Since the implementation of the Green Revolution, farming has become unsustainable economically for the small farmer. While improvements in infrastructure and irrigation have benefitted large farmers, rising production costs due to increasing demand for inputs has driven marginal farmers into debt. The marginal income of farmers has not increased at the same rate at which the production costs are rising. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides deplete soil microflora that are responsible for maintaining the natural fertility of the soil, forcing farmers to add more inputs to achieve the same yield. Monoculture contributes to diminished bio-diversity. Local, hearty varieties of grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are on the verge of extinction because foreign, genetically modified seeds have become the norm.
As land is passed down through generations land- holdings per family become increasingly smaller and smaller. Farming alone cannot cover the family's expenses, forcing members to migrate to cities to seek work. Migrant workers experience disproportionately high levels of abuse and exploitation, and often return to their native places without having made significant profit.
There is a 400-700% price hike on produce from farmer to the consumer. Supply chains are fragmented with 5-7 intermediaries, who add little value.
40% of produce is wasted before reaching the consumer due to various inefficiencies in supply chain.
Planning between producers, buyers, and consumers is non-existent. Due to lack of planning skills, poor extension services, and lack of market demand and supply data, the producers (farmers) are not able to cultivate and time crops that maximize profits.
Health and Environmental Crisis:
Recent reports suggest that there are increasing evidences of links between consuming conventionally farmed food and health-risks like acute poisoning, cancer, allergies, and neurological, reproductive, birth & developmental disorders.
The increasing resistance of pests demands harsher pesticides with detrimental effects on health and environment. A single apple can have up to 60 different pesticides residues on it. While peeling removes some traces, it also removes much of the produce's fibers, and does not remove pesticides embedded below the sin.
Excess chemicals leach into the ground water or are washed into water stream and are a major cause of water pollution.
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