As cotton fields thrive, so do concerns

A decade after Bt cotton was approved, it remains mired in controversy

Pramit Bhattacharya Mail Me

First Published: Tue, Oct 02 2012. 10 06 PM IST

Changed preferences: Farmers in Khamba used to cultivate groundnuts, but switched to cotton in mid-1990s. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
Changed preferences: Farmers in Khamba used to cultivate groundnuts, but switched to cotton in mid-1990s. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
Updated: Wed, Oct 03 2012. 01 03 AM IST
Khambha (Gujarat): The farmer in Nanudi village in south Gujarat, roughly 350km from Ahmedabad, is among the overwhelming majority of Indian cotton growers who have sown Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton this year.
Unlike most farmers though, he’s using bina bill wala beej (seeds sold without the bill), or illegal Bt seeds, available on credit at roughly three-fifths of the price of officially certified seeds in Gujarat.
Bt cotton is a genetically modified (GM) crop, named after a soil bacterium, the gene of which has been inserted into the cotton plant to produce a toxin that works as an in-built insecticide to control bollworm, a major cotton pest.
“I have sown only the uncertified seeds this year,” said the farmer. More than 60 years old, he owns two hectares or roughly five acres of land in Nanudi, located in the Khambha block of Amreli district, and grows cotton and castor.
He tried the costlier certified seeds last year, but did not find any difference in yield, and has switched back to the illegal brands that he has been sowing for roughly a decade. “I paid only Rs.600 for one packet (450gm) of Bt seed, and I have the flexibility to pay the seed dealer after the harvest,” said the farmer, explaining his preference for the uncertified seeds. Certified Bt cotton seeds are sold at a state-mandated price of Rs.930.
Illegal Bt seeds have a history in Gujarat, preceding the official approval given to Bt cotton in the spring of 2002. It was the success of an uncertified Bt cotton seed, Navbharat-151, in controlling bollworms amid a heavy pest attack on other cultivars in 2001 which paved the way for official approval of Bt cotton in the country despite a raging controversy over its safety and utility at that time.
Since then, Gujarat’s cotton yields have raced ahead than the national average. The state accounts for roughly one-fourth of the area under cotton in the country, but produces one-third of the cotton output. The state’s farmers have played a leading role in raising the country’s cotton productivity to historic highs and in making India a net exporter of cotton.
The farmer, whose farm is irrigated by an open well, said average cotton yield more than doubled to 30 quintals after he switched from a public-sector-bred hybrid, Shankar-IV, to Bt cotton. Profit more than doubled in the initial years because of the increase in yields and savings in pesticide costs, but have dropped over the past few years owing to the increased cost of inputs such as fertilizers.
Scholars attribute Gujarat’s success story in agriculture partly to Bt cotton, and in particular to the availability of cheap illegal Bt seeds well-suited to local conditions. Despite a ban on Navbharat-151, the market for illegal seeds has continued to thrive, providing small farmers low-cost access to superior technology.
Growers elsewhere in the country haven’t fared as well and this has sparked controversy on the impact of Bt cotton on yields and incomes, even as roughly nine of 10 farmers adopt the Bt seeds.
Ten years after India’s first and only GM crop was approved, both Bt cotton and GM crops seem to be facing trouble. A parliamentary standing committee on agriculture report last month slammed the regulatory regime on GM crops as inadequate and linked the introduction of Bt cotton to agrarian distress, although it acknowledged that Gujarat’s farmers might have benefited from the technology. In Maharashtra, the second-largest cotton-growing state in the country after Gujarat, the state government plans to review whether technologies such as Bt cotton are suitable in rain-fed and suicide-prone regions such as Vidarbha.
At first glance, the contrast between Gujarat and Maharashtra seems to present a paradox: GM cotton has brought prosperity in one state and distress in another. The difference between the cotton productivity of Gujarat and Maharashtra has more than doubled in the past 10 years.
The answer to the paradox lies in some key factors: differing initial conditions in the two states, the contrasting performance of the respective state governments in areas such as management of water and power, wider seed choice in Gujarat, and to some extent, plain luck.
Historically, Gujarat’s cotton yields have been higher than those of Maharashtra. Gujarat has greater soil depth and farmers there have better access to formal sources of credit, partly owing to the cotton cooperative movement’s legacy.
In the 1990s, Gujarat’s yield averaged 353.8kg of cotton lint per hectare compared with Maharashtra’s 136kg. According to provisional data from the Nagpur-based Central Institute for Cotton Research, cotton yields in Gujarat doubled over the past decade to 659kg in 2011-12, while that of Maharashtra rose 59% to 310kg over the same period. Irrigation accounts for a large part of the difference. Gujarat’s cotton area under irrigation was 40% in 2000 and 49% in 2007. The comparative figures for Maharashtra were 4.3% and 2.7%, respectively.
In the past decade though, the rapid expansion of micro-irrigation projects in the rain-fed areas of Gujarat, led by both governmental and community efforts, fuelled the rise in cotton yields.
In Khambha, the expansion in check-dams and rain-water harvesting started in the late 1990s, led by a local non-governmental organization, Shikshan Ane Samaj Kalyan Kendra (SASKK). Khambha lies in the rain-fed region of Saurashtra, where a history of droughts since the mid-1980s led NGOs and later the state government to devise extensive water conservation and micro-irrigation schemes.
Khambha has historically been a groundnut-growing belt and it was only in the mid-1990s that farmers started raising cotton. Since the advent of Bt cotton, it has eclipsed the traditional crop. Groundnuts are nitrogen-fixing crops and help raise soil fertility, adding to cotton yield.
Yields in Gujarat and most other cotton-growing regions have declined in the past couple of years and costs of cultivation have increased, but the impact on Khambha’s farmers has been muted owing to relatively better links with the formal economy. In most families, someone has a job in industries located in nearby towns and cities. For instance, the son of the farmer cited at the start of this story polishes diamonds in Surat. Also, almost everyone has access to cheap farm loans unlike Vidarbha, where money lenders enjoy a roaring business. Such factors aside, technological change has driven the cotton revolution in the state, said Yoginder Alagh, former Union minister for science and technology and chairman of the Institute of Rural Management in Anand. But Alagh also said that illegal seeds have played a major role in Gujarat’s cotton boom and such underground markets pose bio-safety risks.
Between 2000 and 2007-08, the period when cotton yields rose fastest, illegal Bt seeds accounted for most of the cotton grown in the state, according to surveys by N. Lalitha and P.K. Viswanathan, professors at the Ahmedabad-based Gujarat Institute of Development Research.
Since then, the use of illegal seeds has dropped, partly because of a higher proportion of fakes and partly due to price controls that have lowered the premium on certified Bt seeds. Large farmers mostly use certified seeds now. Illegal seeds now account for only 25-30% of Gujarat’s Bt seed market, a senior seed industry executive said on condition of anonymity.
In Amreli, a little less than half of the Bt cotton seeds sold are illegal, estimated Vipul Sheladiya, a large land owner who also works for SASKK. SASKK has formed a producer company to supply low-cost inputs to farmers and its outlet is among a handful in the district that doesn’t stock uncertified seeds.
Monsanto India Ltd spokesperson said “rumours” of seeds with unapproved technologies had been heard but their use seems to have declined.
Ahmedabad-based Navbharat Seeds Pvt. Ltd stopped producing the Navbharat-151 variety in 2001 after a ban by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) following a complaint by Mahyco–Monsanto Biotech Ltd (MMB), which found its proprietary Bt protein in Navbharat-151. GEAC also asked for the illegal plantations to be burnt.
Farmers rallied against the order and the Gujarat government took their side. The ban stayed, but local seed companies started selling clones, often using the Navbharat brand name. Several studies, including one by Lalitha, showed that the illegal Bt initially performed better than the approved ones.
Navbharat chairman D.B. Desai said the 151 variety (and its clones) succeeded as it was better suited to local conditions.
Small firms such as Navbharat should have been integrated with bigger ones so they remained under regulatory watch, said Alagh. “We could have adopted a strategy similar to what we have for generics in the pharmaceuticals industry.”
The number of official Bt hybrids rose over the years and so did the number of illegal brands. Given that hybrids must be cross-pollinated manually, most seed production takes place in north Gujarat, where labour is cheap and often underage. Seed companies outsource production to local organizers or smaller companies, which tend to produce more seeds than required. The excess is sold illegally, without royalty being paid to MMB.
A part of the trade is just farmer-to-farmer transfer and hence is legal, said Lalitha. But a large fraction is sold through seed dealers. To avoid a direct confrontation with the law, the illegal packets are sold without bills and carry a message that says that they are being used only for farmer-to-farmer transfers.
In the latest twist to the illegal Bt story, an upgraded version of Bt cotton, the round-up ready flex (RRFlex) GM cotton developed by Monsanto— which enables use of the herbicide glyphosate to kill weeds without any impact on the RRflex Bt crop—has made an entry into the country illegally, even before its official approval. The RRFlex cotton seeds are being used mostly in the Kutch region where there is an acute shortage of labour, said the seed industry executive cited above. A seed dealer in Amreli confirmed that RRFlex seeds are available in the market.
Gujarat seems to be repeating its history with Bt.

