Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Farmer suicides explained in brief

Monsanto has been traced and pinned by farmers rights and human rights organizations worldwide as the single biggest culprit behind the Indian farmer suicides.

And not through free market economics : the Indian govt used taxpayer money to subsidize Monsanto's BT cotton and the associated fertilizers and pesticides;

and to make costly dams to (claim they will) supply the extra water needed by cotton, sugarcane and such cash crops.
There is simply not enough water falling on the Indian subcontinent to mass-grow cotton and sugarcane sustainably: simple fact.

They compelled the farmers to switch over to cash crops where they were growing enough food to feed themselves earlier.

Then the dams ran dry, the subsidies disappeared,

Monsanto hiked the prices on its seeds exponentially (what we call as copyright and royalty fees),

subsidies to textiles were removed (while tax holidays for major IT companies were preserved..),

the international prices of textiles fell (people don't really need to buy new clothes everyday, and with the global recession that consumerism was reigned in) >> cotton sales prices fell. And now the Indian farmer was spending more per year than what he was getting. Even sugar prices have had to be fixed artificially to prevent them from crashing.

Instead of telling them to switch back to growing real food, the farmers were pushed to take loans; banks reached all villages to facilitate lending, regulations were relaxed to give to more risky borrowers. Gold loans were promoted (even film stars advocated and spurred it).. with the undeclared knowledge that they'll never be able to buy back their gold. At some points loan waivers were also offered.

Microfinance was promoted on a massive scale and there too fraudulent NGOs ripped them off.

Satellite TV was spread to farthest reaches through generous discounts; and through television the farmers were bombarded with expectations of high-cost college education (which became a profiteering business, far from any noble intentions), lavish weddings, costly home refurbishments, petrol-consuming vehicles, in-home toilets, the whole delusion of development, to attain which, the farmer had no choice but to stick to using his land to grow cash crops instead of the food that could have fed his family.

As less lands were used to grow food, and more and more food needed to be bought, food shortages started, kicking up prices and they're still rising exponentially. Have you been to the sabji-mandi lately? Do you know anyone or any org that's even keeping track of how much the prices of basic foods have risen?

All intervention only makes more problems. The best thing that can be done right now is to actively remove the effects of all interventions.

They don't need intervention : They need de-intervention. They know how to switch back to growing enough food to feed their families. They need the space and the absence of other (false) promises, the scaling back of government advocacy and expectations and knee-jerk measures, to figure it out on their own.

Stop the intervention : the farmers will stop dying.

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