“My children are healthier now and I guarantee a more healthy and strong next generation” Mr.M.Ponmuthu says it with all pride. Mr.Ponmuthu is a Palladam based farmer who does natural farming since 2015. Happiness does not only depend on the farm income, but also on the individual characteristics. The individual characteristics tended to be more important determinants of well-being that were farm structure dimensions. Farm size and income measures had minor effects on self-ratings of well-being, another research study reveals.
Well-being is a positive result that is meaningful for people and for many segments of society, which tells us that they perceive that their lives are going well. Subjective Well-Being (SWB) is characterized as „a person‟s cognitive and affective assessment of his or her life. SWB encompasses moods and emotions as well as evaluations of one’s satisfaction with general and specific areas of one’s life.
Figure 1– Mr.M.Ponmuthu – Happiness in Healthy You !
Conventional farming is typically high resource and energy intensive, but also highly productive; those Modern farming practices are referred to farming systems which include the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other continual inputs, genetically modified organisms, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, heavy irrigation, intensive tillage, or concentrated monoculture production. Its evident from the newspaper and reports on farmer deaths from different parts of the country, that Indian Farmers are not happy. Neither the consumers of farm produces are happy. Visit to hospitals, health check up and dependency on chemical food supplements have become part of their everyday life.
Thanks to Covid there is increasing consumer awareness on health and environmental fronts which has motivated the producers to change to sustainable agricultural practices. Natural farming is sustainable and is based on the understanding of the ecosystem and nurtures the relationships between organisms and their environment. There is a huge demand for goods that are naturally grown. The increasing awareness has caused shifts in consumer preferences which have led to the domestic as well as global rise in demand for organic agricultural produces. Interviews with farmers shifted to sustainable organic farming and/or natural way of farming reveals their contentment on their profession.
Mr.M.Ponmuthu, a natural farmer says it proud and loud,
“I am healthy – I don’t consume poison; I am happy – I don’t sell poison anymore”.
Healthy Life leading to Happiness : There could be a rural urban difference in Subjective Well-being (SWB) as there is a marked difference in objective (socioeconomic) measures of well-being opines Gareth Davey, et al (2007). Their study has measured SWB within a sample of Chinese peasants living in a remote farming village. The results show that despite their relatively low socio-economic conditions, the rural residents‟ satisfaction levels were within the normative range for the Chinese population, and generally did not differ significantly from a previously published study in an affluent Chinese region(Hong Kong) . In-depth interviews with participants had revealed that the lower living conditions in the rural area are not adverse to drive SWB below the normative range. This cannot be the same in India as most of our farmers still relate income to happiness.
Changes in the structure of agriculture have had significant consequences for the quality of life experienced by farm operators states, Molnar, J.J, says, in his research article. Further he puts forward that Quality of life is a global construct and implies a sense of well-being or contentment with one’s life situation or experience.
Retrieving Health and Happiness: I would contradict on the point that farming as a less attractive career path. We see many first-generation entrepreneurs venturing into farming now. Younger generation show keen interest in Agri-tech ventures in the recent past. A commerce graduate and software developer both from Tanjore presently living in Muscat and Bangalore are planning to grow millets and traditional rice varieties in Thanjavur. Neither of their families have a farming background. Age is not a barrier; a 17-year-old boy and his younger sister have sourced indigenous cow breeds from Gujarath, Rajasthan and Tamilnadu for A2 milk production near Palladam in Coimbatore. A healthcare businessman from Vilankurichi, Coimbatore says “to produce quality food from your own land is a sense of pride”.
Of course, there has always been a handsome return from my coconut plantation in Karamadai and onion fields in Sathyamangalam, says this businessman turned farmer. India has only a few big farms; the rest are left with highly fragmented land. The determinants of well-being were particularly difficult to specify among large farm operators. We are into building a healthy society and better lifestyle for farmers says the founder of Keerakadai, Mr.G.Sriram Prasad. Keerakadai based in Coimbatore supplies more than 40 varieties of fresh naturally grown greens to the city dwellers. In fact, he has shared in a post on Better India website that his venture had started only from roof top garden which later brought small farmers who could supply. This is truly a successful effort that has made farmers and consumers to stay healthy and happy. With cooperative type of farming picking up in India in the shape of farmer producer Companies, the availability of inputs and funds have become a reality. Farmer is supplying the natural grown food without any chemical residues; the assured income keeps him happy. We consume fresh naturally grown food that keeps us, healthy. Live with nature, love nature; lead a healthy and happy life !