Suicides by farmers: Reply to Rajyasabha by Sharad Pawar

http://164.100.47.4/newrsquestion/ShowQn.aspx

2012 sarad pawar admission in rajyasabha

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

MINISTRY OF  AGRICULTURE
RAJYA SABHA
QUESTION NO  183
ANSWERED ON  24.08.2012

Suicides by farmers

183 SHRIMATI KUSUM RAI
Will the Minister of AGRICULTURE be pleased to satate :-
(a) whether, as per Government figures, 2,70,940 farmers have committed suicide since 1995 and 14,000 farmers have committed suicide during 2011 alone;

(b) if so, the details thereof along with the details of farmers who committed suicide during 2012, so far, State-wise;

(c) whether in spite of release of thousands of crores under the Rehabilitation package to Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, these States stood at first and second position, with respect to farmers’ suicide, during 2011 with 3337 and 2206 farmers’ suicides, respectively;

(d) if so, the reasons therefor; and

(e) the details of fresh steps Government would take in this regard?

ANSWER
MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE

(SHRI SHARAD PAWAR)

(a) to (e): A statement is laid on the Table of the House.

STATEMENT IN RESPECT OF PARTS (a) TO (e) OF RAJYA SABHA STARRED QUESTION NO. 183 FOR 24/08/2012 REGARDING SUICIDES BY FARMERS.

(a) to (d): State-wise details regarding suicides by farmers, as compiled and published annually by National Crime Records Bureau in its report ‘Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India’, from 1995 to 2011 are at Annexure I. Reasons of suicide by farmers, as reported by State Governments, are manifold which, inter-alia, include indebtedness, crop failure, drought, socio-economic and personal reasons. State-wise details regarding suicides by farmers due to agrarian reasons since 2006, when the Rehabilitation Package was implemented in identified districts, to date, as reported by respective State Governments, are at Annexure-II. During 2012, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka have reported 33, 118 and 01 cases respectively of suicide by farmers due to agrarian reasons. During 2011, number of suicides by farmers due to agrarian reasons in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, as reported by respective State Governments, was 485 and 193 respectively.

(e): Government has taken several steps to revitalize agriculture sector and improve condition of farmers on sustainable basis by increasing investment, improving farm practices, rural infrastructure and delivery of credit, technology and other inputs, extension, marketing etc. under various programmes/schemes. Government is focusing on expansion of farm income, creation of non-farm income opportunities, improvement in productivity of rainfed agriculture, increasing coverage of farming areas under protective irrigation and forging appropriate backward and forward linkages.

Investment in agriculture & allied activities by public and private sectors at current prices has increased from Rs.181562 crore in 2009-10 to Rs.211565 crore in 2010-11. Gross capital formation in agriculture as a percentage of agricultural Gross Domestic Product has risen from 13.9 per cent during the Tenth Plan to nearly 19 per cent during the Eleventh Plan. Total plan outlay for Department of Agriculture and Cooperation has been increased from Rs.17123 crore in 2011-12 to Rs.20208 crore in 2012-13. Minimum Support Prices for most crops have increased significantly in recent years.

           ANNEXURE        Hindi_Version

Dowry system fuelling farmers’ suicides in Vidarbha

Mumbai/Nagpur, May 20 (IANS) The dowry system is driving many farmers of Maharshtra’s Vidarbha region to suicide, a fact which was brought into national focus Sunday on ‘Satyamev Jayate’, Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan’s popular show.
In an interview on the show, Usha Ashtekar, 25, spoke about how her father borrowed from a money-lender but had to repay the loan even before he could get Usha married.
‘My father took a loan from a money-lender to get me married. But before he could do so, the money-lender made my father repay the loan by using force. Worried about my marriage plus the bad condition of our farm, he committed suicide two years back,’ Usha told IANS from her village Sakra in Pandharkawada tehsil of Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district.
‘later, my brother and mother took another loan and spent over Rs.3 lakh on my wedding, bowing down to the needs of my in-laws. But it was all in vain as their demands kept increasing. I had to return to my mother’s home in only three months as I could no longer bear their torture,’ she added.
Usha, who has been married for over a year, is still staying at her mother’s home and prays that her husband will call her back some day.
‘Usha is one of the many cases that have met a similar fate. According to a survey done by the Maharashtra government in 2006, out of 20 lakh households in Vidarbha, around 4 lakh households had daughters of marriageable age,’ said Kishor Tiwari, President of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), a farmers advocacy group.
‘But most of these girls did not get married due to lack of resources. The survey also said that the entire credit chain of these farmers was disturbed as they had to use the loan money in their daughters’ marriage instead of using them for betterment of their farms,’ Tiwari said.
Tiwari pointed out that there has been no such survey in the last six years and that VJAS is planning to demand for a similar survey.
‘It is inhuman to ask for dowry, as those seeking dowry are themselves aware of the grave crisis in Vidarbha,’ Tiwari said.

300 Farmers Suicides officially reported in 2012 in Six Districts of West Vidarbha- Prime Minister urged for Urgent Intervention


Nagpur- Saturday, May 19, 2012
When central Govt. and Maharashtra is working hard to disburse Rs.700 Crore relief aid released to specific districts of   western Maharashtra after server followup  of union minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar ,News Paper ‘SAKAL’ owned his family reported today that more than 300 farmers committed suicides in six districts of farm suicide prone west vidarbha taking tally to 8520 as per official reports of Maharashtra Govt. ,the agrarian crisis has hit badly to the region where in an average @ 8 hourly one innocent cotton farmer is committing suicide since June 2005 but recent figure of farm suicides given by administration is totally contradicting Govt. own data that farmers suicides number has drastically reduced and  shows ground reality too serious to explain hence we demand urgent intervention of Indian Prime  Minister  as local Maharashtra failed to tackle crisis moreover all  relief packages given by center amounting more than RS.5000 crore has been siphoned out by politician and contractors as per reports of CVC,CAG and PAC ,informed Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Jandolan Samiti (VJAS) farmers rights group  fighting save dying cotton farmer community since 1997 reported today .
“if west vidarbha farmers suicide figure is more than 300 then east vidarbha’s five districts which also under severe drought will add certainly more than 150 taking toll 450 which is much more shocking than earlier years figure reflecting size and gravity of the crisis hence center intervention is must to save dying farmers who are killing themselves due debt and distress “Tiwari added.
 here is report publish by daily SAKAL on it’s front page
QUOTE 
विदर्भाच्या आत्महत्याग्रस्त 6 जिल्ह्यांमध्ये  135 दिवसांत 300 शेतकऱ्यांच्या आत्महत्या-सकाळ वृत्तसेवा

Saturday, May 19, 2012 AT 04:30 AM (IST)
http://online2.esakal.com/esakal/20120519/4982566681578913101.htm
अमरावती – शेतकऱ्यांच्या आत्महत्या थांबाव्या यासाठी विविध स्तरांवर प्रयत्न केले जात आहेत; तरीदेखील आत्महत्या थांबण्याचे नावच घेत नसल्याची गंभीर स्थिती आहे. चालू वर्षाच्या 135 दिवसांत शेतकऱ्यांच्या आत्महत्येचा आकडा 300 च्या घरात गेल्याची धक्कादायक माहिती आहे.

विशेष म्हणजे, गेल्याच महिन्यात विदर्भाच्या 6 जिल्ह्यांत 82; तर मे महिन्यात आतापर्यंत 14 शेतकऱ्यांनी जीवनयात्रा संपविली. 2001 पासूनच शेतकऱ्यांच्या आत्महत्यांची मालिका विदर्भातील अमरावती, यवतमाळ, अकोला, वाशीम, बुलडाणा तसेच वर्धा या सहा जिल्ह्यांत सुरू झाली होती. 2005 साली या 6 जिल्ह्यांत 445 शेतकऱ्यांनी आत्महत्या केल्याने पॅकेजची घोषणा करण्यात आली. शासनाने शेतकऱ्यांसाठी विविध योजना हाती घेण्याच्या घोषणा केल्या. तथापि, 2006 साली 1,449 शेतकऱ्यांनी आत्महत्या केल्याने हे प्रकरण अधिकच गंभीर झाले. शेतकऱ्यांच्या आत्महत्या रोखण्यासाठी मुख्यमंत्र्यांचे 1,075 कोटी रुपयांचे पॅकेज तसेच पंतप्रधानांचे 3,750 कोटी रुपयांचे पॅकेज शासनाने जाहीर केले. या पॅकेजचा निधी 2010 मध्ये संपला. मात्र, शासकीय आकडेवारीवर नजर टाकली, तरी ज्या कालावधीत पॅकेजचा निधी होता व शेतकऱ्यांना विविध योजनांचा लाभ दिला जात होता, त्याच कालावधीत सर्वांधिक आत्महत्या झाल्यात. या 5 वर्षांत तब्बल 6 हजार 26 शेतकऱ्यांनी आपली जीवनयात्रा संपविली.

यावर्षी अमरावती जिल्ह्यातील 1,981 गावांची आणेवारी 50 पैशाच्या आत आहे. बुलडाणा जिल्ह्यातील 1,419 पैकी 747 गावांची आणेवारी 50 पैशाच्या आत आहे. त्यामुळे विभागातील या 2 जिल्ह्यांतील एकूण 2,728 गावांत दुष्काळ आहे. या स्थितीतही दुष्काळ निवारणासाठी करावयाच्या कामांना अद्याप वेग आलेला नाही. केवळ उपाययोजना आखण्यात आल्याचे सांगितले जाते. त्यामुळे येत्या काही दिवसांत पावसाचे आगमन झाल्यावर दुष्काळावर उपाययोजना करणार काय, असा प्रश्‍न विचारला जात आहे. गतवर्षी पिकांची स्थिती दयनीय झालेली होती. शेतकऱ्यांना त्यांच्या शेतमालाचा योग्य मोबदलादेखील मिळालेला नाही. कापूस, सोयाबीन सोबतच आता हळद, कांदा पिकालादेखील भाव मिळत नसल्याची गंभीर स्थिती आहे. विदर्भात सिंचनसोयींचा अभाव हेच पिकांची दयनीय स्थिती होण्यास कारणीभूत असताना या गंभीर विषयाकडे येथील पुढारी लक्ष देण्यास तयार नाहीत.

74 शेतकरी अपात्र 
आत्महत्याग्रस्त 6 जिल्ह्यांमध्ये 300 शेतकऱ्यांनी आत्महत्या केली, तरी त्यातील 74 शेतकरी अपात्र ठरविण्यात आलेत. त्यामुळे त्यांच्या कुटुंबीयांना कोणताही शासकीय लाभ मिळणार नाही. 48 शेतकरी पात्र ठरलेत. 178 प्रकरणे चौकशीसाठी प्रलंबित आहेत.

शेतकऱ्यांच्या आत्महत्या  (शासकीय आकडेवारी 
2006 – 1,449
2007 – 1,247
2008 – 1,148
2009 – 1,005
2010 – 1,177
2001 ते 2012 – 8,520 आत्महत्या

(शासकीय आकडेवारी )
जानेवारी ते आजपर्यंतच्या आत्महत्या 

यवतमाळ – 69
अमरावती – 68
अकोला – 52
बुलडाणा – 49
वाशीम – 32
वर्धा – 30

2012 तील आत्महत्या 
जानेवारी – 65
फेब्रुवारी – 64
मार्च – 75
एप्रिल – 82
मे (आजपर्यंत) – 14

