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Crushed By Debt & Neoliberal Reforms, Indian Farmers Commit Suicide at Staggering Rate - Human Rights Crisis of Epic Proportions


World  (tags: India, farming, suicide epidemic, govt, failure, debt relief, irrigation, CashCrops, GMO, Bt cotton, neoliberal reform, globalization, report: Every 30 Minutes:, Farmer Suicides, Human Rights, Agrarian Crisis, CenterforHumanRights&GlobalJustice )

LucyKalei
- 1321 days ago - democracynow.org
250,000 Indian farmers've committed suicide in last 16 yrs: average of 1 suicide every 30". Economic liberalization removed farm subsidies & opened Indian agriculture to global market. Small farmers trapped in cycle of insurmountable debt, desperation



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LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (80)
Friday May 13, 2011, 2:55 pm
Democracy Now! video inteview with guest Smita Narula, faculty director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University Law School, co-author of the report, "Every Thirty Minutes: Farmer Suicides, Human Rights and the Agrarian Crisis in India."

AMY GOODMAN: We turn to the issue of farmer suicides in India, where a quarter of a million farmers have committed suicide in the last 16 years. On average, that figure suggests one farmer commits suicide every 30 minutes.

Today, the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU Law School will release a report called "Every Thirty Minutes: Farmer Suicides, Human Rights and the Agrarian Crisis in India." (pdf. 54 pgs)

The agricultural sector in India has become more vulnerable to global markets as a result of economic liberalization. Reforms in the country have included the removal of agricultural subsidies and the opening of Indian agriculture to the global market. These reforms have led to increased costs, while reducing yields and profits for many farmers.

As a result, small farmers are often trapped in a cycle of insurmountable debt, leading many to take their lives out of sheer desperation. The rate of suicide is highest among cotton farmers. Like other cash crops in India, the cotton industry is increasingly dominated by foreign multinational corporations that tend to promote genetically modified cottonseed and often control the cost, quality and availability of agricultural inputs.

To discuss this issue, we’re joined by Smita Narula, faculty director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU.
 

Kay M. (0)
Friday May 13, 2011, 4:57 pm
Thank you for alerting us!!
 

Mike S. (86)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 5:06 am
Noted and shared. Thank you for the post.
 

Jeannette A. (146)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 7:18 am
Thank you for an eye-opening article... it brings a lot of things into perspective.
 

Ralph F. (64)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 7:38 am
Noted with sadness.
 

Simone D. (1476)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 8:05 am

Very tragic.
 

Simone D. (1476)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 8:06 am

Thank you Angelika for the forward/
 

Angelika R. (144)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 8:23 am
..another tragic but typical example of NWO by the ELITE AT WORK.. Suicides are of course their favorite way of depopulation.
Had heard about this before, quite some time ago, think when it started out with Jojoba plantations for biomass.
Thanks for posting Jill, have spread it.
 

Stephen Hannon (203)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 8:57 am
Thank you for this story. I had no idea this has been going on for the past 16 yrs. without any attention being paid to this crisis. It goes to show how our alleged representatives allowing this horror to continue...
 

Pamylle G. (463)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 9:05 am
Thank goodness for DN!, which covers things from a more global perspective, with reports like this, and guests like Vandana Shiva, who has also discussed this tragic trajectory of corporate greed, land-theft & domination all over the world. The implication for the future is frightening if REAL farmers can't grow food !
 

Nancy C. (812)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 10:02 am
Multinational GM Companies profiting...surorise...These statistics are staggering, sad, tragic and somewhat hidden. Time for the greedy to take hold.
 

Alicya L. (228)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 10:29 am
very sad
 

Arielle S. (317)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 10:37 am
Companies like Monsanto must be so proud....
 

Allan Yorkowitz (448)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 10:45 am
Simply incredible information. When this man said the Indian government doesn't understand the size of the problem, what he really wanted to say is the government doesn't care about the problem. I read about the problem, and I do understand the size of the problem.
For years, a farmer hills himself every 30 minutes, and the government doesn't have an answer?
 

Carol H. (229)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 10:56 am
sadly noted
 

Krasimira B. (175)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 12:37 pm
Ban GMO! Noted with sadness...
 

Kit H. (173)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 12:55 pm
Gobalization and oligarchy in agricultural business is to blame. This has stopped serving people and only caused harms way beyond humanity.
 

Just Carole (338)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 12:56 pm

So glad to see this make "Front Page."

Kudos, Jill!

