Loss of government subsidies, international competition and recently erratic climate patterns are all being blamed for a staggering number of Indian farmers who are resorting to suicide, Al-Jazeera is reporting.
More than 17,368 Indian farmers reportedly killed themselves in 2009, the worst figure for farm suicides in six years and an increase of 1,172 from the previous year's figure, data from the National Crime Records Bureau indicate. Nearly all of the bereaved families of those who have committed suicide reportedly had problems with debt and land loss due to failing crops.
"Poverty has assaulted rural India," journalist Palagummi Sainath, an expert on rural poverty in India, told The Independent, before noting that most of the suicides are taking place in the region known as the nation's cotton belt. The price of cotton in real terms, he says, is roughly a twelfth of what it was 30 years ago. "Farmers who used to be able to send their children to college now can't send them to school."
Watch Al-Jazeera's full report on Indian farmer suicides here: