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.

Documentary on Vidarbha farmers bags National award

Documentary on Vidarbha farmers bags National award-TIMES OF INDIA

NAGPUR: “If a quarter million farmers kill themselves over a span of 16 years, then it is genocide and not suicide. The globalization of economies has given rise to a new form of agrarian warfare where seeds are the new weapons.” This observation formed the basis of the documentary ‘Cotton For My Shroud’ made by Nandan Saxena and his wife Kavita Bahl.

The 90 minute film, shot in the hinterlands of Vidarbha, which have earned the infamous sobriquet of farmer’s graveyard, has won aRajat Kamal for the best investigative film at the 59th National awards announced in New Delhi on Wednesday. The film has been winning accolades since it was first released at Mumbai Film Festival in April last year, and has also received the Gold for best script at the IDPA in Mumbai in October 2011.

In a telephonic chat with TOI from New Delhi, Saxena says that he has been screening the docu-film at various forums and people have been stunned by its content. “The film is meant for both, victims as well as those who can change this dismal scenario. It is easy to blame the simple farmer for not managing his resources.” “The cotton farmer is torn between aggressive marketing of supposedly ‘better varieties’ of transgenic crops by the state, and his traditional wisdom of low-cost and eco-friendly agriculture. He thus falls prey to the honey trap of Bt. The result is in an unending cycle of debt and misery.”

Narrated in the first person, the film looks at the macro picture while following the lives of three families. Saxena says that he learnt about the plight of the farmers in Vidarbha while researching water linked projects they were handling in Rajasthan. “It was so horrible that we began looking for more information. When we called up Kishor Tiwari, president of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, which has been drawing attention to these tragedies, he told us to check it out first hand. My wife and me arrived and began moving around in Yavatmal, Raipodh, Pandharkawda and Kolijhari, which were worst hit by these tragedies.” It was not easy for the couple to win the confidence of farmers. Saxena says that the families of victims were weary of media spotlight.

“We came without booking our return tickets.We had all the time and were willing to wait. Gradually, they began to open up,” he says. The research and first hand conversations helped them put together a narrative.

“There were two triggers for the suicides. The first at the time of sowing, when the cash strapped farmer is pushed to buy seeds he can ill afford, so he takes credit. The next is at the time of harvest, when he arrives in the market and realizes that he will not get the price that will enable him to repay the loan. That’s when the desolate fellow has no option but to consume pesticide.” Saxena,who admits to leftist leanings, says that once they had put together the film it was difficult to edit it, as they had to relive these heart wrenching stories once again. “But we overcame our emotions and released it in 2011.” Awards aside, the duo feels that true recognition would be when farmers stop taking their lives and sustainable agriculture becomes a policy.