 

Doug G. (0)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 2:39 pm
The Global Economy and Adam Smith and all the paradigms economists hold on to like some sort of bible, but the negative impacts can be seem globally and daily. Needed are open discussions that would change things around to benefit communities instead of this disgusting mess now in place.
 

Valjean O. (23)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 2:48 pm
Thank you OMG! This is maddness, how can we help?????
 

Carol Cowbrough (95)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 3:24 pm
How sad! That's a HUGE amount of unnecessary deaths. Noted. Thank you.
 

Carol H. (32)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 4:04 pm
MONSANTO KILLS IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE. Good ole Monsanto strikes again. They could give a sh*t about the people. Why is this devil corporation allowed to exist? They set people up for failure, they poison the land with their poison crops that can't even reproduce themselves! SICKENING! I think our US farmers are finally 'getting it'. I surely hope it's not too late.
 

(0)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 4:33 pm
Very, very tragic. Noted.
 

Darlene Sabella (19)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 5:16 pm
Hello my kind friend, yes the state of this affair is unbelievable in our world today. It's heading this way, with the flooding in our mid part of America has destroyed thousands of farms. All under water today. Why is this happening in our World, times are scary and we must brace ourselves for the worse of this world is yet to come. Love & peace darlene
 

Lionel G. (4)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 6:15 pm
What's happening in India is a replay of what happened in the U.S. in the 1980s. and yes, farmers in Iowa were committing suicide. There's a heart-searing movie about it, called "Country" but your search engine will never find it because their stupid software keeps insisting you really want to check out a movie called Country Strong, which has not a damned thing to do with the movie called Country.
 

Henriette Matthijssen (148)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 7:39 pm
And because of greed of a few! Inhumane & so tragic, money before people's lives, goes to show how low our society has fallen! I pray for enlightenment of the mass to wake up to this horror! Thanks PeasantDiva.
 

wendi huffman (4)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 8:29 pm
noted & thanks for sharing
 

Linda N. (0)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 8:47 pm
We all, yes all of us need to become farmers. All of us need to learn to grow our own food. All of us need to insist that a seed be able to reproduce the plant that produced it. Monsanto is trying desperately to stop this, to force us to buy every seed that we plant. Farmers know this is not sustainable. We all must be farmers. We must stop the insanity of Monsanto.
 

Naoko I. (260)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 9:00 pm
Thanks for bringing up this important and alerming issue here (and on the front page) PeasantDiva.
 

John Kirkby (23)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 9:11 pm
Noted and I've posted this story (by link) on my Twitter page where I'm CloneofReality
 

Elizabeth M. (68)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 9:44 pm
Thank You for this Human Rights Alert, Jill. Very, very tragic to have a person gone every 30 min., because they no longer own their own land, and have to plant what they are told, and have ended up with huge debt hanging over their heads.
This is appearing to be a very cruel world we now live in!
 

Lisa H. (180)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 10:00 pm
No, the government doesn't care. They are probably already owned by these corporate giants! What a nice legacy for Monsanto, Syngenta, and the Gates Foundation to own. Except that without media pressure, they will never own their responsibilities in the global disaster they are creating. And the Murdoch media will never do so! The overwhelming joys of capitalism are now infecting the entire world!
 

J. R. (0)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 11:20 pm
Who is at fault but the government!
 

Colleen L. (2)
Saturday May 14, 2011, 11:51 pm
So sad. Thanks PeasantDi
 

ellen m. (222)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 12:37 am
Whoa..where the heck have I been? I don't remember ever hearing about this before! The number of suicides is staggering, but multiply that number by family members and it rips my heart out.
This should be front page news everywhere.
And we continue to give financial aid, (of which we basicly have to borrow before we can give it) to goverments that aren't concerned about their own people. All kinds of blame to go around here. Tragic.
 

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (80)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 4:52 am
As Ellen so rightly points out, a quarter of a million suicides over 16 years is staggering on its own, but add to that the number of widows & the children deprived of their father & bread winner, and you realize just how enormous & far-reaching this tragedy is!

I am so sorry that I have only been able to return to this post now, for I fear that the many commenters will not have the opportunity to see the additional info & resources I will now be adding, as well as the credit that Vandana Shiva should be getting for denouncing this tragedy and its causes since 1997, and consistently providing solutions, both at the small farmers' level & in international instances, like the WFO and elsewhere. Whether in international conferences, in the Indian agrarian countryside, or in the courts, Shiva has devoted her life to agricultural biodiversity & the struggle of small farmers for life & some semblance of prosperity.

