Monday, July 4, 2011

Lack of rains drive farmers in Vidarbha to suicide-Gulf News Report

  • Gulf News

Lack of rains drive farmers in Vidarbha to suicide

Failing rainfall continues to threaten sustainability of cotton farms

  • By Pamela Raghunath, Correspondent
  • Published: 00:00 July 5, 2011
Mumbai: The Vidarbha agriculture crisis has once again triggered a spate of suicides with five debt-strapped farmers ending their lives in the past four days.

Their deaths have taken the number of suicide cases to 431 in 2011, said Kishor Tiwari of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS).

Poor rains across this region are sending millions to desperation.

"With rains failing us and crop loans not forthcoming from banks, farmers are desperately asking for a solution from the state," Tiwari told Gulf News from Nagpur. "One tribal farmer did the sowing before committing suicide," he said.

Weathermen predicted a good monsoon season this year prompting farmers to acquire and sow expensive cotton seeds.


In the districts of Yavatmal and Washim where rainfall was initially good, farmers rushed to complete sowing 80 per cent of cultivable land.

"Now, even with the onset of July, poor rainfall has sent panic signals among the three million [people living in] farming communities all over Vidarbha where delayed monsoon has damaged sowing in one million hectares," Tiwari said.

"The situation is worse in the cotton-soybean belt of western Vidarbha's Amravati division where at least in three districts no sowing operation has been carried out due to poor monsoon activity."

Tiwari said people are wondering why weathermen are not making monsoon forecasts based on scientific data.

He said agriculture officials from Nagpur and Amravati are hopeful that rains in the next couple of days will reverse the situation even as farmers have started counting their losses.


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