Lost Potentials of Agriculture

“There is no time in modern agriculture for a farmer to write a poem or compose a song.” – Masanobu Fukuoka

Agriculture, is a collective word for cultivating and breeding of plants, animals, and fungi for food, fibre, fuel, etc. According to archaeologist’s agriculture began developing more than 10,000 years ago. It had helped human beings to form sedentary civilisations. There isn’t any specific place as to where agriculture began to rise. It is said that there were 11 different regions in the old and new World map such as China, New Guinea etc. where initial evidence of ancient agriculture was found.

And as the time went by agriculture employed 40% of the global workforce, which is almost1.3 billion people. In evolved into a global industry from subsistence farming, where farmers opted the role of entrepreneurs to compete in this global market. A FAO report indicates that about $100 billion was invested in agriculture during the 2007. Despite these huge investments agriculture has currently witnessed declining rate of employment. This is due to increasing expenses on technolog, demand of specific crops, migration etc. Most of the small-scale farmers cannot afford the high-priced technologies and are held back in the competitive market. On the other hand, agricultural operations are mostly situated in rural parts, due to which most farmer and their children migrate to urban areas in search of secure employment opportunities. Sadly, even in urban spheres the expectations of farmers aren’t met.

Meanwhile agricultural labour wages differs from places. It could be unpaid if a family works on their own farmlands or labours are paid kind is accepted like barter or labour exchange. Liquid money is sometimes paid when people work on farmlands.  Majority of agricultural wage laborers in many countries, particularly women, either are working on land owned by spouses, families, or neighbours or are hired in informal markets. Most women working in agriculture thus typically do not have contracts that provide them direct control over the returns to their labour or that legally oblige employers to provide benefits or adhere to existing labour laws.

While Asia is home to about half of the world’s people, but is the source of only 34% of its emigrants and host to only 17% of its immigrants. About a third of Asians who have left their country have laid their hats somewhere else in Asia. But despite wide income and age gaps between one end of Asia and the other, two-thirds of intra-Asian migrants remain in their own part of the region. South Asians migrate elsewhere in South Asia, East Asians stick to East Asia, and so on.

Some countries have become more flexible. Foreign workers are around 40% of Singapore’s workforce, with slightly less than half of those on restrictive domestic-work and construction visas. To prevent foreigners from undercutting domestic wages, employers must pay levies for each foreign worker they hire.

The glamorous hustle of Shanghai, the better to stay in the shadows. They deal in an illegal but highly desirable product: people, specifically Filipina domestic workers to serve China’s growing middle class. Filipina helpers, says one agent, will follow your exact instructions, whereas locals are choosy and tend to handle only one task: if they clean, for instance, they will not look after children. Filipinas’ diligence makes them popular. The Philippine consulate in Hong Kong estimates that more than 200,000 undocumented Filipinas work as domestic helpers in China, earning 5,000 yuan ($728) per month, far more than they could make back home. As for legal troubles, the agents are reassuring. Fines can be hefty but are rarely imposed. One agent admitted that a client was caught employing an illegal worker; the worker was sent home, but the client was not fined.

In India, according to a labour ministry notification, an unskilled agriculture labourer would be entitled to get a minimum wage of INR 300 per day in C-category towns as against INR 160 now while those in B and A category towns will get INR 303 and INR 333 respectively. Like-wise semi-skilled workers will be entitled to a daily minimum wage of INR 364, INR 335 and INR 307 in A, B and C-category towns while the skilled workers will be paid as high as INR 395, INR 364 and INR 334 under the three town categories respectively. Highly skilled workers will get INR 438, INR 407 and INR 364 in A, B and C-category towns.

On the other hand, in developed countries like USA most of farmers are in age group 45-64. But the number of farmers in age group of 65 and above have been increasing rapidly. The ageing of farmers is a problem. In Asia, 75 per cent of economically active people over 60 cite agriculture as their primary source of income, while in sub-Saharan Africa, 73 per cent of economically active older people are employed in agriculture. In Latin America, this figure is comparably low, at 35 per cent. The data shows that agriculture is particularly important for older women. In Asia, 62 per cent of economically active older women cite agriculture as their main source of income, followed by 59 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa and 25 per cent in Latin America. These proportions are significantly higher than those of younger women. The reasons for the presence of older age groups is high in rural areas is because most of the younger generation migrate to urban areas in search of better opportunity and some migrated people return to their rural areas after an old age to live in their home.

Therefore, looking at these loop holes of immigration and unfair returns of farmers, Vana aim to a fundamental support to all the farmers around the world. Vane will be a trustworthy friend and advisor, on whom farmers can depend on for earning a decent living and having the choice to gross in the global market. Vana, inspires farmers to strengthen their entrepreneurial skills and produce quality organic products. This Vana intends to do by supplying farmers with all the agricultural necessities on the bases of future payments. By being partners with farmers, Vana believes to have a cordial give and take relationship.

Vana also acknowledges the discrimination and disappointment faced by women and young adults respectively. Therefore, providing a safe platform for women is Vana’s top most priority. It aims to empower women by acknowledging a women contribution in agriculture, supporting her for producing agricultural goods and walking long side her to find the right value for her produce. On the hand, Vana won’t just provide agricultural opportunities to the young adults of the world, it will bring all the potential personal under its umbrella for specific roles.

Although this speaks mostly on farmer, it would be disturbing to forget other entities such as researchers, academicians, scientists etc who may not have worked all their lives in the field, yet have made major contributions in agriculture through innovation in fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, etc. Here in Vana there will teams of agricultural scientist that will help a farmer in every stage of cultivation. It will also fund its team in conducting research innovate agricultural practices and tap any kind of new technology developing around the world.

Providing a complete and integrated system of research, innovation, marketing and production for the farmers is the goal of Vana. As it will lead to enhancing the lives and livelihoods of farmers across the world.

“Agriculture not only gives riches to a nation, but the only riches she can call her own.”      

                                                                                                                               Samuel Johnson