Agriculture

Who Gives us Food: Market or Farmers?

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Coming out of examination hall gives a sense of soothing and comforting experience, ending all the ongoing anxiety, concerns and apprehensions related to the syllabus, its completion and the process of memorization.

Immediately after the examination gets over, few students would always be found discussing about the question papers.

In an aplomb manner, the so-called bright students would be flaunting their knowledge with regard to science and mathematics before those perceived dull and lack luster students.

On that economics paper, the same visual caught my attention when I happened to came out of the examination hall and my auditory modality received conversation around a particular question.

The question was “where from you get these products; garlic, cotton, milk, sweet potato, tamarind, pulses, curd, and cumin”.

The point of discussion amongst those few participating students was that the question was out of syllabus and what is the point of asking such a silly question? One fellow said “we find everything in the market, be it fruits, vegetables or electronic items, so why did the examiner put such an easy question?”

‘Oh dear!’ said another boy having a teasing note in his voice. “You still go to the market to have all these essential items.

In my home, we get everything delivered at our door steps by the delivery boys of the stores.

So, for that question, my answer was, we get everything at home.” In response to these types of answers another boy added, “hey boys, I thought, if the examiner has some tricks in his mind while setting such a question, then my answer would be inappropriate if I answer as all those above goods are found at my home or in the market.

So, to be safe, I wrote everything we get from farm, how is this answer?”
“Your intellect is slowly improving tube-light, how could you decipher the intention of the examiner?”- said another student, in response to which a cackle of broken sound came out instantaneously generating waves of jokes and laughter.

This incident of past years, buried in the memory line, got a flash light when I happened to stand in the middle of an agricultural field, studying the climate resilient farming technique adapted by the farmers to deal with frequent disasters.

Repeated disasters like cyclone, storm surge and flooding have severe consequences on the food security at the local level and income at the household level in the coastal areas.

In order to have individual sustainable livelihood and food security in the region, resilient farming is the convenient solution – is the belief of World Food Programme (WFP), a wing of UN agencies working towards food security at the community level.

I got the privilege to work with one of such projects that is being implemented in Odisha’s coastal areas and got the opportunity to visit the agricultural field.
Farming is one of the primitive livelihood options that is still relevant in the present-day context.

Exposure to the agricultural field gave me the feeling that farming is a noble profession and it is the famer who knows the technique of converting a single seed to hundreds of grains, fruits and vegetables, that is of paramount importance for the survival of humanity.

The process of converting seeds to edible form of food needs arduous and continuous laborious activity as well as constant engagement with the soil in a thoughtful manner.

Each variety of seeds, a potent source of life, have their own mechanism of growing, flowering and bearing fruits.

The agriculturalist has that knowledge of harnessing agricultural produce that transcend from one generation to another by continuous practice.

Farming even though is a magnanimous profession of feeding other fellow individuals by doing so much of hard labor is now a days loosing its glory owing to increasing disposition, deprivation and setbacks due to climatic events.

Other than the increasing loss element attached to the agricultural activities, modern lifestyle is evolving new profession that is more gratifying and elevating spirit in terms of recognition and gain in money income.

Agricultural practice that used to transcend from one generation to another with added wider spectrum is now no more lucrative for the next generation to adopt as a profession.

Hardly any traditional agriculturalist in this part of world would be found who would be holding head high on their shoulder and proudly say that, “I am a Farmer”.

All these contemplations, self-analysis and reflection in the midst of the agricultural field made my memory put some flash lights on to the yesterday’s events, where people of my generation think agricultural products are available in the market.

In the event of growing climate crisis where food security at large is at risk, we need to bring back glory to the farming as a profession and sensitize the coming generation towards the issues of farmers to build a healthy and nourished society.

Despite all the hard work and even not sure of the income resulting from the farm, the farmers are still full of love and affection for the people who visits their field. When we were doing the fieldwork, it was pick summer and they gave us fresh cucumber from the field.

I have never seen such a caring feeling for the fellow human being in the vegetable market or elsewhere.

Is it really good that some of our fellow human beings do back breaking work in the farm field and many of us even do not care for the farm produced and also keep on wasting food? They still continue to feed us despite all the difficulties.

Probably the time has come that we must give respect to the farmers and be grateful to them every time we have our food.

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