By Mr. Kushal Varshney, Manager- IT, Mahyco
It is rightly said “If you ate a meal today, thank a farmer”. Truly, farmers are the most important assets of the agriculture industry. We all know that India’s agriculture industry is one of the strongest pillars of the economy. Almost, 50-55% of India’s rural population depends upon farming for their livelihood and contributed 3095.38 IND Billion to the GDP in the third quarter of 2016.
Where the entire nation is talking about ‘Digital India’ and going cashless, farmers aren’t left behind either. With adequate support and guidance from ministry of agriculture, farmers who did not have a bank account are finding a way out to become a part of the financial economy..
It is crucial, that farmers are included in the financial system at the earliest, as their inclusion can give a big boost to Indian economy. From extension in deadlines for repaying loans, to bringing farmers online through eportals, the Government has done a lot to ensure the farmers’ trust the finance ecosystem.
Farmers moving to e-wallets and opening mobile bank accounts is another milestone for the economy. Reports suggest that , over two lakh farmers have opened mobile banking accounts and eighty-one thousand farmers have turned to e-wallet (Read more here) for monetary transactions. Similarly, initiatives like e-bazaar, recently unveiled by Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) Limited encourages farmers to take maximum advantage of these e-commerce platforms that will help them to find buyers and sell their products at a much reasonable price. Great initiatives like this will slowly make India a ‘developed’ economy from a ‘developing’ one.
This need is recognized globally as well. With nearly half of the world’s farmers not in the banking system, it is inevitable that over 70% of the world’s poor live in rural areas where agriculture is the predominant occupation. To recognize the urgency and give the required support, further impetus is being provided by the G20 through its Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion and World Bank Group’s goal of Universal Financial Access by 2020
Like the world’s, Indian agriculture industry is expected to double its growth in the coming years. I believe all that the farmers need, is a supportive financial system that would understand their needs and help them expand. This, in turn, will help the Indian agricultural economy to grow by leaps in the coming years.