There has been precious little coverage of their struggle & her work. I have known of both since 2003.
Anyone who visits my page at C2 will see that I have devoted considerable space to this cause & provide links to the most recent coverage, i.e. before the release of the new study.


Vandan Shiva is the one fighting for seed sovereignty, with her seed bank; she is the one going out to the poor agricultural regions of India, showing the small farmers how organic farming can work for them - showing them how they can become part of the movement to save, preserve & swap natural seeds for greater biodiversity & more nutritious varieties of produce; she is the one who has protested & demonstrated & organized protests against Coco-Cola stealing precious ground water for their bottling plants, when Indian farmers can't get enough for their crops; she is the one who has denounced the so-called 'Green Revolution' & its celebrity champions like Bill & Melissa Gates; she is the one who has endlessly & patiently explained what Monsanto & biotech seeds mean for the future of biodiversity & the food on our tables; she is the one who has denounced the causes of the Indian agrarian suicide epidemic & 'kept score' -the tragic score of the tens of thousands of small, poor Indian farmers who have committed suicide since 1997, because the Monsanto biotech seeds recommended (pushed!) by the Indian govt -via their agronomists out in the field- were not appropriate (too water-hungry) for draught-plagued land & the promised greater yields were never realized -- and the crops (mostly bt cotton) were not resistant to pests, so these poor farmers got caught up in a spiral of debt, having to buy -on credit- ever greater amounts of pesticides, in a frantic & doomed effort to save their bt cotton. Tragic irony -- many of the 170,000 Indian farmers who committed suicide between 1997 & 2009 (i don't have the figures up to present, 2011) did so by drinking the same pesticide that caused their destitution & distress.

The Free Press - "Harvest of Suicides" by Vandana Shiva, May 11, 2009

Dr Shiva's "Navdanya" web site , containing everything you could possibly want or need to know about her activism & actions, as well as her blog


The rare mainstream media coverage:

April 28, 2009 - From Seeds of Suicide to Seeds of Hope: Why Are Indian Farmers Committing Suicide and How Can We Stop This Tragedy? (HuffPost World)by Vandana Shiva, Physicist, environmentalist, feminist, writer and science policy advocate


13-min Video - July 26, 2005 - PBS 'Rough Cut' "Seeds of Suicide" - India's desperate farmers (good, though underplays Monsanto's role & no of suicides, IMHO)



There have been quite a few posts on C2NN on Shiva, her work & the suicide epidemic. I have checked them out & the videos & articles are still available online. A sample:

Video - 133 days ago- Vandana Shiva - "The Future of Food and Seed" - Scientist, feminist, ecologist and author, Vandana Shiva, presenting the keynote address at the 2009 Organicology Conference in Portland, Oregon, on February 28, 2009

1645 days ago- Organic farming a solution to poverty, says Vandana Shiva
-- `People must be reminded of old food culture'
-- Environmentalist calls for priority to market organic produce
-- `Climatic change taking its toll on farming'
(BANGALORE) Environmentalist Vandana Shiva on Friday cautioned that poverty in rural areas was increasing and called for adoption of ecological agriculture which was not only productive but also a solution to poverty.
Delivering a lecture on agrarian crisis at the Indian Organic Congress 2006 organised by the Organic Services and International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture (ICCOA) here, Dr. Vandana Shiva dwelt on the hazards of chemical farming. Risks involved in genetic engineering threatened public health.


Video - 309 days ago - A Debate on Geoengineering: Vandana Shiva Vs. Gwynne Dyer : Supporters of geoengineering have proposed radical ways to alter the planet to decrease the level of greenhouse gas emissions. Proposals include creating artificial volcanoes to pollute the atmosphere with sulfur particles, fertilizing the oceans and placing sun-deflecting aluminum foil in the sky. But opposition is growing to geoengineering. We host a debate between Indian environmentalist, scientist, philosopher and eco-feminist, Vandana Shiva, and geopolitical analyst and columnist, Gwynne Dyer. [includes rush transcript]

- 1613 days ago- Democracy Now! | Vandana Shiva on Farmer Suicides, the U.S.-India Nuclear Deal, Wal-Mart in India and More - "In India, more than three hundred farmers climbed water tanks in the country’s central Vidarbha region, many of them threatening to commit suicide unless the government fulfilled their demands to lift them out of poverty. Throughout India, more and more troubled farmers are killing themselves. Up to three farmers a day swallow pesticides, hang themselves from trees, drown themselves in rivers, set themselves on fire or jump down wells. Many of them are plagued by debt, poor crops and hopelessness."

