Krishi Desh

For Bharat and Bharati

Posts Tagged ‘Agriculture’

Death Knell into the Coffin of Biggest Enterprises Network

Posted by संदीप नारायण शेळके on November 29, 2011


How government is, at first, planning to render the farmers jobless and then spending exchequer’s money to make them employable labors at industries to be setup?

  1. More thank 2.5 Lakh farmers committed suicide in Bharat since 1995. [Read stats]
  2. Maharashtra is leading the chart by accounting for more than 30% suicide cases.
  3. Through policy of freebies, NREGA, controlled market government has paralyzed the farming community.
  4. On one side our food production is not enough e.g. pulses, cereals while whatever being produced is of less nutritional values.
  5. PM lost his sleep when a person was arrested under the charges of terrorist activity in Australia. But he does not talk about 70-75Crore farming population’s agony. Without fail he says there is 70% excess human resources in farming, on what basis he made this statement? Is he following the designs of making this nature loving, agrarian economy into an urbanized industrial economy which will be dependent on foreign countries for food at the end of the day?
  6. I do not oppose promoting modernization or industries but making policies to exploit one section to serve other isn’t a leader is expected to do.
  7. P. Chidambaram propose to convert land owners into industrial labours by acquiring land, setting up businesses and then employing the land owners as labours. For that he propose to setup 1000 training schools. This all on the suggestions of world bank. Did he bother to go and ask the farmers for that matter? No he did not.
  8. Sole question is why not to promote agriculture to the fullest through farmer friendly policies. If at all you want to setup industry have the land owners as partners, share earning with farmer.
  9. E.G. At my in-laws village there is one farmer family who earn Rs. 1Cr per year from pomegranate orchard of 9 acres. Can Mr. MMS and Mr. PC make sure that he will continue to earn this much after industry setup? Not just that my in-laws earn Rs.10-13 Lakh per year in Sugar cane crop from 6 acres while having the luxury to eat fresh vegetables and freedom from pressure. Will he be able to maintain this lifestyle?
  10. Kautilya has clearly asked to develop rural area through agricultural economic activities. Gandhiji too asked for “Gram Swaraj”. And this Harvard/Cambridge tribe of politicians want rampant urbanization that too on behest of world bank/IMF. A question arises then for whom are the policies? are they for us or the IMF/World bank?
  11. Kautilya has emphasized on Aanvikshiki (Philosophy) at the start of the book. Because he want the King/Leader/Minister to be a person with logical reasoning.
  12. Kautilya repetitively speaks about sustainable development. If food is imported then how can it be sustainable?
  13. Kautilya talks of Association with elders and continuous learning. Our politicians seem to be forgetting the importance of the thoughts proposed by our elders and wise at various times.
  14. Society has to become duty centric by shunning right seeking attitude, since exploitation is not a way of human life, exploitation is barbarism.

जय भारत!

 

Posted in Agriculture of Bharat, Bharat, Farmers face Atrocities, Politics, Politics in Agriculture | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Farmer’s “Right To Decide Price”

Posted by संदीप नारायण शेळके on July 24, 2011


I’ve always been wondering about the way prices are decided for farm produces. I’m a farmer’s son and have witnessed the helplessness of the farmer very closely when some people decide the price for the produce bellow expectation/production cost. So by selling their produce at lower cost they incur heavy losses. Forget about profits it becomes very difficult even to recover investment cost, and self labor cost.

Just consider this for a while, you are working at some place and the compensation you receive is not even able to cover your costs of basic needs then how long would you prefer to be at that work without any hope? Whenever you go for interview you people first talk about the salary; negotiate and then only agree to work together. But when it comes to farmer’s produce all but they can decide their produce pricing.

Whats the solution? If we can have “Right to Education”, “Right to Information”, “Right to Freedom”, “Right to Expression” etc. Why not “Farmer’s Right to Decide Price”.

It ain’t a big expectation since all big business houses enjoy this liberty. Take example of Coca-cola, Colgate, Ponds, Lux, Reboke, Nike, Tatas, Ambani, etc. Whats the difference between these big business houses and small farmers (though I don’t consider farming merely a business since it helps you live better, its a great service to human being)?

My expectation is simple: “Farmers Right to Decide Price must be recognized”.

What right does govt have in fixing price for my produce? If they feel certain class is not able to eat that food due to price they can subsidies them directly but must refrain from controlling prices of my produce. Surprisingly they don’t control prices for the produce/service of the big business houses. E.g. recently de-controlled petroleum prices.

