Bridging Divides: Ignore farmers’ plight as they are away from our sight?

Ehtesham Shahid

On this New Year’s Eve, I am starting a series called Bridging Divides.

In this series, I will raise some challenges facing the developing world, add a bit of context and then leave it to your good judgment. Today, we are going to discuss the distressed farmer.

Among the various divides witnessed around the world today – between the rich and the poor, the haves and have nots, the gender divide, the digital divide – there is one that isn’t discussed that often, the rural-urban divide.

One major reason attributed to the defeat of the ruling BJP in India’s Hindi heartland states recently was the distressed farmer. They were unhappy with crop yields, lack of government support and general neglect of the agriculture sector.

While India has done reasonably well across various economic indicators in recent decades, challenges such as making the farming sector self-reliant and ensuring market access for agricultural products have not yet been overcome.

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