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Cattle Traders lynched: Farmers unable to sell Cattle due to Water shortage in Jharkhand

With only two-third of the 12,000-odd handpumps in the district working, people crowd around them and line up for several hours waiting to fill their containers with water.

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Cattles and their owners at a cattle fair in Maharashtra. (Representational Image). Image source: sandeepachetan.com
  • In fear of repercussions, no one dares to sell cattle, and even if they try, no one is willing to buy
  • After the rivers dried up, people have dug a pit in the river bed for water for both the villagers and cattle to use
  • The emaciated cattle are seen searching  for any leaves or grass to feed on

Jharkhand’s Latehar district had just witnessed two murders this March. Mazlum Ansari, 32, and Imteyaz Khan, the 13-year-old son of another cattle trader, were hanged to death for selling their cattle. Now, Latehar district’s ponds and streams have all dried up for the first time in several years and water has become really scarce. At a time like this, farmers are unable to save their cattle as selling them in another village could lead to their death.

The tribal farmers used to sell their cattle in the dry months before the monsoon and purchase new cattle to plough fields once the monsoon arrived.  Cows and Oxen were sold for cash to tide over any financial distress, and, sometimes, to organise weddings during the lean farm months. Now, months after the lynching, villagers say no one can dare to sell cattle, and even if they try, no one is willing to buy, said the scroll.in report.

Vijay Oraon, a local contractor  told Scroll.in that tribal villagers used cattle sales as a means of supplementing their income as only subsistence farming was possible in the area.

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“I have four oxen, it becomes necessary to sell to tide over these months, but if anyone buys, they may get phaansi [be executed] Then, who will buy?”” said Babulal Oraon, a tribal farmer to Scroll.in.

With a local cow protection group propagating against the sale of cattle in the area, no one dares to sell their cattle.

According to the Scroll.in report, in Nawada village, over 50 families that survived on the cattle trade have now left that work. Most youth have left for construction work elsewhere in the district.

Cattles in a truck. Image Source: indianexpress.com

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With only two-third of the 12,000-odd handpumps in the district working, people crowd around them and line up for several hours waiting to fill their containers with water.

After the rivers dried up, people have dug a pit in the river bed for water for both the villagers and cattle to use.

In these dry lands, the emaciated cattle are seen searching  for any leaves or grass to feed on.

The Scroll.in report says that the cattle cannot be kept as there was no grass or leaves in the fields, and the only pond in the village had all but dried up.  When they got to drink water in the pond, the weaker cattle’s legs get stuck in the quicksand-like mud and they die.

Villagers fish in the only pond left with water in Amwatoli in Balumath, Latehar. Weak cattle get stuck in the wet mud if they try to enter the pond.
What is left of a pond. Image Source: Scroll.in

“The forest is catchingfire, there are no leaves on trees, nothing for the cattle to graze on, grass is all dried up. At this rate, the cattle will die,” says Kujur, a tribal Christian farmer to Scroll.in.

This report is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

ALSO READ:

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    There should be some steps taken to supply water to these villages. Like we have trains which supply water to the Latur district in Maharashtra

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Rain is one of the most important factor in India. Not only does farming need water, but rearing cattle stock also requires high amount of water

Next Story

Widespread Agricultural Distress: Hyderabad Social Entrepreneur Uses Big Data To Change Farmers’ Lives

The app, which provides all farming-related information and communication in Telugu on a single platform, is significantly reducing the time and cost of cultivation for a farmer in real time.

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The startup, which can sustain for next six months on its own, is receiving proposals from different investment companies and Naveen says he will go with whoever is close to his idea. Pixabay

At a time of widespread agricultural distress caused by successive droughts, unremunerative farming and debt-trapped rural economies, a young man with his mobile app is showing how change can be brought in the life of farmers at the grassroot level.

In 2016, V. Naveen Kumar, who had no personal knowledge of agriculture, was so moved by the suicide of a farmer in a village in his native Warangal district of Telangana that for the next three months he ran around like a man possessed, meeting farmers to understand their problems. He interacted with agri-entrepreneurs and other stakeholders to find if there is a way he can bring some change in the lives of the financially besieged farmers.