P.S. I know my English skills are average but I hope I’ve clearly said whats rightly mine.

Jai Bharat!

Related Post: Why farmers commit suicide?

Posted in Agricultural Produce, Agriculture of Bharat, Prices | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

How many farmers committed suicide since 1995?

Posted by संदीप नारायण शेळके on July 23, 2011


This poll is to gauge the awareness about the serious issue of Farmers Suicides in Bharat.

Please do not use Internet search to find the answer, if you don’t know please select ‘don’t know’.

PS: No personal information would be shared with anyone.

Jai Bharat!

Related Posts:

Posted in Agriculture of Bharat, Farmer's Suicides | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Farmers Suicide – So true and touchy

Posted by संदीप नारायण शेळके on March 25, 2011


Saint Soldier feat Sukhraj – Farmers Suicide

Posted in Agriculture of Bharat, Farmer's Suicides, Farmers face Atrocities, Politics in Agriculture | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

What will I do with the money? Eat it? – A farmer

Posted by संदीप नारायण शेळके on October 1, 2010


Industrializing India leaves little room for farmers

Courtesy- (Reuters)

Jagdishji Vaghela is one of hundreds of thousands of farmers standing in the way of India’s breakneck economic expansion.

Determined not to give up his land for an industrial park in the western state of Gujarat, the 55-year-old farmer scorns at talk of how the benefits of industrialization in Asia’s third-largest economy will trickle down to people like him.

Despite a nearby plant producing what is touted as the world’s cheapest car, he pointed to a water-logged track leading to his village. “What is this development they are talking about? Look at the road, it’s completely flooded,” Vaghela said.

“I won’t give it (land) away. If we give it what do we do? We will have to search for jobs, but even they are not available.”

As India industrializes rapidly, resistance from farmers such as Vaghela and rows over acquisition of farmland for industry have become a sensitive issue in a country where two-thirds of the 1.2 billion population is dependent on agriculture.

But Vaghela knows his options are limited.

Farm income is declining, his crops have repeatedly failed and if he holds out too long, he risks having the land lose its value as it remains a land-locked enclave between factories.

The uncertain future he and other farmers like him across the country face has led to a string of violent protests against attempts to acquire land for factories, power plants or roads, posing a risk to India’s economic ambitions.

“The bigger picture is that land is an issue. It is one of those areas that India needs to up its game,” Kevin Grice, senior international economist at Capital Economics in London, said.

“India scores relatively poorly and it is due to micro issues like land, red tape and cumbersome laws,” he said, referring to India’s 133 position in the World Bank’s ranking of ease of doing business.

While few believe foreign interest in India will taper off, these issues could delay a much needed acceleration in the amount of foreign investment pouring into the country.

BREWING DISCONTENT

How India soothes the discontent brewing amongst the tens of thousands of farmers may determine the economic and political future of the country where the rural population is a crucial vote base for both ruling and opposition parties.

Mindful of the social and security concerns, top ruling politicians have said acquisitions should skirt fertile and productive land, and farmers ought to be adequately compensated and offered alternate jobs.

The issue may become a political hot potato this year, with the ruling Congress party championing farmers despite clamor from industry and investors to make it easier to acquire land.

Vaghela says he and his fellow villagers had high hopes when Tata Motors decided to set up in Sanand the plant that builds the $2,500 Nano car, after huge protests forced India’s top vehicle maker to relocate in 2009 from West Bengal state.

“We had great expectations from the Nano plant, that we’d get money, we’d get jobs. But what has come out of it? None of our people have got jobs. We don’t have the qualifications.”

Protests can scupper projects, as Vedanta Resources discovered last month when the government shelved the UK-based miner’s $9.6-billion plan to mine bauxite on lands in the eastern state of Orissa held sacred by indigenous groups.

Other high profile projects, like those by top steelmakers ArcelorMittal, POSCO and Tata Steel to set up mills, too have been held up as they face problems in getting land from farmers.

Under the current law, the state can take over any land for a public purpose with little compensation.

Protests against land acquisitions are not new in India, but have become more visible recently as the economy grows at its fastest pace ever and as income inequalities widen.

But there is growing realization that compensation must be adequate if industrialization has to proceed smoothly, with the government considering changes that will offer the owners market rates and even equity stakes in the industries being set up.

