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Farmers Distress Index

Farmers Distress Index is a kind of early warning system for farmers launched by the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), under the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR).

Aim to launch Farmers Distress Index:

Farmers Distress Index launched in July 2022, by the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA) under the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) with the main motive to minimize the agrarian distress in the form of crop loss, failure and income loss.

Farmers distress have increased in the recent years with the change in extreme climate as well as market and price fluctuation that driving them to death by suicides many times.

Farmers Distress Index trying to reduce their distress and prevent its spread from a few farmers to the village or block level by pre-warning different stakeholders including central, state and local government and also non-government agencies about the future occurrence of farmers distress so that they can take timely preventive measures.

Methodology to track distress

  1. The first step of the index methodology to track distress is going through the local newspapers, other news platforms and also social media platforms for any report or incidence of farmers distress which includes:
  • Localised cases of issues related to debt repayment.
  • Death by suicide
  • Pests attack on the crop
  • Natural calamities like drought, flood
  1. After knowing about the relevant news or incident, contacts of farmers from the local area will be collected to conduct telephonic interviews which consist of 21 standardized questions to gauge early signs of distress.
  2. The responses against the questions are then mapped against seven indicators:
  • Exposure to risk
  • Debt
  • Adaptive capacity
  • Landholding
  • Irrigation facilities
  • Mitigation strategies
  • Immediate triggers
  • Socio-psychological factors

Interpretation of the Index:

Based on the questions asked in the interview, the degree of the distressed will be identified which are as under:

  • A value between 0-0.5 will indicate ‘low distress.’
  • Value between 5-0.7 will indicate ‘moderate distress.’
  • Value above 0.7 will indicate ‘severe distress.’

In case of severe distress, it identify which among the seven component is more severe and contribute maximum to the farmer’s distress.

Significance of Farmers Distress Index

  • Farmers Distress Index helps in anticipating agrarian distress and prevents its spread.
  • Different agencies can carry out intervention to prevent income shocks to farmers depending on the severity of distress.
  • The current solutions that are being thought upon are direct money transfer, mid-term release of claims in case of crop failures

    Farmers Distress in India:

    Farmers distress in India is a complex and multifaceted problem that has been affecting the livelihood and the well-being of the farmers

Main causes of Farmers Distress:

Some of the reasons that are responsible for farmers distress are:

  • Poor policy and planning of the government.
  • Declining average size of the farm holdings.
  • Dependence on rainfall and climate.
  • Collapsing farm prices.
  • Lack of easy credit and insurance.
  • Lack of mechanisation and technology.
  • Loss of crops due to pests and diseases.

Impacts of Farmers Distress

  • Farmers have faced low and unstable returns from their crops which results in
  • The financial and psychological stress of agrarian may results in their death and suicides.
  • The lack of profitability has made many farmers loose interest in agriculture.
  • The fall in agricultural output and income results in malnutrition and food insecurity.

    Steps taken by Government to reduce Farmers Distress

  • Implementation of the recommendations of National Commission on Farmers (NCF).
  • Increasing the minimum support price.
  • Government launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme to provide financial support to the small and marginal farmers.
  • Implementation of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Scheme
  • Expanding the coverage of Kisan Credit Card Scheme.
  • Promoting the formation of Farmer-Producer Organizations.








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