•Vandana Shiva, world-renowned environmental leader and thinker. She is also a physicist and ecologist and the Director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology, and Ecology. She is the founder of Navdanya–"nine seeds", a movement promoting diversity and use of native seeds. Dr. Shiva was the 1993 recipient of the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize–the Right Livelihood Award. And she is the author of many books, her latest is "Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace."

- 1318 days ago -"How to Address Humanity's Global Crises? Challenge Corporate Power, Embrace True Democracy": Physicist, Agronomist, Activist, Writer, Vandana Shiva At DC Conference on Global Warming, Resource Depletion & End of Cheap Oil Shiva outlines the scope of the "triple threat"-Global Warming, Resource Depletion, End of Cheap Oil. Globalization of agriculture has become genocidal. Monsanto has pushed 150,000 Indian farmers to end their lives: "We've challenged them; they're in the courts now!"


the most recent- 12 days ago - Vandana Shiva: "Understanding the Corporate Takeover", Grit TVwith Laura Flanders: The American people should see that corporations have abandoned them long ago," says scientist, environmentalist, and food justice activist Dr. Vandana Shiva, named one of the seven most influential women in the world by Forbes magazine.
 

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (80)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 4:54 am
http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/rough/2005/07/seeds_of_suicid.html :
13-min Video - July 26, 2005 - PBS 'Rough Cut' "Seeds of Suicide" - India's desperate farmers (good, though underplays Monsanto's role & no of suicides, IMHO)

 

Herbert E. (10)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 4:55 am
It began in the early thirties with banks chasing small farmers off their lands
in Oklahoma and the start of mechanized farming. Lots of farmers starved then.
John Steinbeck - The Grapes of Wrath, - still worth reading.
Today, there is Monsanto and their ilk, poisoning the lands and killing farmers.
They don't do it themselves, as they are christians. Desperate farmers committing
suicide, drinking Glyphosate, as a last reverence to Monsanto.
May I recommend again Vandana Shiva's books ?
 

Many Feathers (133)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 7:06 am
Staggering tragedy...
 

John Y. (98)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 7:20 am
Thanks for the information.
 

Jytte Nhanenge (64)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 7:23 am
Thank you a million for this report Dear PeDi. I have with gratefulness downloaded the pdf report.
 

leanne Torio (244)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 7:34 am
I think we all better buckle up and brace ourselves for global collapse! Live each day to the fullest because the end seems looming fast!
 

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (80)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 11:31 am
Herbert has recommended Dr Shiva's books but hasn't mentioned any of them.
Let me correct that :

Eco Books - Vandana Shiva page

Vandana Shiva is one of the world's most dynamic and provacative thinkers. Born in India in 1952, she trained as a physicist at the University of Western Ontario in Canada. At the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, India, she did research in science, technology and environmental policy. In 1982, she set up the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in her home town of Dehra Dun in the foothills of the Himalaya. The foundation's studies have validated the ecological value of traditional farming and have been instrumental in fighting destructive development projects in India.

Among Dr. Shiva's many awards are the Right Livelihood Award in 1993, the Order of the Golden Ark, Global 500 Award of the UN, Earth Day International Award, the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace and the Sydney Peace Prize 2010. Time Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as an environmental “hero” in 2003, and Asia Week has called her one of the five most powerful communicators of Asia. She serves on the boards of many organizations, including the World Future Council, the International Forum on Globalization and Slow Food International.

Her books include:

Earth Democracy

Water Wars

Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply

Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge

Ecofeminism with Maria Mies

The Violence of the Green Revolution : Third World Agriculture, Ecology and Politics

Monocultures of the Mind : Perspectives on Biodiversity and Biotechnology

Biopolitics : A Feminist and Ecological Reader on Biotechnology, editor with Ingunn Moser

Biodiversity : Social and Ecological Consequences


From the Right Livelihood Award Profile of Vandana Shiva

Shiva's record has been that of the totally committed, very productive and effective activist-advocate-intellectual. As an activist she has co-ordinated, supported and learned from grassroots networks on a wide range of issues across India. As an advocate, especially in international fora, she has proved one of the most articulate spokespersons of counter-development in favour of people-centered, participatory processes. As an intellectual she has produced a stream of important books and articles, which have done much both to form and address the agenda of development debate and action.

