Hello, I’m Charlotte Bellis and you’re watching Newsy.com.
Farm families in India are losing their fathers and husbands.
In little more than a decade some 200-thousand Indian farmers have committed suicide after failure to repay loans.
Now, as Indian voters head to the polls, many are highlighting the growing plight of farm families.
Radio blog Underground Wellness and Maryland Public Television blame the suicides on companies who unfairly target uneducated farmers:“Had used Bollywood actors, Indian actors, to sell illiterate farmers genetically engineered seed at much higher costs than they had ever paid before."
)“The innocent farmer is grabbed by the agent, who says this is a miracle seed, you’re gonna be a millionaire. The farmer has no idea. He has no idea he’ll have to come back for pesticide. When the leaves shrivel, the agent will say you also need this loan… and here’s another loan.”
(Maryland Public Television
London-based reporter Anu Anand says the problem shows the Indian government’s focus on the urban rich at the expense of the rural poor:“Here the bones of other bankrupted farmers lie unearthed by wild animals. His father tells me his son hoped by killing himself his family might get government compensation.”
Indian newspaper Nhatky
brings us the response from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promising to “wipe farmers’ tears” by finding ways to ensure that farmers gain from the country’s economic growth.
PBS looks at the irony of mass suicides in a country recognized as a growing economic leader:“But only images of this new prosperity have reached the impoverished rural areas, where most Indians live, feeding consumer appetites completely at odds with the reality here.”
France 24 reports 1,000 Indian farmers commit suicide every year in the Vidarbha region of central India
In some areas, 9 out of 10 farmers are unable to repay their debts.
The BBC reports
farmers’ unions in India are urging farmers not to vote in the country’s elections if parties don’t start addressing their needs.
So what do you think? What can the Indian government do to help reduce the number of farmer suicides in India?