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bollworm on cotton plant man in field sign for aruna pesticides wailing woman

Rough Cut
Seeds of Suicide
India's desperate farmers
 

 

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Length: 13:00

Image of reporter Chad Heeter

Chad Heeter is a freelance filmmaker and journalist from Lee's Summit, Mo. He's currently completing two master's degrees, in journalism and Latin American studies, at U.C. Berkeley. His next film will be a FRONTLINE/World Fellows project about landless workers in Brazil.

Introduction

Suicide by pesticide: It's an epidemic in India, where farmers try to keep up with the latest pest-resistant seeds only to find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle of pesticides that don't work, drought and debt. Since 1997, more than 25,000 farmers have committed suicide, many drinking the chemical that was supposed to make their crops more, not less, productive.

This week on Rough Cut, you'll join FRONTLINE/World correspondent Chad Heeter in verdant Andhra Pradesh, an agricultural state in eastern India where last summer an average of seven farmers killed themselves every day. In this part of the world, machinery, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and hybrid seeds -- all of which originated in the West -- often spell disaster rather than prosperity. "This is the other side of globalization," says Heeter, a student at U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

The tragedy unfolds from crop failure. Drought, pests, and spurious pesticides are expensive problems that small farmers don't have the means to rectify. In recent years, as Heeter finds in the fields of Andhra Pradesh, crop failure can often be traced to Bt cotton, a genetically modified breed that contains a pesticide that naturally occurs in soil rather than plants. Bt technology should, in theory, repel bollworm -- cotton's worst enemy -- but some farmers who plant more expensive Bt seeds often wind up worse off than those who don't. One farmer, Pariki, confides that after he fell into debt, his wife killed herself, leaving him to care for their three small children.

In the last seven years, bad seeds, costly pesticide and drought have triggered debt, then suicide for 4,500 farmers in Andhra Pradesh alone, but no one is taking responsibility -- not the government, whose policies encouraged cash crops like cotton; not the developers of genetically modified crops; and not the dealers, who insist that farmers don't follow instructions for their seed. Amazingly, Pariki harbors no grudges. "I'm not angry with anyone because the moneylender has the right to ask for repayment," he says.

Heeter discovers that less expensive, lower-risk organic farming methods might offer a solution for the cotton-growing crisis in India. But without a sea change in agriculture policy and practices, thousands more Indian farmers are likely to take their own lives.

REACTIONS

Peter Gray - Florence, Vermont
Same old story, people being exploted by big business. Honesty and integrity are hidden from the greedy business companies. Truth will win out over greed. Excellent story.

Faith Graham - Hollywood, FL
Very distressing report. This is why I choose PBS over CNN. Thanks for the great reporting.

(anonymous)
We have a product proven in the fields of Soy Beans in NC by multiple farmers where drought stricken fields have produced larger crops than before the drought. It has been tested and marketed for years. There are scientific testimonials that will support this "Soy Soap"..It makes the plant feel threatened and therefore digs it's roots deeper and becomes more stable. Please look at the website BIOBASED.US for the videos and before and after pictures of the crops. I feel you will see the benefits
of this. I am willing to provide samples to farmers and go with them to explain the product. The ultimate plan is to increase food production and end
world hunger. Please feel free to contact me at BioEpicurean@aol.com for
any questions and to set up samples. Thanks Les Snyder

Sherin Jose - cochin, kerala
The hapless transition of farmers -who bear the hunger of the nation -to the shrivelling victims of poverty and suicide is a real life paradox. This sociological index of anomic suicide is nothing but a reflection of a neo liberal regime,creeping neo imperialism in the shape of Monsanto,the emergence of a fissure-the elite and the non elite India and the gruesome apathy of an indifferent society.