===========================
UNQUOTE  

OFFICIAL DATA OF FARMER SUICIDE 
2006 – 1,449
2007 – 1,247
2008 – 1,148
2009 – 1,005
2010 – 1,177
2001 ते 2012 – 8,520

(GOVT.FIGURE )
FROM  JAN.2012 AS ON TODAY FARMERS SUICIDES DISTRICT WISE 

YAVATMAL – 69
AMARAVATI – 68
AKOLA- 52
BULDHANA – 49
WASHIM- 32
WARDHA – 30

FARMERS SUICIDES IN 2012 MONTH WISE
JAN- 65
FEB. – 64
MARCH – 75
APRIL – 82
MAY (AS ON TODAY) – 14
====================

Farmer suicides declining steadily: Govt

http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/wire-news/farmer-suicides-declining-steadily-govt_700479.html

New Delhi, May 4 (PTI) There has been a steady decline in suicides by farmers on account of agrarian reasons in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere because of several initiatives by the government, Parliament was informed today. A total of 123 farmers took their lives due to agrarian causes in 2011 till July end in Maharashtra, as against 454 in 2010, Minister of State for Agriculture Harish Rawat said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. A total of 550 farmers had taken the extreme steps in the Western state in 2009. Similarly, 109 farmers committed suicide in Andhra Pradesh till February-end in the 2011-12 fiscal, as against 187 in 2010 and 299 in 2009, the minister said. In Karnataka, 77 cultivators had committed suicide till August in 2010-11 fiscal, vis-a-vis 138 in 2009-10 and 156 in 2008-9, the minister said. Rawat said the causes of suicide by farmers as reported by the state governments have been because of indebtedness, crop failure, drought, socio-economic and personal. He attributed decline in cases of farmers suicide to progressive measures taken by the government. On steps to correct the situation in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17), he said the Approach paper to the plan has emphasised on faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth by expansion of farm income, creation of non-farm income opportunities and improvement in productivity of rainfed agriculture. Accordingly, steps are being taken to increase public investment in agriculture sector, improving technology, rural infrastructure and delivery of credit, he added. Rawat said other initiatives include implementation of Rehabilitation Package covering 31 districts in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra under which an amount of Rs 19,998.85 crore has been released till September 30, 2011.

