plundered by young provoked children and so on). The unfriendly, insensitive and neglected behavior of the police, lengthy legal procedures and unnecessary harassments force them to remain silent on their loss. It is not at state level rather at national level as a researching farmer like Dadaji (Dadaji Ramaji Khobragade’s tale published in the Hindu, the 24th, Dec.) was exploited, his work went unrecognized, millions were earned by trading company and his fate remained unchanged. Such examples can be generalized to get universal conclusion in Indian context. 
B.P. Mishra