RISKS FOR INDUSTRY, GROWTH

Land promises to be a politically charged issue in crucial state elections this year and next, especially after the ruling Congress party backed farmers protesting against a highway being built on their lands in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

At Sanand, the government had initially faced protests, but much of it has calmed down after it hiked compensation by a third to nearly 4.86 million rupees ($105,000) per acre.

While this might be a fortune for many where annual per capita income is $3,100, the figure hides the fact there are many people dependent on the same plot of land and farmers have mortgaged land and racked up debt with usurious moneylenders.

In Siyawada village, Kanjibhai Parmar, the 60-year-old patriarch of a seven-member household, has just inked his approval for handing over nearly 13 acres of land.

Over two-thirds of that land is with a moneylender, whose dues have doubled to 600,000 rupees in two years. He borrowed the money after his crops failed repeatedly.

“The government has opened up one more way to survive, selling off our land. Else we would have mortgaged it,” he said. “With the money, we will repay our debt, buy a tractor and get land elsewhere.”

But for smaller farmers like 40-year-old Nanjibhai Karsanbhai, who has 12 family members on his 7-acre plot, there will be little left over to purchase land.

“I have no other land, I won’t give it up,” he said. “What will I do with the money? Eat it?”

Welcome your comments about the Industrialization and Agriculture in Bharat.
Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan.

Posted in Agriculture of Bharat | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Rahul Baba, IPL3, MNIK-Movie and Massacre of farmers begin

Posted by संदीप नारायण शेळके on February 10, 2010


Ref-vidarbha agrarian crisis-2010 PRESS-NOTE Dated-09th feb.2010
– Six vidarbha Farmer Suicides reported in last two days due to Drought :VJAS urged Indian Agri. Minister Sharad Pawar to look at dying (read killing of) vidarbha farmers in place of IPL-3 Cricket .

Vidarbha farmers suicide spiral is likely to restart after the MH State Govt. declared drought in 14,059 villages in vidarbha due to complete crop failure that has increased despondency and gloom as six more farm suicides reported in last two days in west vidarbha ,three are from yavatmal district ,two from akola and one from wardha ,these are district which are covered under mega multi thousand crore Prime Minister Relief Package being implemented sine july-2006, informed Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti in press note .

The innocent farmers who killed themselves in last two days are due to vidarbha agrarian crisis

1. Chandu rathode of mohdari in Yavatmal
2. Gajanan manchelwar of pandharkawada in Yavatmal
3. Gajanan wankhede of Asara in Yavatmal
4. Vinod kale from Nindipeth in Akola
5. Manoj more of unkhed in Akola
6. Raju bobde of sawli wagh in Wardha

Recetaly maharashtra Govt. has declared more than 140000 villages of vidarbha as drought hit after last Anewari (crop yield estimate) given administration has been shown around 45% that’s complete loss cotton crop in the region.
As per administration reports these villages have been facing following problems
1. Water,
2. Fodder,
3. Food and
4. Employment

Even after these problems till date not a single district administration has started relief work. This is resulting in migration of thousands of farmers in search of work and food.
Ground condition is worst than June-2006 and now it’s time for Indian prime minister to revisit the Vidarbha in order to take review of his relief package,Tiwari urged.

VJAS urged Indian Agri. Minister Sharad Pawar to look at dying vidarbha farmers in place of IPL-3 Cricket.

Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti in letter to faxed today to agriculture minister sharad to pay attention to the severe agrarian crisis of maharashtra and spare some time from his busy schedule of IPL-3 cricket.

It has long pending demand of vidarbha dying farmers to have fulltime Agriculture Minister who can attend issues of free health care, food security, rural employment, fodder to save dying cattle ,drinking water to rural masses and cattle on priority basis so that prevailing acute distress can be minimize and farmers suicides can be controlled,Tiwari said.

I urge to BJP, Shivsena and MNS leaders please set up a fight against government policies in order to bring in the changes needed to resolve to farmer crisis. This issue is far more important, morally correct and importantly politically correct. Also it is far better than fighting against MNIK-My Name Is Khan (carry on that too with your wish but consider this one too).
Dear Congress leaders please pay attention to this matter as well. Will earn you more votes and respect in “aam aadami” (if aam aadami’s definition includes farmers too). No one would threaten/hurt Rahul Gandhi for sure if he takes some steps to solve this problem.
…..

When will all this stop? Can we do something?
Can we propose solution to this matter with some rigorous discussions? I think we can. Then lets offer some solution.