Her foundation is an informal network of researchers, working in support of people's environmental struggles, part of the objective of which is the articulation and justification of people's knowledge. The foundation has done important work in a number of areas, including:

* Agriculture and genetic resources. Shiva's critical analysis of the effects of the Green Revolution, and looking beyond it to the impacts of the 'second' Green Revolution powered by genetic engineering, is of pioneering importance. For more than 15 years, she has been a campaigner on the ethical and ecological impacts of genetic engineering. She has led campaigns on bio-safety and built citizens' responses to the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture.

* Biodiversity. She started her work on biodiversity with the Chipko Movement in the 1970s. As with forestry and water, her contribution has gone beyond critique with the launch of a 'people's programme on biodiversity'. She has pioneered the organic movement in India and has built a new movement called Navdanya, the country’s biggest network of seed keepers and organic producers, for the conservation of indigenous seeds. Shiva sees biodiversity as intimately linked to cultural diversity and knowledge diversity. She has campaigned nationally and internationally against 'biopiracy' - the patenting of indigenous knowledge. Her book on the subject, Biopiracy, deals with the emerging corporate monopolies on the living resources of the poor.

* World Bank and WTO Campaigns. Shiva has been an important figure in putting pressure on the World Bank, which the Bank has been forced to take increasingly seriously. She represented 'Nature' at the People's Tribunal on the World Bank and IMF in Berlin in 1988 and was on the steering group of the People's Forum, which coincided with World Bank meetings in 1991. Shiva has also initiated major movements in India on World Trade Organisation (WTO) issues, especially on intellectual property and agriculture. She is a founding Board member of the International Forum on Globalisation, the citizens' group dedicated to monitoring and intervening on the impact of globalisation. She is currently leading an International Campaign on Food Rights, for people's right to knowledge and food security.

* Ecology and gender. Her book Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Survival (Zed, 1989) has had an international impact. She was a co-chair of the 1991 World Congress on Women and Environment, and she directed a dialogue on 'Women, ecology and health' with the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, leading to a volume of Development Dialogue edited by her. Shiva has launched a global movement called Diverse Women for Diversity, for the defence of biological and cultural diversity.


Amazon.com: Vandana Shiva - page 1 of 3 - this is interesting for two reasons - first, the list of her books is complete here, and, secondly, because Amazon includes reviews of books, press reviews and/or reader reviews.

Just an example:

'Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply' :

Editorial Reviews-

"A leading thinker who has eloquently blended her views on the environment, agriculture, spirituality, and women's rights into a powerful philosophy." -- Utne Reader

"One of the world's most prominent radical scientists." -- The Guardian

"Shiva...has devoted her life to fighting for the rights of the ordinary people of India...her fierce intellect and her disarmingly friendly, accessible manner have made her a valuable advocate for people all over the developing world." -- Ms. Magazine

"Vandana Shiva is a burst of creative energy and intellectual power." -- The Progressive

Shiva's Biopiracy was named a "Break-Through Book" on Intellectual Property in Lingua Franca in July/August 1999 issue. -- The Publisher

Reader review (one of many):
"In this remarkable book, Vandana Shiva effectively contrasts corporate command-and-control methods of food production with the small farmer economy that predominates in the third world (especially in her native India). In contast to what many here in the U.S. might perceive as the conventional wisdom, Shiva makes a strong argument that local, small scale agriculture is superior to the agribusiness model for a number of reasons.

First, Shiva points out that many of the productivity gains attributable to the Green Revolution were achieved by dramatically increased inputs of fertilizer, seed and water. When one compares units of input with units of output, however, native practices produce higher yields -- especially when one takes into account the multiple uses derived from a single product.

For example, mustard oil is a vital product used by many of India's poor for cooking, seasoning, medicine and other uses. But it has been banned by the Indian government (under highly suspicious circumstances) in order to allow imports of soybean oil products. While giant corporations benefit from expanded sales, native industries have been destroyed, contibuting to poverty and malnourishment.

Shiva discusses the commercial fishing and aquaculture (shrimp farming) practices that inevitably result in environmental destruction and reduced catches. She compares this short-sighted approach with traditional Indian fishing techniques that have successfully sustained themselves for generations while protecting important ecosystems such as mangrove forests.

Shiva discusses corporate patenting of seeds, which insidiously transforms the cooperative ethic of seed sharing into a criminal offense. The author supports a non-cooperation movement in India that is resisting corporate attempts to claim ownership of seeds that have been cultivated by countless generations of farmers.

Shiva's sacred cow / mad cow metaphor effectively and appropriately contrasts agribusiness with small farming. India's sacred cows live in harmony with the environment, performing multiple services and producing multiple products for the community; whereas mad cows are a grotesque manifestation of an industrial system obsessed with uniformity, technology and profit.

