ASIA/INDIA - Suicides of farmers, a scourge of society

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - Over the past 20 years, about 300,000 farmers have committed suicide in India, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of India. And in the first months of 2015, 257 farmers committed suicide in Maharashtra, the Indian state most affected by the phenomenon. According to observers, the heavy economic crisis is the main factor: farmers say that "there is no future for them".
Cotton is the main crop in India, but the fall in prices at a global level and lower demand are not promising. Most of the farmers have debts with local banks and cannot pay the high interest rates.
According to some activists, multinationals have some responsibility because they persuade Indian farmers to buy seeds from genetically modified organisms: The failure of such crops cause suicides. Other scholars dispute this correlation, recalling that the genetically modified cotton was introduced in India in 2002 and led to an average increase of domestic production, reduced the use of pesticides with benefits for the environment and the health of farmers.
The Indian Church monitors the phenomenon and has repeatedly defined it "a deep wound for the Indian society", expressing solidarity towards farmers and promoting through Caritas India aid programs and assistance to small farmers, encouraging professional training and microcredit. The Church calls upon the Indian Government to put in place measures to ensure food security to the population. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 02/06/2015)