Here is what I think:
1. Survey the water resources, soil quality in these areas.
2. Solve the problem of food and drinking water on priority.
3. Stop BT Cotton seed and promote traditional seed.
4. Raise the minimum support prise for cotton, soyabin, onion, sugarcane…
5. Offer insurance at minimum premium to farmers with every loan
6. Make arrangements local Krishi Market at each taluka level.
7. Eliminate the dalals or bring in transparency.
8. Set up separate department for organic fertilizers development

जय भारत!

Posted in Agriculture of Bharat, Farmer's Suicides, Indian Agriculture, Politics fo GM/BT, Politics in Agriculture | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Why a Farmer commits Suicide? Analysis…

Posted by संदीप नारायण शेळके on February 2, 2010


I’m going to write a series of posts to discuss farmer suicide reasons to length and breadth. Alongside would try to find some solutions to this problem.

I came across various assumptions, facts and hypocrisy about the causes of farmer suicides. It is really very sad on the part of Bharat Sarkar (GOI) and state governments that they have not yet dug into the roots of the issue. They are busy creating a feel good environment by declaring loan waiver, subsidies and some immediate help. The government will go to the victims house will declare Rs. 100000/200000 or whatever moderate amount enough for a year or two. If that is the case then why not to give such money in advance than later?

Basically we, as responsible citizens, need to question the government and representatives about the suicide reports and reasons of suicide. If a single farmer suicide in NY, USA makes whole country upset and does a primary study with suggestions, then why we, Bharatiya, don’t consider this? Aren’t we aware of that more than 200000 (2 lakh) farmers have committed suicide since 1995?

There were more than 16400 suicides in the year of 2008 amidst all loan waivers and subsidies. And after the bad 2009 the number is supposedly uncontrolled.

(Being a farmer) Here is what I think about the reasons of farmer suicides:

  1. Consistently failing crops
    1. Costly and less productive seeds (BT/GM?)
    2. Water scarcity
    3. (forced) Chemical fertilizers usage
    4. Electricity problems
  2. Large cost of seeding and cultivation
  3. Panchnama (Inspection) by government officials after natural/man made calamity
  4. Transport problems
  5. Storage and Preservation problems.
  6. Fluctuating rates (at the hands of dalals/agents) of farm produce
  7. Insufficient food processing facilities
  8. Politics of agriculture
  9. GM/BT effect
  10. Missing guidance and proper planning (???)
  11. Commercialization (???)

I’ll try to elaborate each and every point with evidences and possible statistics. Will also try to get some testimonials of farmers in following few posts.

Please send me your comments, suggestions and corrections…

धन्यवाद!

जय भारत!

Posted in Agricultural Produce, Agriculture of Bharat, Farmer's Suicides, Farmers face Atrocities, Form Factors, Indian Agriculture, Politics fo GM/BT, Politics in Agriculture, Prices, Yield | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

SC worried about Farmer’s Suicides due to Starvation, Poverty & Indebtedness; But GOI isn’t

Posted by संदीप नारायण शेळके on January 22, 2010


Expressing serious concern over the increasing incidents of suicide by farmers due to starvation, poverty and other reasons, the Supreme Court issued directive to Centre to come out with “mirco-level steps to prevent such suicides”. This directive came in on Monday, 18 Jan, 2010.

Take micro-level steps to prevent farmers’ suicides: SC

What a tragedy, court needs to direct, so called socialists and social workers, about the farmers problems…

The Chief Justice told the counsel the problem differed from area to area.  “It needs to be addressed at the local level. Farmers often go to money-lenders as they give money without security. You tell us what the schemes are or packages you have for farmers, whether these schemes reach the farmers, and how far it has reduced indebtedness. You should also collect the latest data,” he said….

Why don’t these politicians, who go to farmers and labors to seek their votes, understand the pain farmers suffer? Or is it that they don’t want to acknowledge? The local representatives are so engraved in selfish and corrupt acts that they turned diff and dumb towards the problems of common man. These are the same selfish, greedy creatures who become angels and god/goddess in election days.

The CJI also asked the petitioner to come out with suggestions so that the court could give some positive directions to the government on the next date of hearing after six weeks….

Why is government elected?  Is this what for people elected government? I suspect the government has re-elected itself (May be EVM scam). Because as I see this government has failed in each aspect.

No security, No law, No food, Farmers & students are committing suicide. Textile mill workers have been fighting for 28 years to get their rights but no success. Vidharbha(farmer suicide epicenter) economic/developmental backlog of 1994 is still not completed (expected to complete by 2012). No developments on food, water crisis.