Shiva also touches on the topic of genetic engineering (GE) and discusses the threat it poses to biodiversity, food safety and human health.

The Afterword to the book alludes to the WTO protests in Seattle. Shiva believes this watershed event proves that people are becoming more aware of the dangers of unaccountable corporate power, yet she believes that positive change is possible. This opening of consciousness to new possibilities may be attributable to the extraordinary work of people like Vandana Shiva, whose intelligence and compassion is abundantly evident in this book. Highly recommended! "
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 12:13 pm
Neoliberalism = fright wing, fascist bastards.
 

Lynne Buckley (0)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 12:19 pm
Very sad.
 

Linda H. (8)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 12:39 pm
This is a terrible predicament for India's small farmers. Certainly biodiversity is critical and maximizing production in local small farms is part of this picture. The tragedy of small farms is exacerbated by the huge population problems in India and many areas of the world. Farms can only be divided down so much within a family or village without causing plots to be too small to produce even enough for the family to live on. Community cooperatives offer a possible helpful approach, but it isn't enough to feed the population or trade sufficiently to support farmers. Biodiversity is essential and the perhaps the Indian farmers can be compensated for producing not only organic foods, but paid for seed conservation from different varieties of seeds for similar crops. Perhaps this is what Shiva recommends in part. The notion that Coco Cola takes precedence for water is disgusting.
 

Robert O. (12)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 12:40 pm
So sad and tragic.
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 2:06 pm
Incomprehensible that those who could curb this horror lack the moral fiber to roll up their sleeves and fight to alleviate it.
A shameful race of beings we are.
But thank you for posting this Peasant Diva.
 

Leia P. (7)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 2:19 pm
wow
 

Stefano Vescovini (0)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 2:34 pm
Thanks
 

TERRANCE N. (65)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 5:31 pm
The rich olicarch's are literaaly surrounding us with death through sellout politicians in both parties, corporate media brainwashing, deadly sick care, corporat oil spills, fracking, homelessness, pollution, treasonist eliminating of jobs overseas, and they have the nerve to point to the CIA created Bin Laden terrorist threat. Wake up people. We have brains to eliminate the rich, just like the rich are eliminating us. Our first rationale for this elimination is that their greed is no longer sustainable.
 

Brad Kraus (6)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 6:22 pm
The use of neoliberal and liberalization I think are misleading. The corporatization of food, a basic need of all people, should not be patented and restricted. Food belongs to the people, especially the farmers who grow it. As the descendant of a long line of farmers, I deplore the multinationals such as Monsanto, Cargill, ADM, etc. Vandana Shiva is right!
 

Lulu L. (0)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 7:31 pm
NWO at it's best once more! Just another example of their cold-blooded ways to hurt/kill/depopulate earth so they can have every thing. Sure would not want to be in their shoes on Judgement day. My heart aches for these poor people. Isn't there something that can be done to help stop this?
 

Jaclin S. (230)
Sunday May 15, 2011, 11:23 pm
PeasantDiva thank you for bringing this to our notice - for my part I am absolutely shocked - how sad is this - what is our world coming to??? Peace and Harmony To All.
 

Cindy Black (61)
Monday May 16, 2011, 12:17 am
Good grief -- I knew it was bad, but not that bad!! Simply horrendous. Thank you, PeasantDiva, for all this information. Thank God for Vandana Shiva, for Amy Goodman and Democracy Now, and others who are fighting this fight, and I will help in whatever ways I can, which I'm afraid isn't much since I am barely working. I'm so hopeful that something can be done.

Unfortunately the health, vitality and adaptability of this planet to its inhabitants follows that old familiar Bell Curve configuration. We have risen, risen and continually progressed... then we've tapered off and plateau'ed; now we're speeding down the other side toward eventual doom. Can technology, for all its miracles, save us? I fear that technology has caused more problems than it will solve. As with so many other issues, human overpopulation is at the root of this terrible situation. Without overpopulation, greed and corruption wouldn't be nearly as enticing to the "more flawed" among us and wouldn't have nearly the negative impact it now has.
 

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (80)
Monday May 16, 2011, 12:37 am
Just discovered that I got my URLs mixed up up there in my 2nd comment! My mistaken 'Navdanya' link takes you to PBS's RoughCut video & report, "Seeds of Suicide - India's desperate farmers" !