Elizabeth Henggeler - Saint Louis, MO
"These farmers take loans to buy seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers. If they follow organic way of farming - they will not need to buy seeds, pesticides and fertilizers from corporations - there are ways in
organic farming to make pesticides and fertilizers. This way loans they take would be minimal (mainly for buying cattle for farming), compared to what
they are taking today. But someone has to explain to them their benefits. They just see lower productivity in organic way of farming but do not see far
lower risk. It's important for them to gain confidence in organic methods of farming."To the above quote -
US famers take loans every year to buy inputs (seeds, fertilizer) they are
called operating notes. It's just how farming works, inputs are expensive, but necessary, organic or inorganic.I'm interested to know what kind of organic pesticides and fertilizers a farmer could make without buying some kind of resource. They don't originate
out of thin air. Also a pesticide is a pesticde organic or inorganic - meaning it kills pests, at least inorganic pesticides are regulated by law, organics aren't. Lots of poisons are "natural" just becasue they are natural
doesn't mean I want them sprayed on my crops. Also to the point about buying cattle for farming. I think a few cattle probably cost a bit more than
a year's supply of seeds.Also about organic farming being lower risk, not true either. So if you follow organic practices, your crop won't get wiped out by too much rain or not enough, or by a pest infestation? Farmers deal with risk every day, every minute. It's their choice part of the tradeoff of getting to work outside, on land their fathers farmed and as independent businessmen. You wouldn't expect doctors to use technology that is 50 years old, please don't expect US or international farmers to. While I admire everyone's concern for
the horrible farmer suicide rate in India, I would ask people to learn more
about both sides of the organic vs. inorganic farming argument.

William E Marks - Edgartown, Massachusetts
Yes, the water and food scene in India is grim. So much so - that loss of livestock, crops, pride, and even loss of the lives of loved ones - establishes suicide as an option. "Seeds of Suicide" does a good job bringing this plight to the world.
Question: Does such ruthless and calculated control of water and food by transnationals in collusion with politicians represent a form of slavery and, in a way, genocide? William E. Marks

saint john, canada
This is a very interesting site. You should promote this a lot more.

aliya shahzad - calgary, canada
I am a new Canadian. This practice has been done in Pakistan too but with the same bad results. There, companies offer incentives to the main person who gave them dreams of good crops, may be they get 1st &2nd crops with profit but later on they are complaining about the bad soil. In addition these people show them that it is very successful in America and farmers get impressed and start using their seeds and others things, but after a while they came to know the truth.Is there any way to get back for good and healthy soil and stop them from doing wrong to us?

Jacob Ramsammy - Bridgewater, New Jersey
Folks,Please hear me! Your comments are all good ones. We can hold debates on who is responsible for the condition in which these folks live. We can blame their government, their lending institutions and their ignorance and we may be right. But while we are debating about who is to be blamed, failed crops, the suicide, the unpaid debts, the un-schooled children and the overall living condition is cycled into the next generation.We can and must make a difference, one village at time. Let's empower these farmers by ploughing their fields each season so that they can better provide for their families in a lasting way. Write me for details. jcrmsmmy@optonline.net

Joumana Rizk - New York, NY
There is a local Indian NGO that is working in four states to end farmer's suicide. It is called the M.A. Math and is led by world-renowned humanitarian and spiritual leader Amma. Anyone can go on her website and donate money or volunteer services. You can make a difference here. Please take a look at www.amma.org/humanitarian-activities/social/farmer-project.html(initiation page)
and
www.amma.org/humanitarian-activities/social/farmer-project2.html (update page)

Rammohan Potturi - Hyderabad, India
It's a shame on the part of parliamentarians of the largest democracy of the world, of an economy which claims it to be an agrarian economy, wherein 70 to 80% of the population either directly or indirectly depend upon agriculture as their main occupation. The farmer who tills the land and cultivates the farms to feed the millions of people goes without a square meal per day even today. He does not have a day's free time to relax, he does not have good clothing, he does not have good shelter, he does not have medical or health care from government. He does not have the very basics of life. He has to work, work and work all through his life...no retirement, no pension, no gratuity and one day he dies the death of agony. Some many governments have come at the centre and States since we became independent, but not a single government is committed to change this situation. Cheating,fraud, corruption, bad policies, continued politics, culminate to humiliate and kill our farmers ruthlessly. A day will come and it is not too far when we will not have a single farmer to till the fields, and a day will also come when we will all be forced to look for alternate foods to survive. Shame. Shame. Shame.