“All is well, because we don’t care”

Are they, elected representatives, unable to handle the issues? If that is the case then they have no right to stay in power.  Please, pave way to able and efficient leadership..

No channel, newspaper talk about such issues. (Who owns these media houses?)

No expert is needed to answer these questions. It is just that we have week opposition party and sleeping citizens..

जय भारत!

Posted in Agriculture of Bharat | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Farmer Suicides Continues….

Posted by संदीप नारायण शेळके on January 16, 2010


I’m starting a series of posts (One for each month) where these posts will contain the news of suicides by farmers. I will stop publishing these posts once the suicides are stopped completely. Most of the farmer suicides are due to crop failure, debt,  bureaucratic torture, likewise state and center policy victims. I hope to stop such posts at the earliest.
Here is the reporting for Jan 2010:

Bakura: A farmer poisoned to death his wife and children by serving them with poison-laced food before eating the same and committing suicide in Taldangra, Bankura, on Sunday night.

It was debt and poverty which led Debdulal Ghosh, a habitual gambler, to take the extreme step, said police. The other deceased have been identified as Bandana Ghosh (38), Seema (16) and Subhankar (8).

“Ghosh’s body was recovered from a field near his house this afternoon. Primary investigations have revealed that poverty and debt led to the incident,” said Bankura SP Vishal Garg.

….

Hubli: A farmer in Shanwad village of Navalgund taluk in Dharwad district of Karnataka allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself, frustrated as he was unable to repay a loan, police said today.

The farmer, identified as Rachayya Hiremath (48), had taken a loan of Rs two lakh in State Bank of India (SBI), another Rs two lakh from private financers and Rs 6000 from a Cooperative Bank for agricultural operations and to conduct the marriage of his daughter.

But due to crop loss following unseasonal heavy rains, he could not repay the loan

>> Davangere farmer ends life, 19 Jan 2010

DAVANGERE: A farmer on learning that his land pledged with a private financier, had been sold to someone else, committed suicide at Hadadi village, about 18 km from here, on Sunday.

According to the police, Ningappa had pledged 3.7 acres of land with the financier here. He approached the financier saying that he would clear the interest that was due and that he be allowed to cultivate the land. But the financier told Ningappa that the land had been sold. Following this, the farmer consumed poison and died.

>> Farmer commits suicide in Sundargarh, 16 Jan 2010

Rourkela: A debt-ridden farmer committed suicide by consuming pesticide in Orissa’s Sundergarh, taking the toll of such peasants to six in the district.
Khiti Bhushan Kumura (45) of Darlipalli village in Tangarpalli block of the district took the extreme step yesterday, police said.
Kumura, father of three children, ended his life due to loan burden and crop loss, his wife Ambika said.
She told police that her husband had taken a loan of Rs 19,000 from a nationalised bank in 2008 and again Rs 28,000 from a village cooperative and invested in kharif and rabi crops.
But the kharif crops were damaged due to scanty rainfall while the rabi crops were lost due to pest attack, she said, adding Kumura was disturbed for the past one week after receiving a notice from the bank for repayment of loan.

>> One Farmer Reportedly Commits Suicide, 15 Jan 2010

Sundergarh : Another farmer suicide happened in Sundergarh district. A farmer namely Chaitu Kumuda of Sardipalli area of this district has committed suicide by taking pesticide. He were taken to the hospital but the doctor declared him dead. Earlier five farmer alleged suicide in the district. Now the farmer suicide in the district toll is six.

Bidar, 13 Jan 2010.

BIDAR: In the continuing saga of farmers’ suicides, another debt-ridden farmer of Chillargi village in Bidar taluka committed suicide by hanging on Monday night. According to reports, farmer Sanjeev Vishwanath (30) was found hanging from the ceiling of his house by his family members. The farmer is survived by his wife and two children.

A case has been registered at the Janwada Police Station.

>> Farmer suicide (Pesticide Kills another farmer), 5 Jan 2010

CHICKABALLAPUR: A debt-ridden farmer committed suicide by consuming pesticide in Gauribidanur taluk of Chickaballapur district. The police said Sreenivasa (38) of Hirebidanur village consumed pesticide on Saturday night. He was rushed to a hospital in Bangalore but he died there on Sunday. Sreenivasa, who had cultivated marigold, is said to have incurred a debt of around Rs. 2.5 lakh.

>> Admn probing Rourkela suicide, 02 Jan 2010

ROURKELA: An administrative inquiry into suicide of a young loanee farmer Guru Charan Naik is yet to arrive at any conclusion.

