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The plight of farmers and farming in India...and elsewhere

This piece, "Save our annadatas" from The Asian Age, deals with the ever-growing plight of farmers in India, but also goes on to make the point of how global behemoths, like Monsanto and Pepsi are creating problems for farmers in America, and in many cases leading to their suicide.

"The peasants and farmers of India are the most resilient and independent community I have ever known. They have defended their rights and fought injustice and bounced back after every flood, drought and crop failure.

Why then are they giving up on life today? Why are they committing suicide in such large numbers? Addressing these questions has become a critical survival imperative not only for farmers, but also for all of us who rely on the food they put on our tables.


The epidemic of farmers’ suicides in India started after 1995, when agriculture policies were changed under the pressure of the World Trade Organisation agreements that ushered in the era of corporate globalisation. When Lee Kyung-hae, a South Korean farmer, killed himself at a WTO protest in Cancun, Mexico, in 2003. He wore a sign that read, “WTO kills farmers”.


Corporate globalisation has brought four tectonic shifts to Indian agriculture as well, setting it on the path that’s leading to devastation."


****

"The epidemic of farmers’ suicides began in the cotton belt where Monsanto, American biotechnology corporation, has monopolised the cottonseed supply with its genetically modified organism Bt cotton. Over the past year, suicides have spread to potato farmers in West Bengal who are growing potatoes for Pepsi Co."

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