For Indian farmers growing opium was not profitable. Explain why?
Indian farmers were reluctant to grow opium for the following reasons :
- Opium had to be grown on the most fertile land, but on this land peasants usually produced pulses which complemented the food needs of farmers.
- Many cultivators owned no land. To cultivate, they had to lease land from landlords and pay rent. The rent charged by the landlords was very high.
- The cultivation of opium was a difficult process. The opium plant was delicate and cultivators had to spend long hours nurturing it. This meant that they did not have enough time to care for other crops.
- The price the government paid to the cultivators for the opium was very low.
- British Government had maintained a monopoly over opium trade due to which the farmers could not sell to other traders.