Dr Shiva's "Navdanya" web site, containing everything you could possibly want or need to know about her activism & actions, as well as her blog :

Navdanya is a network of seed keepers and organic producers spread across 16 states in India.

Navdanya has helped set up 54 community seed banks across the country, trained over 500,000 farmers in seed sovereignty, food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture over the past two decades, and helped setup the largest direct marketing, fair trade organic network in the country.

Navdanya has also set up a learning center, Bija Vidyapeeth (School of the Seed) on its biodiversity conservation and organic farm in Doon Valley, Uttranchal, north India.

Navdanya is actively involved in the rejuvenation of indigenous knowledge and culture. It has created awareness on the hazards of genetic engineering, defended people's knowledge from biopiracy and food rights in the face of globalisation and climate change.

Navdanya is a women centred movement for the protection of biological and cultural diversity.
.......................................................................................................................................................

July 26, 2005 - PBS 'Rough Cut' "Seeds of Suicide - India's desperate farmers": 13-min Video + 'Background Facts & (a very impressive choice of many pertinent) Related Links' ( on the use of pesticides & "miracle seeds" in India.) (good, even excellent! though underplays Monsanto's role & no of suicides, IMHO)

 

greenplanet e. (157)
Monday May 16, 2011, 1:08 am
Yes, this is really tragic. Agribusiness and GMOs should stay out of India and leave traditional farming methods and crops alone.

There's a good biodynamic / organic movement in India also, which restores the soil and crop diversity in some places.
 

Klaus Peters (13)
Monday May 16, 2011, 1:29 am
Monsanto again, as usual. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Sickening!
 

Parvez Zuberi (7)
Monday May 16, 2011, 2:28 am
Thanks for sharing very sad and tragic story ,its just exploitation of poor by the rich
 

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (80)
Monday May 16, 2011, 3:18 am
In fact, it was the Huff Post article that got mistakenly linked to the PBS report.

Here's the right link for the April 28, 2009 Huff Post article "From Seeds of Suicide to Seeds of Hope: Why Are Indian Farmers Committing Suicide and How Can We Stop This Tragedy?" by Vandana Shiva

Several people on this thread have asked 'What can we do?' Aside from having a lot of money to take a quarter of a million Indian families out of their misery, there are no short-term or short-cut solutions to end this tragedy -- what we have to do is fight against CORPORATE CONTROL, the corruption of govts on the corporate take, fight against MONSANTO AND THEIR INFLUENCE -- that influence which is so great that even the US Embassy in Paris was at one point - as revealed by Wikileaks - taking about RETALIATION against FRANCE for supporting a MORATORIUM on GE/GMO seeds ! -- support ORGANIC FARMING everywhere & anywhere we can, not just on your own little plot of land, but in networks, commerical networks. Just being concerned with the safety & health of your own little harvest is copping out of the INTERNATIONAL BATTLE that needs soldiers, COMMITTED ACTIVISTS, and COMMITTED CONSUMERS, as well, who VOTE with their SHOPPING & their WALLETS! That is what MONSANTO & CARGILL understand -- they just want our business - DONT GIVE IT TO THEM & make it difficult for them to MAINTAIN their markets, their market share, & conquer new markets !

Lobby the WORLD BANK to make RADICAL POLICY CHANGES. Vandana says, "In 1998, the World Bank's structural adjustment policies FORCED India to open up its seed sector to GLOBAL CORPORATIONS like Cargill, Monsanto and Syngenta. The global corporations changed the input economy OVERNIGHT. Farm saved seeds were replaced by CORPORATE (PATENTED gm) SEEDS, which need FERTILIZERS and PESTICIDES and CANNOT BE SAVED."


Read all of what Vandana Shiva says in the HuffPost article I've linked to, and read this excerpt, with ways of fighting against agricultural injustice & agrarian tragedies:

"The region in India with the highest level of farmers suicides is the Vidharbha region in Maharashtra -- 4000 suicides per year, 10 per day. This is also the region with the highest acreage of Monsanto's GMO Bt cotton. Monsanto's GM seeds create a suicide economy by transforming seed from a renewable resource to a non-renewable input which must be bought every year at high prices. Cotton seed used to cost Rs 7/kg. Bt-cotton seeds were sold at Rs 17,000/kg. Indigenous cotton varieties can be intercropped with food crops. Bt-cotton can only be grown as a monoculture. Indigenous cotton is rain fed. Bt-cotton needs irrigation. Indigenous varieties are pest resistant. Bt-cotton, even though promoted as resistant to the boll worm, has created new pests, and to control these new pests, farmers are using 13 times more pesticides then they were using prior to introduction of Bt-cotton. And finally, Monsanto sells its GMO seeds on fraudulent claims of yields of 1500/kg/year when farmers harvest 300-400 kg/year on an average. High costs and unreliable output make for a debt trap, and a suicide economy.

