But this was not enough as the groundnuts were wet and needed to be dried as otherwise they would germinate or get infected with fungus. Since it was raining continuously, the groundnuts could not be dried on the farm. So I carted the groundnuts in my car to Indore, cleared up the guest room in our house and spread the groundnuts on the floor on a jute sheet and put on the fan!! For two days our whole house smelt of groundnuts as they dried under the fan till the rains continued. After that I put them to dry in the sun on our roof. However, this required a constant vigil next to the drying groundnuts because of the threat of squirrels and birds which would come to eat the groundnuts if there was no one around. I had been in the middle of writing a research report for an assignment that I was doing when the groundnut emergency had arisen. So while keeping my vigil on the groundnut I worked on my laptop to finish the report!!
In the case of our groundnuts, the productivity was low due to a variety of reasons. In between the rains had stopped in the month of August just when the groundnuts were filling up with seed. So there were many groundnuts that shrivelled up in the ground itself and many others did not fill up with seed and shrivelled up later when they were sun dried. Before this in July it had rained heavily and led to excessive growth of the plant and less of the groundnuts on the roots.
This brings us face to face with the stark reality of the unfavourable economics of small holder farming which is exposed to the vagaries of nature. The statutory minimum wage for agriculture in Madhya Pradesh is itself low at about Rs 192 per day but even that is too much for the farmer to pay to hired farm hands and so the actual wage rate is only Rs 120 and the small holder farmer also gets that much for his own labour. In most cases the farmer does not have adequate resources to prevent post harvest decay of the crop and so there is sometimes a substantial loss on that count also. All in all the farmer remains trapped in a vicious circle of low production, low income, malnutrition and low investment in agriculture.