Rising diesel price cripples farmers
NASHIK: A sharp increase in diesel price over the past fortnight is seen pushing up cultivation costs as kharif sowing is set to pick up across the district hoping activation of monsoon. Price of diesel rose to Rs 103/litre during this period. As mechanisation of farm activities picks up, driven by labour shortage and rising wages, the fuel price rise has upset the farmers’ calculations and could delay the process of doubling farm incomes.
With the trend towards modern farming, the huge increase in the price of diesel has made it difficult to cultivate even with the help of machinery. Large scale paddy cultivation is done in the northern part of Nashik tehsil. There has been a huge increase in the price of oxen for farming. Also, it is not possible to do such work with wages, so as an alternative arrangement, tractors are being used for tillage work.
However, due to the huge increase in diesel prices, it is becoming difficult to cultivate even with machinery. Paddy is cultivated extensively in the western and northern parts of the taluka. Farmers are now cultivating alternative crops. Meanwhile, a few farmers are engaged in farming with oxen. Due to the increase in annual cost, peasant has started using tractors for farming.
Due to the crises in agriculture, the financial budget of farmer has collapsed due to lack of income. We have to depend on nature for agricultural income. However, due to natural calamities every year, the agricultural formula is deteriorating. Moreover, rising labour cost is causing the problem. Agriculture is facing a double crisis of low production and high costs, opined farmers. As a result, the farmer is struggling to get out of this crisis and due to non-availability of labour, they have to rely on machinery and incur additional expenses.
Work and rates
Diesel - Rs 103/litre
Plowing - Rs 700/hour
Wages - Rs 300/day
Other exp - Rs 600/day
“In the past, farming was done with the help of oxen, but with the change of time, farming was started with the help of tractors. However, the cost of fuel, wages, as well as the cost of expensive pesticides, fertilizers etc are not affordable to the farming business. Also, erratic rainfall, climate change and crop diseases have put farmers in a double whammy and making farming difficult. - Santosh Jundre (farmer, Lohshingwe)