domingo, abril 08, 2007

Fiasco de algodón Bt

India's farming crisis

Krishan Bir Chaudhary

New Agriculturalist, March 2007

Krishan Bir Chaudhary, executive chairman of Bharat Krishak Samaj

Krishan Bir Chaudhary is executive chairman of Bharat Krishak Samaj, India's largest farmer organisation. He is a farmer and leader, known for his anti-GM and anti-globalisation views, and for speaking out about the losses incurred by local farmers in the light of agricultural globalisation and liberalisation.

The distress of farmers in India can be traced back to the introduction of technology-led, capital intensive farming in the heyday of the Green Revolution. With the advent of 'economic liberalisation' and the globalisation of trade, this distress has been aggravated. Unfair rules of the multilateral global trading regime have depressed global and domestic prices, and denied Indian farmers adequate remunerative prices. The poor farmer is squeezed between high input costs and low returns. Credit obtained from formal or informal banking systems is unable to bail him out of this precarious situation. Caught in a vicious debt trap, many farmers have resorted to suicide.

BT cotton and the debt trap

Misled and misguided, the changeover to Bt cotton proved to be a total failure, causing severe losses for our cotton growers. The enormous loss and the resultant debt trap forced thousands of cotton growers to commit suicide. Bt cotton proved to be a total fiasco. Thousands and thousands of farmers have already committed suicide, and there seems to be no end to this tragic situation. Trends in suicide remain unabated even now, especially among cotton growers.

Significantly, farmer suicide is reported mainly from the high-tech agriculture belts, such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Punjab. All these states have embraced capital intensive and 'cutting edge' technology in the name of boosting production. In areas where traditional agricultural practices and organic farming are prevalent, such as Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, suicide is unheard of.


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