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Farmer-Dealer-Expert Complex

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Pesticide dealers are there to sell more to farmers as they more of incentives when they can sell more for their Companies and Sales Representatives. These pesticide and fertilizer dealers are least concerned about the prescribed doses inscripted on the labels and motivate the farmers to use more than recommended doses to get more “realistic and practical” results. Farmers are offered these inputs on credit by the dealers making the farmers kind of “liable” to follow their advices. The dealers and farmers are educated not to a desirable level so as to understand which is better for their own health and the environment. The dealers are mostly guided by their profit motivation and the farmers for their own survival and/or profit. Very few farmers are in a position to think of the society and the environment as they in a vulnerable economic condition.

It is not that the farmers and the dealers are totally ignorant of the harmful effects of chemicals on crops for human health. Rather it is a question of survival for them.

To make the matter clear, let us take the example of paddy crop. Paddy is a major crop for the farmers. In the rainy season the entire area of the land under possession of the farmer is covered by paddy crop. And that also by just a few number of varieties. So if the crop fails through the attack of some pests in a year, the farmer is ruined. He will not be able to pay back his debt to the dealer which he has taken as a loan on the condition that he will pay back after the sale of his produce. He is, therefore, desperate to apply what the dealers advice them to apply in his field crops. The dealers are more educated on an average than the farmers. The farmers are gullible as well. And this is vicious cycle.

It is very difficult to get out of this vicious cycle. This is blame game as well. The dealers are less educated than the officials dealing with these ‘safety’ issues. In most cases the dealers tend to defy the safety standards prescribed by the State officials. The dealers criticize the officials’ prescriptions as more “bookish” than “realistic”. They take the farmers with them to “laugh at” the knowledge and wisdom of the officials. They are also “jealous” of the officials as the officials are in better economic position. I don’t say this is quite universal. There is exception. But they are very few. Some programmes have been taken nowadays to address this situation and to educate the farmers and dealers about the hazards of undue and overuse of chemicals in agriculture.

This Farmer-Dealer-Expert Complex in Input-Supply Sector is an important factor affecting recommended application of input , especially pesticides in agriculture. Farming is not always a business, rather it is a subsistence livelihood for most of the farmers. But to the dealers it is a business. And who are the dealers ? The dealers are those who come to this business when they cannot pursue higher studies and cannot practice agriculture as their livelihood or profession. The dealers are those who could not get chance to pursue higher degree courses in agriculture like his friend but got the ‘chance’ to make money out of agricultural business.

By T K Mandal

The author is an ardent follower and believer of Nature and Yoga practices. Yoga can work miracles and a Cure-All for all physical and mental diseases, yes , at any age, I assure you !

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