Fact finding report on farmers suicides in Mahaboobnagar by HRF

S No Cr PC & PS Deceased Details Family Details Date of death Land and Debt Details Details mentioned in FIR Our report Contact numbers
Jadcherla
3 41/11 A Ramakrishna, s/o Ramachandraiah, 32 yrs, C/Golla, Occ: Agril, r/o Nekkonda Village of Jadcherla mandal 20.01.2011 3 acres own land, 3 acres lease, Rs 164000 amount expended on cotton crops He was suffering from financila crisis due to debts and attempted suicide by consuming insecticide poison on 14.1.2011 at 1000 hrs at his home and He died at OGH, Hyd. Informant: wife, mother and others; Wife: Mamata; 2 girl children (4 yrs; 13 months); took 15 acres on lease; no irrigation facility; cultivated cotton; lost crop for 2 yrs; debts 180000;  struggled for life for 8 days in Osmania hospital; incurred exp for hospitalisation Rs.40000; MRO visited after 10 days and spoke to all moneylenders; family got Rs.5000/- under NFBS but has not received any support under 421 GO; Mr. Satyam – brother of Ramakrishna: 9505528019
4 366/2011 Smt Gorla Laxmamma, w/o Late Narayana, 48 yrs, C/Telugu, Occ: Agril, r/o Kurvagadda village of jadcherla Mandal, One son 20.10.2011 3 acres land on lease basis from Panthulu, 45000 Rs borrowing She was facing financial crises and incurred debts too, n thi way the deceased consumed poison and died while undergoing treatment on  at 1210 hrs, at Govt Hqrs Hospital, M’nagar Informants: son; 2 acres of own land; 4 acres on lease for Rs.10000/-; dug 2 borewells; 2 failed; Son bought tractor with 3.5 lakhs from Sriram Finance; loans to the tune of Rs.3.5 lakhs; MRO has not visited so far; Got Rs.4000/- under NFBS (Rs.1000 bribe) Mr. Anjaneyulu – son of Laxmamma; 9640905145
5  421/11 Kothani Chinna Jangaiah, s/o Jangilaiah, 55 yrs, C/Kurva, Occ: Agril, r/o Nekkonda village of Jadcherla Mandal. Has one wife and 2 children 26.11.2011 2 acres own land, Rs 60000 borrowings for borewell in his own land  He was cultivating cotton seeds and incurred loss and not capable to clear the debts amount. due to which the deceased frustrated over on life and committed suicide by hanging Informant: Son, wife and others; 5 acres on lease; 2 borewells – 200 feet – failed; Spent Rs.44000 on borewells and 90000 on cultivation and 10000 for lease – total 1.44 lakhs; out of this only 20000 is from Grameen Vikas Bank; his son Mr. Nagarju is not into cultivation but surviving as auto driver; daughter got married; MRO  has not visited so far; No MLVC so far; Mr. Nagaraju – son: 8497914269;
6 459/2011 Golkond Chinna Jangaiah, 40 yrs, Occ: Agril, C/Golla, r/o Gangapur village of Jadcherla mandal. Has one wife, 2 children 27.12.2011 The case is under investigation He was facing financial crisis and committed suicide by hanging Family members are not available and we spoke to his brother and neighbour. As per brother’s information – 3 acres of own land; cultivated cotton and tried 6 bore wells and all failed; last borewell was dug upto 390 feet; loans to the tune of Rs.6 lakhs; out of this 30000/- is bank loan; 3 children; wife: Suvarna; There is suspicion about the death. As per Sarpanch information post mortem report confirmed it as murder.
Peddamandadi PS
7 .07/2011 Sinsetti Chiranjeevi, s/o Balramsagar, Age:22 yrs, C/ Uppara occ: Agril, r/o Manigilla village of Peddamandadi. one brother and one sister Own land Loss in agriculture and Heavy debts House is locked; Nobody is available at home; Relatives informed that Chiranjeevi who used to live in Hyderabad for studies came to village and committeed suicide; this does not appear to be a farmer suicide. No contact number
8 .10/2011 Boini Buddaiah, S/o Kondanna, 36 yrs, C/Golla, Occ: Agril, r/o Veeraipally (V), of Peddamandadi. wife and sons 5 acres of agri land Two borewells failed in 2 years. Due to shortage of borewell water, His groundnut crop damaged. An amount of Rs 250000  debts Informants: wife and cousins; Wife: Nagamma; two sons (8 yrs; 7 yrs); 2 acres of own land; 5 acres on lease; lease amount is Rs.2500/- per acre; 2 borewells in 2010 and incurred exp 1,50,000/-; cultivated ground nut, paddy and mustard; and loans for cultivation: 1 lakh; total loans: 2,50,000/-; MRO has not visited and no MLVC. Rs.5000 under NFBS; Mr. Raju – cousin; 9652964845;
9 33/2011 Angothu Balya Naik, S/o late Chinali, 38 yrs, C/ST Lambada, Occ: Coolie, r/o Cheruvukommu thanda, h/o Ammapally (v), Peddamandadi (M) 3 daughters and 3 sons two acres of agri land He digged two bore wells,  One succes, second failure. Unbearable debts of Rs 130000 Informant: Mr. Ramulu Naik – cousin; wife and children not available; they are on migration; Wife: Santamma; 3 daughters (6, 5, 3 yrs); 2 acres of own land and 3 acres on lease; migration to Karnataka reported; cultivated cotton, paddy, and groundnut; incurred losses on crop; comitted suicide by hanging; MRO has not visited; no idea about NFBS; Mr. Ramulu Naik; 9676146265
10 74/2011 Vakiti Satyanarayana, s/o Late Manyam, Age: 40 yrs, C/Telugu, Occ: Agril, r/o Mojerla Village of Peddamandadi (m). wife, a son, a daughter deceased has A 3.22 agriculture in Sy No: 469 3 borewells failed + Crops failed.  Huge debts of Rs 319000. They struggled due to Starvation Informant: wife; Wife – Lakshmi; Son (9 yrs) daughter (8 yrs); 5 acres owned by 3 borhters; 2 brothers are residing in Hyderabad; Satyanarayana used to take care of cultivation; cultivated cotton and mustard; 3 borewells failed; crops failed; bought auto; total loan 3 lakhs; no bank loan and all from moneylenders and relatives;  VRO and RI visited the family. Lakshmi (wife); 9505305824;
11 76/2011 Velgonda Padmamma, w/o Parvathalu, Age: 25 yrs, C/Yadava/Golla, Occ: Farmer, R/o Gatlakhanapur (V), Peddamandadi (M) Own land Committed suicide by pesticide poison due to debts and borewells failure. Also depressed due to not having children Informants: Father, co sister and neighbours; 7 acres of land for 3 sons; father Mr. Ramulu was cultivating 2 acres for Parvathalu’s family; Parvathalu and his wife (Padmamma) used to migrate for work by taking advance amounts to the tune of Rs.50000/-. Cotton crop failed; again took advance Rs.20000/- for migrantion but did not go to work; father and co sister did not mention ‘no children’ as reason.  Consumed pesticide. Mr. Ramu (neighbour) 9908822692
Jadcherla Rural
22 Bhoothpur, 20/2011 u/s 174 Cr PC Smt Lotti Shanthamma, w/o Chinna Nagaiah, 60 yrs, Occ: Agril, C/SC Madiga, r/o Kothamolgara (V), Bhoothpur (M) 31.01.2011 own Land Debts for borewell, Poor crop yield, consumed poison Informants: husband and 2 sons; belongs SC; 1 acres of own land; 1 acre on lease; lease amount Rs.10000/- (with borewell) cultivated cotton; spent on failed bore well Rs.30000/-; lost crop; loss incurred 160000/-; sold buffaloes and paid some loan 22500/- (15000 principal and rest is interest in one year). lot of pressure from moneylenders and son ran away from village and has come back just recently; No NFBS: MRO has not visited; Mr. Muttayya (son); 9640802794;
23 Bhoothpur, 129/2011 u/s 174 Cr PC Godugu Venkataiah, s/o Kashanna, 35 yrs, Occ Agril, C/Telugu, r/o Bhoothpur (V &M) 03-08-2011 own land 3 acres Debts, Poor crop yield, Hanging to ceiling fan Informants: mother and relative; 3 acres of own land; borewell dug but failed; cultivated cotton and maize – failed; total loan Rs.70000/-; of this 16000/- from bank and rest from moneylenders and relatives; 3 children (8, 3, 1 yrs); Rs.5000 under NFBS; No MRO visit so far; Narayana (relative); 9849387963
24 Bhoothpur, 202/2011 u/s 174 Cr PC Nandiminti Ramulu, s/o Ramulu, 30 yrs, Occ: Agril, C/Madiga, r/o Kothamolgara (V), Bhoothpur Mandal 30-12-2011 Own land 2 acres Took loans for Borewell and to repair electric motor. Borewell failed. The paddy crop loss due to no water. Informants: Mother and Father; wife is not available – went to work; Belong to SC; 0.5 acres of own land; spent Rs.60000/- on borwell; got this amount by selling 10 oxen borrowed from his sister; cultivated paddy; but harvest was taken by the moneylender/ patel. Now wife Sasirekha is working in Mandal office; got NFBS: MRO not visited; no ration card;