While Monsanto pushes the costs of cultivation up, agribusiness subsidies drive down the price farmers get for their produce.

Cotton producers in the US are given a subsidy of $4 billion annually. This has artificially brought down cotton prices, allowing the US to capture world markets previously accessible to poor African countries such as Burkina Faso, Benin, and Mali. This subsidy of $230 per acre in the US is untenable for the African farmers. African cotton farmers are losing $250 million every year. That is why small African countries walked out of the Cancun negotiations, leading to the collapse of the WTO ministerial.

The rigged prices of globally traded agriculture commodities steal from poor peasants of the South. A study carried out by the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE) shows that due to falling farm prices, Indian peasants are losing $26 billion annually. This is a burden their poverty does not allow them t bear. As debts increase -- unpayable from farm proceeds -- farmers are compelled to sell a kidney or even commit suicide. Seed saving gives farmers life. Seed monopolies rob farmers of life.

Farmers suicides in the state of Chattisgarh have recently been before in the news. 1593 farmers committed suicide in Chattisgarh in 2007. Before 2000 no farmers suicides are reported in the state.

Chattisgarh is the Centre of Diversity of the indice varieties of rice. More than 200,000 rices used to grow in India. This is where EMINENT RICE SCIENTIST Dr. Richaria did his collections and showed that TRIBALS HAD BRED many rices with HIGHER YIELDS than the GREEN REVOLUTION varieties.

Today the rice farming of Chattisgarh is UNDER ASSAULT. When INDIGENOUS RICE is replaced with GREEN REVOLUTION VARIETIES, irrigation becomes necessary. Under globalization pressures, rice is anyway a lower priority than exotic vegetables. The farmers are sold hybrid seeds, the seeds need heavy inputs of fertilizers and pesticides, as well as intensive irrigation. And crop failure is frequent. This pushes farmers into debt and suicide.

Chattisgarh is also a prime target for growing of Jatropha for biofuel. Tribals farms are being forcefully appropriated for Jatropha plantations, aggravating the food and livelihood crisis in Chattisgarh. The diesel demand of the automobile industry is given a priority above the food needs of the poor.

The suicide economy of industrialized, globalised agriculture is suicidal at 3 levels - it is suicidal for farmers, it is suicidal for the poor who are derived food, and it is suicidal at the level of the human species as we destroy the natural capital of seed, biodiversity, soil and water on which our biological survival depends.

The suicide economy is not an inevitability. Navdanya has started a 'Seeds of Hope' campaign to stop farmers suicides. The transition from seeds of suicide to seeds of hope includes :

· a shift from GMO and non renewable seeds to organic, open pollinated seed varieties which farmers can save and share.

· a shift from chemical farming to organic farming.

· a shift from unfair trade based on false prices to fair trade based on real and just prices.


The farmers who have made this shift are earning 10 times more than the farmers growing Monsanto's Bt-cotton."
 

Dominic Delarmente (33)
Tuesday May 17, 2011, 1:34 am
Noted and Thanks for Sharing
 

Abdessalam Diab (151)
Thursday May 19, 2011, 11:30 am
Very sad.This is a petition about this topic.Unfortunately only 465 signed it.Please sign and ask others to sigh.10000 signatures needed.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/14/help-to-stop-the-indian-farmers-suicide/
Thanks Peasant for this post.
 

SuS NoMail Plez P. (244)
Friday May 20, 2011, 5:59 am
ThankX to everyone in achieving front page news! The word "Farmer" and the word "Suicide" bring tears to my eyes. Unfortunately I have been crying a river for decades over the fact that anyone on this Planet goes without HEALTHY ORGANIC FOODS. I just can't swallow this~ although I KNOW THE REALITY.

Thank you dearest Abdessalam for promoting this petition. Right this moment it has:
signatures: 562
signature goal: 10,000

I checked several hours ago and only about l00 signatures have been added. I know I signed it a few days ago at #107. WHAT SCARES THE HELL OUT OF ME is 10K signatures are required.

I humbly ask any any all who are on twitter and facebook to help.

ThankX Sweetie. Good to be back on you consistant AWESOME news!
 

carlee trent (11)
Monday June 20, 2011, 4:22 pm
wow not good
 
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