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Farmers Distress Index: A Proactive Measure for Agricultural Challenges

Farmer Distress Index

Context: The Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA) has initiated the development of a groundbreaking tool, the Farmers Distress Index, aiming to predict and address potential challenges faced by farmers in India.

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Purpose and Functionality

  • The Farmers Distress Index serves as an early warning system to anticipate various issues affecting farmers’ livelihoods, including crop failures, income losses, market fluctuations, and weather-related damages.
  • Its objective is to provide timely alerts through a mobile and desktop application, enabling swift action and intervention by multiple stakeholders, including government bodies and non-governmental organizations.

Methodology and Indicators

  • This index employs a structured approach with 21 standardized questions designed to identify distress signals, particularly among small and marginal farmers, and assesses them against seven key indicators:
    • Exposure to natural calamities like droughts, floods, and pest attacks
    • Debt burden
    • Access to governmental support and schemes
    • Land ownership and irrigation facilities
    • Adaptation strategies and preparedness
    • Immediate triggers like unexpected health expenses
    • Socio-psychological factors and their impacts
  • Values on the index range from 0 to 1, categorizing distress levels as:
    • 0 to 0.5: Low distress
    • 0.5 to 0.7: Moderate distress
    • 0.7 to 1: Severe distress

Significance and Implementation

  • Once operationalized, the index will be accessible to various governmental departments, non-profits, and educational institutions. It will equip these entities to identify and respond promptly to emerging challenges faced by farmers.
  • The proposed solutions include direct financial assistance, creating employment opportunities through schemes, and enhancing provisions in the public distribution system to mitigate the identified shocks.

The Farmers Distress Index stands as a pioneering tool. It enabling proactive measures and targeted interventions to alleviate the hardships encountered by farmers across the nation.

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