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Farmer-the most endangered species

Five Maharashtra farmers commit suicide

Posted by Ramoo on January 16, 2007

Indo Asian News Service, January 15 2007
Five cotton-growers in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra have committed suicide after crop failure, taking the number of such suicides to 33 since the New Year.
Two of the five farmers who ended their lives Sunday hailed from Akola district while one each was from Buldana, Nagpur and Yavatmal, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) president Kishor Tiwari said here Monday.
In the 72 hours preceding this tragedy, eight other farmers had ended their lives, Tiwari told IANS.
The previous year’s toll in Vidarbha was well over 1,000 – almost at the rate of 100 suicides a month.
The continuing suicide saga falsifies the government claim of a bumper cotton crop, Tiwari said. Total cotton procurement in Vidarbha so far, a major chunk of which was done by private traders, is 10 million quintals as against the government prediction of 35 million quintals, he pointed out.
The state controlled cotton federation opened fewer procurement centres this year pushing the farmers to private traders who paid Rs.100 per quintal less to them than the federation, Tiwari said.
“The stark reality of farmers’ suicides bares the failure of Bt cotton (genetically modified cottonseeds) in rain-fed conditions,” the VJAS leader remarked adding that the relief package from the state and the central government had benefited the cooperative banks alone, compensating them against the interest on farmers’ loans that the government had waived.
The plight of cotton growers can be gauged from the fact that farmers in Koljhari village in Yavatmal district took a New Year vow not to cultivate cotton any more, Tiwari said.
“The government must compensate the cotton growers for their loss like it had done last year (by paying Rs.2.1 billion to 1.7 million farmers) because it had promoted the sale of Bt cottonseeds marketed by American company Monsanto”, he demanded.

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