from Sunday Herald, 15 May 2011
Poor farmers are forced to take out big loans to buy expensive pesticides and fertilisers, and to dig wells for the increasing amounts of water they need. But when their crops fail, or their wells dry up, they fall into debt - and many thousands kill themselves out of desperation.
That is the bleak picture painted by P.V. Satheesh, the director of the Deccan Development Society, which supports community farming in one of the poorest parts of rural India. Sitting barefoot with his laptop in the shade outside his house in the village of Pastapur, in the Zaheerabad region of Andhra Pradesh, he gets angry about what’s happening.
Farmers are “misled” into believing the promise that the high-input, chemical-intensive, single-crop agriculture of the so-called ‘green revolution’ is their salvation, he says. So when it fails, they end up trapped in a debt spiral that too often leads to despair and suicide.
“Those that say that the green revolution will save the world should come and see the hundreds of thousands who have committed suicide in India," he warns. “The green revolution is a downhill slide into disaster.”