A newspaper report states “In what has been called the single largest wave of recorded suicides in human history,Indian farmers are now killing themselves in record numbers. It has been extensively reported, even in mainstream news, but nothing has been done about the issue. The cause? Monsanto’s cost-inflated and ineffective seeds have been driving farmers to suicide and is considered to be one of the largest… causes of the quarter of a million farmer suicides over the past 16 years.” What do you think caused these suicides? What steps should the government have taken before the seeds were used by farmers, so that this would not come to pass?
Ans. Failure of cash crops like soya and cotton due to excessive rain and increase in the input cost of Bt cotton seeds supplied by Monsanto, as well as of fertilisers and pesticides, has increased the agrarian crisis in Vidarbha.
The cultivation cost has almost doubled due to unusual rise in the prices of seeds, fertilisers and labour rate, whereas the crop has failed. Due to this, the farmers could not manage even their food expenses, leave alone repaying their loans. As there was no government procurement of crops (whatever crops were available) at the Minimum Support Price (MSP), this forced farmers to offload their crops at throw away prices, resulting in heavy losses. The government should have asked the banks to postpone the recovery of loans where applicable, procured crops at the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and provided rations at subsidised rates to all affected farmers, so that they were not driven to commit suicide.