Hundreds of Thousands of Indian Farmers Commit Suicide
Posted by feww on September 9, 2015
300,000 Indian farmers have killed themselves since 1995 due to unmanageable debt and severe drought
About a third of a million Indian farmers have killed themselves in the past two decades mainly due to the pressure of unmanageable debt caused by exorbitantly-priced genetically modified (GM) seeds, fertilizers and insecticides, which have recently been compounded by untimely rain and a debilitating drought.
About 300,000 farmers have committed suicide since 1995, according to India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
The farmers suicide rate in India ranged between 1.4 to 1.8 per 100,000 population over a 10-year period through 2005. NCRB reported a record 18,241 farmer suicides in 2004.
About 90% of Indian cotton farmers were lured into buying Monsanto’s Bt crop in early 2000s because they were told it was pest resistant. However, the crop’s pests resistance soon wore off and the farmers were forced to borrow even more money and become more indebted, to buy Monsanto’s expensive pesticides, and the vicious cycle continued.
“During 2014, major causes of suicides among male farmers were ‘Bankruptcy or Indebtedness’ and ‘Family Problems’,” said NCRB.
The total number of India’s farmer suicide in 2014 is put at 5,650, or 4.3 percent of all suicides (131,666) across the country.
Activists, however, have criticized the NCRB for “manipulating” the data, said a report. The actual rate is put at 11.2 percent of all suicides.
Total number of farmer suicides in the western state of Maharashtra [pop: 115 million,] an area hit hardest by the drought, at least 4,004 farmers committed suicide last year.
“They [the NCRB] have deliberately divided the suicides under different heads. The report says 4,004 agriculture-related suicides were recorded in Maharashtra during 2014 and then subtracts agricultural workers from the number and gives 2,568 as the total figure. But even with 2,568, Maharashtra tops the country, and for the first time, the government has admitted that the landless farmers are also dying,” said the manager of a farmers’ advocacy group.
As for 2015, in the first week of September, 32 farmers committed suicide in Maharashtra alone. “Compare that to the figures collated till August 10 when the weekly average was almost half, at 17, with 555 farmers having committed suicide in the region. By September 7, 660 farmers had killed themselves whereas in 2014, the figure was lower at 574,” said a report.