October 9, 2018 12:05 AM NPT
Record high fuel prices and the surging costs of fertilizers are hitting India’s 263 million farmers and other agriculture workers, who together make up about half of India’s 1.3 billion people. The hike in import costs could not have come at worse time for farmers, already hit by lower crop prices following abundant harvests. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also faces an election next year and needs the support of India’s farmers who voted overwhelmingly for him in 2014. A fall in rural incomes risks jeopardizing their support next year. Diesel prices have surged 18 percent while the Indian rupee has fallen by 16.1 percent, to an all-time low against the dollar, since January.