Today, over 1.24 lakh farmers in Telugu-speaking states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh use his mobile app NaPanta to avail a host of services, all free of cost. And this MBA degree holder is satisfied that he is contributing his mite to bring some change in the way they practise agriculture.

NaPanta, which was started in June 2017, saw, surprisingly, thousands of farmers download the app. The launch of the pocket-friendly Reliance Jio and the boom in use of WhatsApp brought more people on the platform.

crops

While the information on app will clear regular doubts of farmers, for specific doubts a farmer can ask questions to a panel which includes agriculture scientist and experts.
Pixabay

The app, which provides all farming-related information and communication in Telugu on a single platform, is significantly reducing the time and cost of cultivation for a farmer in real time.

“I am confident that if farmers follow my platform, they will be able to save 20 per cent on expenditure and get 10 per cent extra yield. We can make 30 per cent difference,” V. Naveen Kumar, Founder and Managing Director, NaPanta, told IANS.

While the country has many apps to help farmers, there is no single app covering the entire gamut of agriculture activity ranging from selection of crops to locate the market offering highest price for their produce. From advisory services and weather information to market prices and e-commerce, the digital platform offers the comprehensive agri eco-system.

The app has tools like crop expenditure (which helps farmers track their expenses in an organized manner), crop protection, weekly agro advisory, agri forum, market price, agri e-commerce, crop insurance, weather, food processing technologies, and soil testing information.

A farmer can also buy or rent an agri-equipment as per the requirements of his crop cycle and can also sell his produce for the highest price without any middleman.

The app also allows farmers to access real-time and dynamic information pertaining to daily market prices of 300 agri-commodities across over 3,500 markets, along with three-year price trend.

Currently available in Telugu and English, NaPanta App provides complete pest and disease management details, covering 90 crops and with suggestions about 3,000 pesticide products.

Naveen Kumar, who earlier worked as a Credit Relationship Manager in ICICI Bank and later as Credit Risk Manager with HDFC Bank before co-founding apnaloanbazaar.com, a retail loan distribution services portal, says he is trying to build core competence among the farmers.

According to him, for all their requirements, small and marginal farmers depend on third parties like distributors of the companies.

“With no knowledge of agriculture practices and requirements of a particular farmer, they try to push their products for some extra profit and as a result the farmers either suffer crop losses or end up incurring huge expenditure.”

With agriculture extension officers of the government more focused on clerical related activities rather than extending actual help, he believes there is a huge gap between farmers and the government initiated activity.

“Farming is not depending on a single advisory. It is a combination of various services. We identified all that a farmer needs in day to day life and ensured that he has easy access to the advisory so that whenever he gets a doubt, he can get it cleared then and there,” he said.

Naveen said several states including Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu were showing interest in the platform. The app will be available in Hindi and Tamil in June-July this year. “If everything goes well in next 3 to 5 years, we will have our presence in 7-9 states,” said Naveen, who heads a five-member team.

While the information on app will clear regular doubts of farmers, for specific doubts a farmer can ask questions to a panel which includes agriculture scientist and experts.

NaPanta, an incubatee of International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) also gets the institute’s help in business activity, reaching the farmers and engagement with agri-input companies.

farmers

“With no knowledge of agriculture practices and requirements of a particular farmer, they try to push their products for some extra profit and as a result the farmers either suffer crop losses or end up incurring huge expenditure.” Pixabay

The startup, which can sustain for next six months on its own, is receiving proposals from different investment companies and Naveen says he will go with whoever is close to his idea.

With huge amount of data being generated on the digital platform, Naveen embarked on building big-data architecture with crowd-sourcing information. It is building database with information on major crops in a particular area, major insects which affect a crop, cropping system, sequential cropping model, pesticides and where the farmers sell their produce.

Also Read: Strict Conservation Laws Result in Eviction of Hundreds of Indigenous Karen People in Thailand

He is confident that this data will be a goldmine in the coming years.

“This kind of crowd-sourcing information is not available in the agriculture sector in India. We are getting information from actual farmers and not third parties.” (IANS)