ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Farmers' Suicides in Maharashtra

An agrarian crisis has precipitated a spate of suicides in Maharashtra. The suicide mortality rate for farmers in the state has increased from 15 in 1995 to 57 in 2004. The rain-dependent cotton growing farmers of Vidarbha are faced with declining profitability because of dumping in the global market by the US, low import tariffs, failure of the Monopoly Cotton Procurement Scheme and withdrawal of the state (resulting in declining public investment in agriculture, poor government agriculture extension services and the diminishing role of formal credit institutions). The farmer now depends on the input dealer for advice, leading to supplier-induced demand, and on informal sources of credit, which result in a greater interest burden. In short, the farmer is faced with yield, price, credit, income and weather uncertainties. The way out is to merge bold public policy initiatives with civil society engagement.

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