188.8.131.52 Marginal Farms
The farms belonging to that group are, acconding to the local
soil conditions, under 10 acres in size, often less than 5
acres and, therefore, too small to provide a family with work
and subsistence. On account of the scarce amount of land,
they have the highest cropping intensity. The farmers try
to compensate for the lack of land by working intensively.
For the same reason, these farms often have hardly any fodder
growing areas. All of the land must be utilized for producing
foodstuffs in order to ensure self sufficiency. The animals
are fed weeds and grass which the family members collect in
the village area. In this way, a great deal of work has to
be invested and the fodder is often not of the best quality,
but the basis of existence is thus extended. As far as smaller
marginal farms are concerned, this does not suffice, and the
farm operator must offer his work against payment to earn
an additional income. The fact that he is bound to the marginal
faun only allows him to take up work in the immediate vicinity.
In most of the villages, the only opportunity is to find work
as an agricultural labourer on a large farm; therefore, there
is a large number of agricultural labourers who have small
farms. Often, they can only find work during the peak seasons
for cultivating and harvesting, and for constructing houses,
etc. The underemployment rate among this group is high.
These farms are hardly integrated in the market. The farmers
cultivate what they need for their own supply or as barter
goods in the village. It is only when record harvests have
been achieved that they have something to sell. It very often
happens that the reserves are used up before the next harvest
and the people have to incur debts.
This group has little opportunity of utilizing the new technology.
It lacks financial means, credit, access to farm inputs, and
the capacity to take risks. For these farms which produce
for their own supply, the fact that new wheat varieties do
not always correspond to their taste and meet with their requirements
in baking quality plays a very Important role. All the same,
some of them tried to have a share in the great increases
in yields. However, some of them failed. The insufficient
access to extension services allowed mistakes to be made.
Loans were borrowed from moneylenders at high rates of interest
since the banks did not grant them loans because of the great
risk. They did not own plumps, and, thus, it often happened
that the expenditure did not bring the expected return and
the loans could not be refunded.
In the course of time, a differentiation became apparent
within this group. A few of them succeeded in working their
way up into the group of family farms. Inheritance, possibilities
of renting additional land, efficiency, and chance played
a role thereby. A much larger number became indebted and had
to sell part of or all of their land. If the number of marginal
farms has not decreased in spite of this, this is due to the
fact that, as a result of partition due to inheritance, additional
farms moved down into this group. However, it happens more
and more often that this danger is parried by forgoing an
actual distribution. One of the children to whom the other
children lease their share of land assumes the cultivation
of the land.
The participation of this group in the Green Revolution is
insignificant and is often limited to better prospects of
finding employment Quite a number of them even leased their
land to larger farms so as to be free when looking for work,
however, on the whole, the technological change meant a drop
in this groups economic and social conditions.