Every year thousands of farmers die by suicide. debt and exponential interest on it from private lenders, low production, no returns on production, and lack of support from the government make up for the reasons behind this. Every year as per NCRB, Maharashtra tops the list of farmer suicides. They leave behind dependents, especially widows, as in most cases they are sole bread earners. Women from suicide-affected families have to pick up from where the farmers left, along with the debts. However, systematic and gendered oppression only makes this more difficult.
The national catastrophe of farmer suicides has been a chronic socio-economic issue across rural India. With thousands of farmers dying by suicide every year, the state of Maharashtra has comparatively witnessed an increased number of suicides. Due to the inability to repay loans, increased farming costs, deep losses, and immense drought in arid regions, the predicament faced by farmers has not been effectively addressed by the government. In this video, the Centre’s Visual Storyboard team delves into evaluating the condition of women farmers. Based in a small village in Maharashtra, Mahananda Devidas Tompe speaks about her experience as a farmer. She puts forth how the hard work put into harvesting crops is not met with appropriate pricing, often resulting in losses rather than profits. From battling gender stereotypes to addressing the wider issues faced by the farming community in her village, her thoughts resonate with the deep-rooted problem of farmer suicides in India.
Many times, one thinks that government and degrees of market intervention would solve the inefficiencies of the informal economy but that is often not the case. India has had multiple instances of public policies implemented from a top-down approach as opposed to framing interventions in alignment with the realities on the ground. A similar case is observed in the agriculture sector, especially in areas like Vidarbha which has the highest rate of farmer suicide in India. Problems of irrigation, storage, and market prices are overlooked and focus is put on easier credit and loan facilities. Mr. Harish is aware of this and acknowledges that farmers should not have to undertake loans in the first place when indebtedness is already high. He also sheds light on the importance of recognizing the physical toil of a farmer and inclusion of women’s rights and issues in agri-landscape.
Farmers all over India have gone through several struggles in recent times. They express how now, more than ever, they need the Government’s support to face their problems. Suicide rates have skyrocketed amongst farmers in Maharashtra. This video centers around the various causes for this rapid increase in deaths. The main concern lies around the lack of water during the farming process, and how this leads farmers into debt and depression. Through this conversation, we see the urgent need to cater to the farmers needs and ensure that the essential resources are given to them.