This refers to your cover story “Farmer suicide on the rise”. It reveals the fact that the tremendous increase in cases of suicides by farmers, the backbone of the rural economy, is distressing and disturbing. The huge number of suicides is a sad indicator of the consequences of rural poverty. India is agriculture based country where more than 60 per cent of the population is involved directly or indirectly in agriculture, out of which 11 per cent commit suicides. Don’t we think that this high figure of farmer suicide lucidly reflects inadequacy in evaluation of their root cause and non-liberal policy of Government? Farmers get practically nothing for their produce whereas the consumers pay through their nose. Their suicide is a national phenomenon though most cases go unreported.
Farm suicides, whether owing to purely agricultural reasons like crop failure, or the complex pressures on an Indian farmer, must be tackled seriously on the basis of a comprehensive examination of the causative factors, and the context. Agriculture has always been a high risk business in our country and crop failure is very common because very much depends upon nature. Given that poverty is widespread in several sections of society that do not suffer such high rates of suicide, there is perhaps more than one reason for farmers taking their lives. We need to organize farmers into viable groups on voluntary basis in each village, give them the best support and technologies to produce profitably. Most of the farmers do not commit suicide, because burden of debt but due to input cost being increased and most of the them do not own money to invest. Time has now come to relook the basic facilities and support given to them.
Vinod C. Dixit
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)