India Farmers

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Linking Rivers Will Not Save Bundelkhand

Even as Bundelkhand shrivels under the onslaught of a prolonged drought, the government is going ahead with a grand scheme to link two major rivers at this southern edge of the Ganga basin. At a time when moisture has fled the land and the rain-fed rivers are down to a trickle, transporting water some 230 km in a canal, irrigating farmland on the way, appears to be a mirage to many.
Soumya Sarkar

PHOTOS: Heat, Dust And Water In Bundelkhand

Bundelkhand is a dirt-poor region where people are now desperately scratching the dirt for water. Only a few farmers have enough money to dig more than 50 metres and pump water out of the few aquifers that have not gone dry. A few others have built check dams and embankments to hold the rain where it falls, and their farms remain profitable. But such oases are too few and far between.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bringing Water Back To Bundelkhand

Bundelkhand is amongst the worst places on earth to be a farmer. Decades of land and water mismanagement made worse by anaemic showers and changing rainfall patterns triggered by climate change have led to untold misery for its largely agrarian population. But many community workers and experts say the situation is not irrevocable. The region may yet prosper by adopting better ways to conserve water, in step with a more sustainable and varying use of the land.
PRAKASH SINGH via Getty Images

Accounting For The Rain Gods: How Index-Based Crop Insurance Can Help Farmers

The Modi government has made a serious attempt to address agrarian distress in India by announcing the crop insurance scheme last week. It is imperative, however, that we learn from the mistakes of other countries and urgently fine-tune this simple product to make it financially viable in the long run. And the fine-tuning is easy -- instead of measuring the crop losses of farmers let us just measure the performance of the rain gods!
ASSOCIATED PRESS

What Farmers Really Need - And It Isn't 'Skilling' Or Relief Packages

Field stories from across semi-arid rural India, whether Rajasthan, Maharashtra or Andhra Pradesh, reflect a now-recurring narrative of an agrarian crisis. There is a growing desperation in rural India, and it is manifesting in various ways - from farmer suicides across drylands to violence in tribal-dominated lands and sporadic riots. These incidents are symptomatic of a deeper problem - one of shrinking work options and the undermining of existing farm-based livelihoods by erosive policies and rapid natural resource degradation.