Farmer Suicides in India

posted in: Science | 11
Field of cotton by Brian Hathcock via Flickr.

We’ve all heard about the tragic suicides of farmers in India, and we’ve all seen blame placed on Bt cotton. Vandana Shiva has been a leading finger pointer, saying that farmer suicides are due to genetically engineered crops (specifically, due to Monsanto), as in the April 2009 post From Seeds of Suicide to Seeds of Hope: Why Are Indian Farmers Committing Suicide and How Can We Stop This Tragedy?, instead of focusing on real problems like the lack of fair credit.


The farmer suicides in India were studied in depth in an October 2008 report Bt Cotton and Farmer Suicides in India: Reviewing the Evidence by IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institute). I covered the report over at Genetic Maize in Bt cotton and suicides in India, but I have zero experience in India, so it wasn’t a very in depth post. Happily, I have just found the post I wish I had the experience to write!

Siddhartha Shome writes about India and agriculture (among other things) at Sid’s Blog. His November 2008 post P. Sainath and Farmers’ Suicides in India is as relevant as the day it was written. I hope you’ll take a look. His recent post Frequently Asked Questions about GMOs and Bt-Brinjal is well worth a read as well.

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Anastasia is Policy Director of Biology Fortified, Inc. and the Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog. She has a PhD in genetics with a minor in sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University. Her favorite produce is artichokes!