Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [karmayog] The Dying Fields of Vidharbha- Farmer Suicide -An Interview with Professor Bhagwati-Columbia

Expand Messages
  • Kisan Mehta
    Dear Mohanbhai, Read your note on the film Dying Fields depicting the continuing tragedy in Vidarbha, a region of Maharashtra admeasuring 45000 sq km. Nagpur
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 1, 2007
      Dear Mohanbhai,
      Read your note on the film 'Dying Fields' depicting the continuing 
      tragedy in Vidarbha, a region of Maharashtra admeasuring 45000
      sq km. Nagpur on the east side of Maharashtra is treated as 
      Maharashtra's second capital after Mumbai. 
      Obsessed with the commitment tof root out the use of synthetic
      fertilisers, hazardous pesticides and  hybrid seeds from farming
      operations and improve the soil fertility we in Prakruti launched a
      programme for organic cultivation in 1994-96. Vidarbh was
      selected as as a cotton growing region consumed maximum
      pesticides. Pesticides acoount for about 58% of the cost of
      cultivation of cotton, the highest amongst cultivation of all
      food and fibre items. The response was dramatic for us in
      Prakruti as we were hardly known in hte region. 135 farmers
      joined the campaign  with 1200 ha of their land. The produce  
      was inspected and certified by IFOAM approved German
      Agency as organic reducing substantally the farmer cost of
      cultivation. The International Cotton body headquartered in
      the US declared the Vidarbh project as the world's largest
      organic cotton cutlivation programme for the year 1995-96.     .
      Distressed by farner suicides, Prakruti organised a
      Sadbhavana Yatra to Vidarbha in June-July 2006 to meet
      families who had lost their only bread earner, students of
      agriculture. government and official instirutions. Prakruti
      report "Continuing FarmerSuicides in Vidarbha" covers
      the entire field of agriculture as well as governmental and
      societal responses to farmers and farming.  I believe one
      can find the report in the website savebombaycommittee.org.  
      You may find the Report comprehensive.
      Nobody, neither the government nor the community, has cared or
      cares for the toiler of the soil though his toil sustains the entire     
      Suicides are continuing unabated. Governmental policies and
      citizen disdain to farming are the underlying reasons. You may
      find it exhaustive covering all issues. 
      REferring to your earlier note, neither 'contract farming' nor
      'private public or raher private private partnership' where big
      business work out schemes for taking over land or the crops
      from famrers is good for farmers or the country. What we 
      need to evolve, through voluntary organisations farmer,
      grass root formal and informal cooperatives where mobilised
      farmers can insist on their minimum while facing the market
      forces. Models like 'Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)' 
      coming up with the support extended by suistainable
      agriculture promoters like biodynamicagriculture and
      permaculture in the US and on the Continent where local
      communitysupport farmers in exchange of advance
      assistance extended to farmers can be considered in
      the present situation. Mandies have failed to create
      that atmosphere as well.
      Realisng that agriculture contributes only 1.5%  to GNP/GDP,
      the authorites have started diverting cultivable lands through 
      'Special Economic Zones' and other activities through land
      acquisiitons. This is posing another danger. India is already
      short of cultivable land. Against nromal need of 0.2 ha per
      capita, we are already at precarious 0.14 ha. Diversion of
      land to other activities would cut down this average furher. 
      We need to look to land and protector of land from an angle 
      different from economic. Best wishes. 
      Kisan Mehta               Priya Salvi
      Save Bombay Committee and Prakruti
      102, Mausam, Plot 285, Sector 28, Vashi     
      Navi Mumbai 400705
      Cell  Kisan Mehta 9223448857
              Peiya Salvi   9324027494

      On 9/1/07, Mohan Jain <m.jain@...
      > wrote:

      Dear IDCA Members and Friends,

      Yesterday, I saw the following program on PBS channel. It was a big eye opener for me. I have saved the one hour film and would be happy to show at one of our monthly forums or on October 6-7 at IDCA's Fifth International Conference in Chicago. Please read the attached interview of Prof. Bhagwati and the following information about the issue and the film. I can watch an overview of the film at the following link:
      Please forward this email to all the concerned people.
      We will appreciate hearing your thoughts on this issue.
      Mohan L. Jain, Ph.D.
      Trustee and past President,
      India Development Coalition of America
      "Working Together to Accelerate Sustainable Development in India"
      630-303-9592 (O)


      The Dying Fields---Vidharbha Farmers Suicides

      The Issue

      India has increasingly embraced free trade and, since 2002, has had one of the world's fastest growing economies. But only images of this new prosperity have reached the impoverished rural areas where two thirds of India's 1.1 billion people live. Left behind by India's soaring economic boom is Vidarbha, a region of hilly forests in the middle of India. It used to be known as India's cotton belt - but now captures headlines as its suicide belt. In 2006, 1,044 suicides were reported in Vidarbha alone - that's one suicide every eight hours.

      Vidarbha farmers face a grim reality of crop failures, sinking global cotton prices and crushing debts. Farmers in default at the bank frequently resort to illegal moneylenders who charge up to 100 percent interest. And, the government safety net - that once kept cotton prices closer to the cost of production - has all but disappeared. Under India's new free trade policies, Vidarbha's 3.2 million cotton farmers - most of them small landholders - must compete in a global market that includes formidable, often subsidized rivals, including American cotton farmers.


      The Film

      At a moment when India is enjoying record economic growth, THE DYING FIELDS turns to Vidarbha's four million cotton farmers who have been left behind, struggling to survive on less than two dollars a day. WIDE ANGLE cameras follow Kishor Tiwari, former businessman turned farmer advocate, whose tiny office in the heart of this cotton-growing region functions as the archive and watchdog for the suicide epidemic; traveling salesmen hawking genetically modified - and costly - cotton seeds that require irrigation that few Vidarbha farmers have; the last rites of a farmer who couldn't pay his debts; a tour of the poison ward at the local hospital, where beds are always filled; and a visit by then-president of India, A.J.P. Abdul Kalam, whom the farming widows beseech for help in convincing the government to forgive their debts.

      Kisan Mehta                  Priya Salvi
      Save Bombay Committee and Prakruti
      102, Mausam, Plot 285, Sector 28, Vashi,
      Navi Mumbai 400705, India.
      Website: www.savebombaycommittee.org
      Cell: Kisan Mehta   0091 9223448857
              Priya Salvi      0091 9324027494
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.