Farmer suicides: Secret govt note says Bt cotton failing

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Punjab/Chandigarh/Farmer-suicides-Secret-govt-note-says-Bt-cotton-failing/SP-Article1-830881.aspx

India’s Bt cotton dream is going terribly wrong. For the first time, farmer suicides, including those in 2011-12, have been linked to the declining performance of the much hyped genetically modified (GM) variety adopted by 90% of the country’s cotton-growers since being allowed a decade ago.

Policymakers have hailed Bt cotton as a success story but a January 9 internal advisory, a copy of which is with HT, sent out to cotton-growing states by the agriculture ministry presents a grim scenario.

“Cotton farmers are in a deep crisis since shifting to Bt cotton. The spate of farmer suicides in 2011-12 has been particularly severe among Bt cotton farmers,” says the advisory.

Bt cotton’s success, it appears, lasted merely five years. Yields have been falling and pest attacks going up. India’s only GM crop has been genetically altered to destroy cotton-eating pests.

For farmers, rising costs have not matched returns, pushing many to the brink, financially and otherwise. Simply put, Bt cotton is no more as profitable as it used to be.

“In fact cost of cotton cultivation has jumped…due to rising costs of pesticides. Total Bt cotton production in the last five years has reduced,” says the advisory.

This could have larger implications for Asia’s third-largest economy where rural prosperity has been a key driver of overall growth.

The note is based on observations from the Indian Council of Agricultural Sciences, which administers farm science, and the Central Cotton Research Institute, the country’s top cotton research facility. Yet, officials HT spoke to either denied or downplayed the advisory.

Swapan Kumar Dutta, India’s deputy director-general of crop science, said he had no knowledge of the note and that Bt cotton continued to drive India’s cotton production. He could neither “confirm nor deny” that such a note had been sent, said Prabeer Kumar Basu, the agriculture secretary.

Ministry blames bt cotton for farmer suicides

http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/Business/Ministry-blames-bt-cotton-for-farmer-suicides/Article1-830798.aspx

India’s Bt cotton dream is going terribly wrong. For the first time, farmer suicides, including those in 2011-12, have been linked to the declining performance of the much hyped genetically modified (GM) variety adopted by 90% of the country’s cotton-growers since being allowed a decade ago.

Policymakers have hailed Bt cotton as a success story but a January 9 internal advisory, a copy of which is with HT, sent out to cotton-growing states by the agriculture ministry presents a grim scenario.

“Cotton farmers are in a deep crisis since shifting to Bt cotton. The spate of farmer suicides in 2011-12 has been particularly severe among Bt cotton farmers,” says the advisory.

Bt cotton’s success, it appears, lasted merely five years. Since then, yields have been falling and pest attacks going up. India’s only GM crop has been genetically altered to destroy cotton-eating pests.

For farmers, rising costs —in the form of pesticides — have not matched returns, pushing many to the brink, financially and otherwise. Simply put, Bt cotton is no more as profitable as it used to be.

“In fact cost of cotton cultivation has jumped…due to rising costs of pesticides. Total Bt cotton production in the last five years has reduced,” says the advisory.

This could have larger implications for Asia’s third-largest economy where rural prosperity has been a key driver of overall growth.

The note is based on observations from the Indian Council of Agricultural Sciences, which administers farm science, and the Central Cotton Research Institute, the country’s top cotton research facility.

Yet, officials HT spoke to either denied or downplayed the advisory. Swapan Kumar Dutta, India’s deputy director-general of crop science, said he had no knowledge of the note and that Bt cotton continued to drive India’s cotton production.

He could neither “confirm nor deny” that such a note had been sent, said Prabeer Kumar Basu, the agriculture secretary.

Of the nine cotton-growing states, Maharashtra has seen the largest number of farmer suicides. In the state’s Vidarbha region, a cotton-growing belt comprising six districts, 209 farmers committed suicides in 2011 due to “agrarian causes”.

In February 2010, the environment ministry put an indefinite moratorium on Bt brinjal, India’s first GM food crop, days after the country’s biotech regulator cleared it for cultivation. Among many reasons, the ministry said it was “necessary to review” the performance of Bt cotton first.

DNA investigations: Marathwada region beats Vidarbha in farmer deaths

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_dna-investigations-marathwada-region-beats-vidarbha-in-farmer-deaths_1657782

In 2011, the highest number of farmers’ suicides in Maharashtra was not in Vidarbha, but unexpectedly, in Marathwada.

