From Agrarian Distress to Sustainable Agriculture through Indigenous Knowledge: Case Studies from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, India.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 11:30
Location: Prominentenzimmer (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Srinivas SAJJA, Birla Institute of Technology & Science Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, India
Agrarian distress is sweeping through the newly formed Telugu speaking states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana with a number of farmers committing suicide due to crop failure and indebtedness. Small and marginal farmers of rain-fed areas are in a losing battle with agriculture as their material conditions keep deteriorating year on year. According to the National Sample Survey (NSS) data released in December, 2014 more than sixty percent of agrarian households in India are in debt trap ranging from 92.9% in Andhra to 17.5% in Assam.

In this scenario, it is pertinent to note that the benefits of highly extractive agriculture, which goes by the name of green revolution and based on ‘high input technology’ was cornered by the rich and affluent farmers operating in irrigated areas of Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh, Andhra, Tamilnadu and Karnataka. The poor and marginal farmers primarily in the vast rain-fed areas of India are the worst sufferers. Apart from the indebtedness, many farmers are unaware of the minimum support price and often, resort to distress sale to clear their loans which were obtained at exorbitant rates.

While the situation appears to be gloomy with thousands of farmers committing suicide in the Telugu speaking states and other parts of the country, the agrarian distress is not out of control. This paper aims to present evidence of sustainable agriculture practices achieved through indigenous knowledge with case studies from the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in India. By following traditional cropping methods and using indigenous seeds, marginal farmers in the rain-fed areas of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have shown that one can overcome the present adversity in agrarian sector.