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Loss of hope driving Saurashtra farmers to suicide

Wednesday, 22 August 2012 - 5:28pm IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: dna
Farmers in Saurashtra are under great financial pressure because of near-complete failure of crops caused by poor monsoon this year.

Farmers in Saurashtra are under great financial pressure because of near-complete failure of crops caused by poor monsoon this year. The situation is so bad that 11 farmers in Saurashtra have already committed suicide because of debt. Failure of crops had, apparently, deprived them of all hope about getting any help from any quarter.

Experts believe that if the government does not intervene immediately, the situation will become much worse after Diwali. Senior leader of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), Praful Senjalia, said that most farmers of the region were under debt.

“True, we had 10 good monsoons but farmers did not have very good returns. Moreover, the rise in support prices or even in market prices was lower than the cost of inputs. So long as we had good monsoon, the farmers were able to rotate money from one year to the next. The rotation cycle has got disrupted this year, leaving them with deeply in debt,” he said.

Amreli and Jamnagar have recorded two farmer suicides. “The situation in Amreli is grim. We need immediate assistance from the government,” Senjalia added.  Thanga Savaliya, Amreli district president of BKS, said that the district’s farmers had suffered financial reverses for three consecutive years.

“In 2010, Amreli district had unseasonal rain in November and December. But the farmers have not got a refund of their crop insurance money so far. In 2011, the crop was damaged because of heavy rainfall. This year’s crop failure is like a death blow,” Savaliya said.

Some experts are of the opinion that the recent suicides have more to do with the socio-economic conditions than with crop failure alone. Dr Thobahn Dholaria, a producer and marketer of seeds, said that the debt trap problem is limited to small and marginal farmers.

“They may have borrowed more than their capacity to pay and that too from moneylenders and not from financial institutions. Loan sharks can go to any extent to ensure recovery of loans,” Dholaria said. “It is not crop failure as much as the feeling that they will get no help from anywhere that is the real reason behind the suicides,” he added.




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