This region and Khandesh, where farmers suffered crop failure and massive debt, have emerged as the new epicentres for suicides in the state.

The numbers: Marathwada had 435 farmers’ suicides, Vidarbha 276 and Khandesh 133. Overall, 860 farmers killed themselves in 2011, the highest figure in the last four years, according to Maharashtra’s law and order department. (In 2008, there were 771 farmers’ suicides, in 2009 535 and just 363 in 2010). Within Marathwada, Beed district (represented by a BJP stalwart) had the highest number of farmer suicide deaths.

The reason for this desperation was the failure of the BT cotton crop due to lack of irrigation, scanty rainfall, and massive debt. (These will be detailed in subsequent stories in this series.)“These are the reasons for the suicides but the government remains ignorant,” says Dr RP Kurulkar, retired economics professor and chairman of the Marathwada Statuary Development Board (MSDB) in Aurangabad.

Marathwada comprises Aurangabad, Nanded, Latur, Jalna, Beed, Parbhani, Osmanabad and Hingoli. Khandesh comprises Jalgaon, Dhule, and Nandurbar. DNA visited several districts in both Marathwada and Khandesh and heard several poignant stories.

Just 30 days ago, Shivaji Munde, 45, of Hivrabel in Kalamnuri tehsil of Hingoli district hanged himself because his BT cotton crop failed. His son Pravin, 21, said the crop failed as they had no irrigation and there were no rains. “Out of debt my father killed himself,” he cries. Pravin, a standard XII student, now has to give up his dream of higher education.

Debt drove Dadarao Mhende of Phuldhaba in Hingoli to kill himself last November. “This year we had a lot of hope from BT cotton,” his brother Bapurao says. “Seed sellers said the yield would increase and that we could repay loans from previous years, but the crop failed completely.”

Even 65-year-old Ratan Patil of Dahivad in Amalner, Jalgaon, recently killed himself by drinking the very pesticide he was supposed to spray on his BT cotton crop. He had no crop due to no water, and recurring debt drove him over the edge.

“My uncle could not bear the ever-increasing debt, so he chose to end his life in old age,” says nephew Ashok. When asked if he used irrigation facilities, he said: “We have never seen any irrigation facility in this region.”

“If the government does not take the right steps immediately, then like Vidarbha, Marathwada and Khandesh, we will see more farmer suicides yearly,” warns Rajan Ksirsagar, a political activist from Marathwada.

Other side of farm suicides in Punjab: Book on women’ misery in Punjabi by Orissa woman activist

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ludhiana/Other-side-of-farm-suicides-in-Punjab-Book-on-women-misery-in-Punjabi-by-Orissa-woman-activist/articleshow/12305395.cms

SANGRUR: The debt ridden farm suicides inPunjab might be projected as disturbing trend pointing towards further aggravating agrarian scene at the place more known as birth of green revolution in India but till now not much has been written about the pitfalls of farm suicides on the familial front. Now a researcher and woman activist has come up with a book about how the women had to face the wrath of agrarian crisis in Punjab. Ranjana Padhi has documented the miseries of women facing farm suicides through her book ‘Punjab de kheti sankat di kahani -auratan di aapni jubani'(The story of Punjab’ agrarian crisis and women’ agony). Interestingly despite her being of Orissa origin, she has liked the book to be translated first in Punjabi and will come out with English version later.

Many documentaries, books have been written on agrarian crisis in Punjab, some of which by showcasing the real picture has taken the outer world by surprise. Only recently human rights activist Inderjit Singh Jaijee had come up with book ‘Debt and death in rural India, The Punjab story’ but was not entirely on women.

Anti displacement activist Ranjana Padhi, who is actively working for women empowermentsince late eighties through various NGOs of Saheli, Kashipur solidarity, has projected the condition of women as precarious after male member takes the extreme step. In most of the cases women had to turn as wage labourers or in menial jobs for survival. Padhi has based her assertion on the findings after extensive interactions with 136 families mainly women in Punjab’ 8 districts of Malwa region, most affected on farmer-farm labourer count.

“During visits to Punjab in 2008-2010, I came across the condition of women belonging of farm and farm labourers families, where male members committed suicide, was very miserable. The women belonging to somewhat affluent families had to turn to wage labourers as raising children, feeding and educating them turned out to be herculean task for them in the absence of any financial support from any quarters”, said Padhi talking to Times of India over phone from Pune, where she is based.

Ranjana, who is in late forties and works as technical editor with a firm after MA English is coming up with the English title ‘Those who did not die: Impact of peasant suicides in Punjab’.

It has been pointed out that debt on farm and farm labourers had been mounting due to expenses on dowry, drug addiction, to cure depression. There are numerous instances of women facing the heat after male members committed suicide as Jasbir Kaur of Mansa is passing through lean patch after losing out the land due to debt after husband committed suicide, Charanjit Kaur of Bathinda is facing it hard to run household. Says Charanjit it all started with amrican sundi(English worm)that eat up cotton crop leading to family’ miseries.

“It is all due to lopsided policies and the trend of farm suicides and misery of women is here to stay till governments not comes up with remedial measures and finically bailing out the debt hit families”, said Buta Singh, who has translated the book in Punjabi.