MU to study state of farmers in Maha

The University of Mumbai has decided to initiate a study and discussion into the reasons why Maharas-htra — an agriculture rich state — today finds itself in a situation where the government has to time and again rescue farmers from certain death, either due to famine or floods. The study will dwell on the state’s agricultural evolution in light of historical facts and analyse its present predicament. Accor-ding to University officials, apart from experts from the University, the study will see delegates from foreign countries also take part in the discussion and help in finding a solution to the state’s problem.
Speaking about the need to undertake such a study, Dr Jose George, head of department of History and Civics, MU, who is also the convenor of the seminar, said that historically, problems of the farmers have resulted from an oppressive pattern of agrarian relations and structure.
He further added that neo-liberisation, wherein agriculture was treated as an industry, is also a reason for the farmer being marginalised into oblivion by the state. “Rather than helping the farmer keep up with the times by adopting modern methods of farming, the poor farmer has been left to fend for himself. No precautionary measures have been taken to ensure that farmers can cope with sudden climatic changes and resort to alternative means of survival in the event of drastic environmental changes. All these have led to the slow and steady decline of the farmer in the state,” said Dr George.
Political decisions and economic uncertainties in recent times have only aggravated the situation for farmers. “Due to the erroneous and sometimes discriminatory political decisions, farmers do not get the right compensation for their efforts,” he added.
The seminar will see delegates from countries like United Kingdom, Sweden, Turkey, Ethiopia, China and Tanzania present papers and share experiences and throw light on the condition of farmers in their respective countries. “In light of the current economic slowdown, the condition of agricultural labour, marginal peasants and small farmer will deteriorate even further,” said Dr George.

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