Indian Agrarian Crisis now moved to

Farmer-the most endangered species

Debt spells death for Andhra farmers

Posted by Ramoo on February 14, 2007

Priyanjana Dutta, CNN-IBN

Posted Tuesday , February 13, 2007 at 22:36

Updated Wednesday, February 14, 2007 at 08:23

Anantapur: Farmer suicides is a bitter truth that most drought-affected villages in the country have learnt to live with. One such place where weather brings death news for debt-ridden farmers is Anantpur district in western Andhra Pradesh—an area famous for innumerable suicides stories.

“Because of too much heat the land is getting dried up. No crops can be grown and we are in debt. We tried all ancient methods and rituals but the Gods just don’t listen,” D Venkatnarayan, a farmer in Jakkalcheruvu village tells.

Similar is the story of 50-year-old Laxmi Devi. Her husband committed suicide by consuming pesticide, few years ago. He had borrowed money to dig borewells in their fields, but there was no water.

“There is no source of income for us, I have to look after my children. I don’t know how I will manage,” she said.

Anantapur is just one of the regions in Andhra Pradesh made infamous by farmers suicides. The reasons: inability to pay off debts, high input costs, switching crops, and of course persistent droughts. Studies indicate that the frequency of these droughts has been rising with each passing decade.

“In 2003 Andhra Pradesh witnessed 4,000 deaths due to extreme heat wave conditions. My fear is that the frequency of such heat waves will increase and we need to be prepared,” says R K Pachauri Director General, TERI

For the farmers of Anantapur, hope has all dried up, much like their fields.

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