In India, where 70 percent of rural households derive their incomes from agriculture, has been trying to help its farmers with several reforms and economic packages. Just earlier this month, three new laws were announced by the government, claiming to free agricultural trade and allow the participation of private players in the sector.
Keeping in line with the vision of empowering Indian farmers, the philanthropic arm of retail giant Walmart called “Walmart Foundation” announced two grants adding up to $4.5 million in a bid to help farmers earn more from the improved output and fair market access.
The fresh capital is bound to focus mainly on creating more opportunities for women in agriculture via farmer producer organisations (FPOs).
“The global COVID-19 pandemic has increased pressure on India’s farmers, especially female farmers shouldering extra responsibilities in the household while seeing their incomes diminish overnight,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, President of the Walmart Foundation.
The grants are part of Walmart’s 2018 commitment to invest $25 million to help Indian farmers over a period of five years. As of now, the retail giant has poured in $15 million supporting social initiatives designed to impact over 140,000 farmers in India. A chunk of the money will also be used to introduce advanced technologies to help farmers in their work.
Lately, the Narendra Modi-led Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government has been drawing flak from Indian citizens for not being able to help out farmers to its fullest capacity. When it rose to power in 2014, BJP had pledged to double the farmers’ income by 2022 – a goal that hasn’t been achieved as of now.
Voices also rose in unanimity when several cases of farmers who had committed suicide made it to the headlines in India during the ongoing pandemic. Recently released data by the National Crime Records Bureau of India revealed that over 10,000 cases of farmer suicides were recorded in the country last year in 2019.
The lockdown restrictions that were imposed in India in March, according to economists, are forcing millions of households into poverty and contributing to the long-running tragedy of farmer suicides in the country.
The politics of farmer suicides in MP: Farm suicides in MP fell by 161 cases in 2019 when Cong ruled compared to 2018 when BJP did. Ex CM Kamal Nath will tom tom it in the by-polls: India Today Insight by @Rahul_Noronha @OfficeOfKNath https://t.co/98VSIGS7Ux via @indiatoday
— Raj Chengappa (@rajchengappa) September 16, 2020
On #WorldSuicidePreventionDay , let’s not forget the daily wage labour and farmers who have committed suicide .. they too are Indian citizens: 1,39,123 suicides as per official NCRB stats. And find a moral compass to talk about suicides with care and empathy. 🙏
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) September 10, 2020