Naik, a marginal farmer of village Kirei in Sundargarh Sadar block, consumed poison on Monday afternoon. Investigation revealed on the fateful day, Naik had left his house in the forenoon. On return, he requested a motor-cyclist to drop him at his house and on the way he told the motor-cyclist that he consumed poison. Reports said he availed a cooperative loan of Rs 11,000 in September, 2008, which mounted to Rs 12,198 with interest. Two days before his death Naik had also took a private loan of Rs 14,000 in his wife Aswani’s name on a promise to return Rs 300 a week. Aswini said her husband was under mental strain for poor crop yield this season and crumbling family economy. Besides his wife, Naik was looking after his visually-challenged father, a five-year-old son and two unmarried women relatives by cultivating 2.5 acres of virtually barren land. At times he worked as daily labourer. Attributing the suicide to poor crop yield and loan burden, Sundargarh District Congress president RK Sarangi demanded compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the bereaved family and employment assistance to the widow. Tahasildar Prahlad Pradhan said they are awaiting more information before drawing any conclusion, but admitted Naik suffered crop loss this season. An ex gratia of Rs 5,000 and rice for two months were provided to the family.

I remember we used to chant “अन्नदाता सुखी भवं| (Annadata Sukhi Bhavam, means the food donor/provider be always healthy and happy)” after lunch/dinner along with our grandfather. Nowadays I do not follow that. What a gratitude our grandparents (and ancestors) had for the labor that went before the food ready to eat. It includes farmers, labors, and cook, and now we don’t even bother to know about their condition and even dont recognize their existence.
Land lords and Sahukars (private money lenders)  keep exploiting the class in need and we don’t feel the necessity to raise voice against that because we dont feel the heat directly though we feel indirectly through inflation. This (our ignorance) is a pyre we are preparing (not only for farmers but) for ourselves and future generations because when the current generation’s 40% farmers are not willing to farm the food scarcity is inevitable. And to tell the fate of our future no astrologer is needed. So citizens wake and join the effort to stop atrocities on farmers. Report every exploitation/torture you hear/see, oppose wherever possible, help farmers as long as feasible.
जय भारत!

Posted in Agriculture of Bharat, Farmers face Atrocities, Indian Agriculture | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Kill them all. Farmers do not deserve life. (forget good/bad)

Posted by संदीप नारायण शेळके on January 11, 2010


While reading on the internet about farmer suicides I came across P. Sainath’s very thought provocative article; which has enough information to understand the situation which forces Bharatiya farmers towards suicide. I’ve consolidated the statistics and probable reasons of farmer’s suicide (massacre) from this article on Counter Punch and from other resources like NCRB.

*************** The Largest Wave of Suicides in History:  P. SAINATH ********************

The Spate of Suicide in Bharatiya Farmers:

  • Number of farmers who have committed suicide 1997 and 2007  –  is staggering 182,936.
  • Nearly 2/3 suicides have occurred in 5 states (out of 28 states & seven union territories).
  • Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh
  • These states account for just about 1/3 of the country’s population but 2/3 of farmers’ suicides.
  • Farm suicides have also been rising in some other states of the country very rapidly example Odisa.
  • As many as 8 million people quit farming between the two censuses of 1991 and 2001.
  • Also the large-scale survey shows that given a chance almost 40% farmers are willing to quit farming permanently.
  • These suicide data is official and tends to be huge underestimate, suicide data in India is collated by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
  • Women farmers are not normally accepted as farmers. They do the bulk of work in agriculture – but are just “farmers’ wives.” This classification enables governments to exclude countless women farmer suicides. Which will be recorded as suicide deaths – but not as “farmers’ suicides.”
  • The spate of farm suicides accompanies India’s embrace of the brave new world of neo-liberalism.
  • The farmer suicide risen in every five years:
    • 1997 – 2001,   78,737 (or 15,747 a year on average).
    • 2002 – 2006,   87,567 (or 17,513 a year on average).
    • 2001 onwards, one farmer took his or her life every 30 minutes on average.
    • The 2007 figures (detailed below) place that year, too, in the higher trend.

  • What do the farm suicides have in common?
    • Those who have taken their lives were deep in debt.
    • Peasant households in debt doubled in the first decade of the neoliberal “economic reforms,” from 26 per cent of farm households to 48.6 per cent.
    • In Andhra Pradesh 82 per cent of all farm households were in debt by 2001-02.
    • Those who killed themselves were overwhelmingly cash crop farmers – growers of cotton, coffee, sugarcane, groundnut, pepper, vanilla. (Suicides are fewer among food crop farmers – that is, growers of rice, wheat, maize, pulses.)
    • The brave new world philosophy mandated countless millions of Third World farmers forced to move from food crop cultivation to cash crop (the mantra of “export-led growth”).
    • For millions of subsistence farmers in India, this meant:
      • Much higher cultivation costs,
      • Far greater loans,
      • Much higher debt, and
      • Locked into the volatility of global commodity prices.
    • Global commodities sector dominated by a handful of multinational corporations, with vested interest in profit-making only.
    • The extent to which the switch to cash crops impacts on the farmer can be seen in this:
      • Cost Rs. 8,000 ($165 today) roughly to grow an acre of paddy in Kerala.
      • Whereas for vanilla, the cost per acre was (in 2003-04) almost Rs.150,000

  • Seed Cost – an exploitation of the needy by Govt and Corporate?
    • Giant seed companies displaced cheap hybrids and far cheaper and hardier traditional varieties with their own products.
    • A cotton farmer in Monsanto’s net would be paying far more for seed than he or she ever dreamed they would. Local varieties and hybrids were squeezed out with enthusiastic state support. (Why did state support such thing? Who were the scholars consulted before this decision? Aren’t the agricultural experts also accountable along with the agriculture ministry?)
    • In 1991, a kilogram of local seed cost Rs.7 – 9 in today’s worst affected region of Vidarbha, Maharashtra.
    • By 2003, Rs.350 for a bag with 450 grams of hybrid seed. i.e. Rs.780/Kg
    • By 2004, Monsanto’s partners in India marketed a bag of 450 grams of Bt cotton seed for between Rs.1,650 and Rs.1,800 ($33 to $36). This price brought down dramatically overnight due to strong governmental intervention in Andhra Pradesh, where the government changed after the 2004 elections. The price fell to around Rs.900 ($18) – still many times higher than 1991 or even 2003.
  • Inequality among the “Emerging Tiger” nations of the developing world.
    • The predatory commercialization of the countryside devastated all other aspects of life for peasant farmer and landless workers.
    • Health costs, for instance, skyrocketed.
    • Many thousands of youngsters dropped out of both school and college to work on their parents’ farms (including many on scholarships).
    • The average monthly per capita expenditure of the Indian farm household was just Rs.503 (ten dollars) by early this decade. Of that, 60 per cent roughly spent on food and another 18 per cent on fuel, clothing and footwear. (Just imagine a young IT pro spends Rs. 500 for movie on weekend, of course pro earns it, so has right to spend it. But the situation can boom-rang anytime)

  • Farmers are number one food buyers?
    • Millions of small and marginal Indian farmers are net purchasers of food grain.
    • They cannot produce enough to feed their families and have to work on the fields of others and elsewhere to meet the gap.
    • Having to buy some of the grain they need on the market, they are profoundly affected by hikes in food prices, as has happened since 1991, and particularly sharply this year.  (We have seen “Dal – Rs.110/Kg, Sugar Rs.40/KG” which made a decent (Rs. 15k/month) salary earner think twice before buying)
    • Hunger among those who produce food is a very real thing.
    • Additionally, fact is that the “per capita net availability” of food grain has fallen dramatically among Indians since the “reforms” began:  from 510 grams per Indian per day in 1991, to 422 grams by 2005. (That’s not a drop of 88 grams. It’s a fall of 88 multiplied by 365 and then by one billion Indians. That is 3,21,20,000  tons of food grain shortage compared to 1991)
    • As Prof. Utsa Patnaik, India’s top economist on agriculture, has been constantly pointing out, the average poor family has about 100 kg less today than it did just ten years ago
    • The élite eat like it’s going out of style.
    • For many, the shift from food crop to cash crop makes it worse. At the end of the day, you can still eat your paddy. It’s tough, digesting cotton.
    • Even the food crop sector is coming steadily under corporate price-rigging control.
    • Speculation in the futures markets pushed up grain prices across the globe earlier this year. (Why do we need commodities trading at the hands of people who don’t have any idea about it? In the name of free trade we are killing traditional farmers. Our farm produce must have given higher preference, but unfortunately it did not happen and we see the results now 200000+ farmer suicides.)

