Farmers Distress Index


01:19 PM

1 min read
Farmers Distress Index Blog Image


The Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), an institution under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) started working on a kind of an early warning system called ‘farmers distress index.

About Farmers Distress Index:


  • Aim: The main aim behind creating such an index is to minimise the agrarian distress in the form of crop loss / failure and income shock.
  • The index will try to anticipate this distress and prevent its spread from a few farmers to the village or block level by pre-warning different stakeholders, including central, state, local and also non-government agencies.


Methodology to track distress

  • The first step will be to look for incidence of farmers distress like localised cases of issues with debt repayment, death by suicide, pest attacks, drought, floods, migration, among others. 
  • Following this, contacts of marginal and small farmers or tenant farmers from the area will be collected to conduct telephonic interviews, which will have 21 standardised questions to gauge early signs of distress.
  • The answers will be mapped against seven indicators:
    • Exposure to droughts, floods, crop failure due to pest attacks, livestock deaths
    • Debt
    • Adaptive capacity of farmer and local government through different schemes
    • Land holding and irrigation facilities.
    • Sensitivity, mitigation and adaptation strategies like growing of contingency crops if main crop fails.
    • Triggers for immediate distress like health-related expenditure.
    • Socio-psychological factors and impacts. 


What will the index look like?

  • The index will have values from 0-1. A value between 0-0.5 will indicate ‘low distress’, 0.5-0.7 will indicate ‘moderate’ distress and above 0.7 will indicate ‘severe’ distress. 
  • If the index is severe, it will identify which component, among the seven, is more severe and contributes maximum to farmers’ distress. 
  • The index is currently being worked out in the form of a mobile or desktop application. 
  • After completion of the ongoing work, CRIDA will be handing over the index to the central government and it will be made available to different state governments, agriculture departments, rural development departments, agriculture universities,


Q1) What is A drought?

A drought is a prolonged period of abnormally dry weather, usually resulting in a scarcity of water. It is a natural phenomenon that can occur in various regions around the world. Droughts can have significant impacts on agriculture, water supplies, ecosystems, and human communities.

Explainer: What is the Farmers Distress Index?