  • Cash Crunch – All is for Urban Dwellers:
    • The neoliberal model that pushed growth through one kind of consumption also meant re-directing huge amounts of money away from rural credit to fuel the lifestyles of the aspiring elites of the cities (and countryside, too).
    • Thousands of rural bank branches shut down during the 15 years from 1993-2007.
    • Even as incomes of the farmers crashed, so did the price they got for their cash crops, thanks to obscene subsidies to corporate and rich farmers in the West, from the U.S. and EU.
    • Their battle over cotton subsidies alone (worth billions of dollars) destroyed cotton farmers not merely in India but in African nations such as Burkina Faso, Benin, Mali, and Chad.
    • India kept reducing investment in agriculture (standard neoliberal procedure).
    • Life is being made more and more impossible for small farmers.
    • As costs rose, credit dried up. Debt went out of control. Subsidies destroyed their prices. Starving agriculture of investment (worth billions of dollars each year) smashed the countryside.
    • India even cut most of the few, pathetic life supports she had for her farmers.
    • The mess was complete and from the late-’90s, the suicides began to occur at what then seemed a brisk rate.
    • In fact, India’s agrarian crisis can be summed up in five words (call it Ag Crisis 101): the drive toward corporate farming.
    • The route (in five words): predatory commercialization of the countryside. The result: The biggest displacement in our history.

  • Corporate Farming on the horizon:
    • Corporations do not as yet have direct control of Indian farming land and do not carry out day-to-day operations directly.
    • But they have sewn up every other sector, inputs, outlets, marketing, prices.
    • And now are heading for control of water as well (which states in India are busy privatizing in one guise or another).

  • किसानोने  भर  दी इंडिया में  जान, इंडियाने  लेली  किसानो  कि  जान:
    • The largest number of farm suicides is in the state of Maharashtra.
    • Home to the Mumbai Stock Exchange and with its capital Mumbai being home to 21 of India’s 51 dollar billionaires and over a fourth of the country’s 100K dollar millionaires.
    • Mumbai shot to global attention when terrorists massacred 180 people in the city in a grisly strike in November.
    • In the state of which Mumbai is capital, there have been 40,666 farmers’ suicides since 1995, with very little media attention.
    • Mumbai have 21 billionaires and a 25k millionaire just to make sure media does not notice the massacre (by neo-liberal policies and development) of 40,666 farmers since 1995.

  • Farmers’ suicides in Maharashtra:
    • It crossed the 4,000-mark in 2007, for the third time in four years, according to the NCRB, that is 25.48% of total national suicides.
    • As many as 4,238 farmers took their lives in the state in 2007, the latest for which data are available, accounting for a fourth of all the 16,632 farmers’ suicides in the country.
    • That national total represents a slight fall from the 17,060 farm suicides of 2006. But the broad trends of the past decade seem unshaken.
    • Farm suicides in the country since 1997 – 2007 are total 182,936.
Year MH Total Bharat Total
1995 1083 -
1996 1981 -
1997 1917 13622
1998 2409 16015
1999 2423 16082
2000 3022 16603
2001 3536 16415
2002 3695 17971
2003 3836 17164
2004 4147 18241
2005 3926 17131
2006 4453 17060
2007 4238 16632
Total 40666 182936

Source: FinalReport_SFM_IGIDR_26Jan06 : report is accepted by Govt of Maharashtra, NCRB data.

  • The five worst affected states:
    • Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh
    • These states account for two-thirds of all farmers’ suicides in India. Together, they saw 11,026 in 2007.
    • Maharashtra alone accounted for over 38 per cent (4,238).
    • Andhra Pradesh saw a decline of 810 suicides against its 2006 total (1,797).
    • Karnataka saw a rise of 415 over the same period (2,135).
    • Madhya Pradesh posted a decline of 112 (1,375).
    • Chattisgarh’s farm suicides mean an increase of 110 over 2006 (1,593).
    • Specific factors in these states nourish the problem.
      • These are zones of highly diversified,
      • Commercialized agriculture where cash crops dominate.
      • Water stress has been a common feature, and gets worse with the use of technologies such as Bt seed that demand huge amounts of water.
      • High external inputs and input costs are also common, as also the use of chemicals and pesticides.

In the end I’ll say this mindless deregulation lit a lot of pyres and dug a lot of graves. So what are we doing? Are we ready to support initiatives to discuss these issues in public and support others who are fighting for farmer’s cause? Aren’t we indebted by the farmers for the food produced by them?

“कृषितोनास्ति दुर्भिक्षं” – Dearth of farming is famine.

Welcome your thoughts and comments….


जय भारत!

Posted in Agriculture of Bharat | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

 
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