Susmita Barua - Lexington, KY
I have added this episode in my blog today. I have been engaged in educating people about the systemic blindspots in capitalism - how our centralized fiat monetary system is a legacy of colonial thinking and period. This fraudulant and unsustainable currency system - the very medium through which all transaction of human labor, skill and products take place needs to be discussed openly and publicly. It is corrupting all human institutions and devastating the lives of people and planet everywhere. Please share it.
http://conscious-capitalism.blogspot.com

Dr.Vikram D. Sharma - Jaunpur, U.P.
It [farmer suicide] is really very much shameful for the entire country as well as world community and human beings in such a country like India where GDP growth is around 9% and billionaires are increasing in thousands very fast every year . On one side India is shining and on another side, farmers, artisans, labourers and other ignorant people basically belonging to the rural poor family are committing suicides. Modern system of life and modern western model of development are held responsible for such suicidal incidents. If we go back to the traditional system of farming and life style , we will get the solutions. I have the innovative tips to reduce the input costs of agriculture and make it most profitable occupation.

(anonymous)
When a farmer from rural India is asked to compete under the guise of Free-trade with a farmer from US who has been given subsidies by US government, how is it fair to him ? BT seeds are marketed with a promise of a better yield. The naive and uneducated farmers gamble their money on it, hoping they would get a better yield. But they do not realize that a bad season can also put them in debt. These farmers take loans to buy seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers. If they follow organic way of farming - they will not need to buy seeds, pesticides and fertilizers from corporations - there are ways in organic farming to make pesticides and fertilizers. This way loans they take would be minimal (mainly for buying cattle for farming), compared to what they are taking today. But someone has to explain them their benefits. They just see lower productivity in organic way of farming but do not see far lower risk. It's important for them to gain confidence in organic methods of farming.

J Kwon - Los Angeles, CA
Shame on Bt seeds!! They are murderers! Capitalism kills!

(anonymous)
How can I help? Does anybody know of any NGOs or other organizations that are helping these people?

Jospeh M - Mumbai, Mahrashtra
The pitiful fate of Indian farmer is many folded. First he is affected by crop failure , the reason can be attributed to genetically modified seeds. Then, he never gets the actual price where as the commodity he produces are sold for three or four times in the newly started Future commodity exchanges where as he gets only a pittance for his produce. Where ever commodity exchanges are in action except in India, there the farmer is the main beneficiary, but in India, the middle men who boost the prices at the Commodity Exchanges like Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd and National Commodity & Derivative Exchange Ltd are the ones who are making real money. Govt is helpless on the subject.... The cry of the farmer in distress is diluted in the hue and roar of globalisation.

Rohit Kumar - Mumbai, MAH
My comments and my own point of view can be read at rohit05kumar.blogspot.com (an evening in a clinic)

Des Moines, IA
It is sad that a film maker with an anti-GMO, anti-business bias is exploiting the situation of Indian farmers to slander BT seed products. If they are so expensive and provide no benefits, farmers should not and would not buy them. They are not stupid, they see what works. Nothing stops them from going back to freely available seed and replanting for free except it doesn't work as well. If organic is so sustainable, they would be using it. The real problem for the Indian farmers is competition with highly mechanized and subsidized cotton farmers in the US and the terrible weather they have had. BT did nothing to create either problem. Also, BT only kills bugs. It promises nothing for disease resistance and does nothing to increase the need for fertilizers. It is the genetics of the cotton that the BT gene was put into that determines the need for certain cultural requirements.

Jacob Ramsammy - Bridgewater, New Jersey
A few years ago I have visited South India and I have seen first hand the poverty level of our fellow man. On my return to the US I started a non profit organization (501 (C) (3) status that is geared to assist the farmers. The organization's goal is to purchase a tractor each year that will be used in a coop effort that will benefit small communities in developing nations in a lasting way. The members of our organization all have jobs and 100 % of funds received goes to help the poor. If you would like to support this cause please E-mail me. Our web is www.compassioninactionintl.org

Aude Mourot - Puducherry, South India
Thank you very much for coming up with such a sensitive subject. Here in Tamil Nadu, we have an association that produces organic agriculture. Small villages surrounding us are mainly farmers and they are using too many chemicals. Today the rice contains up to 25 chemicals inside. We provide freely the knowledge of old organic Indian pesticides and fertilizer. If we can help for a greener tomorrow, don't hesitate to contact us.

shekhar veera - The Woodlands, TX
The documentary highlights the issue quite well. I have been tracking this issue for over a year now and what shocks me the most is that how come time after time, farmer after farmer, since 1997 falls into the same trap? There must definitely be a few success stories at least which impel the farmers to take the unwanted risks. Otherwise no logic explains the need for such risks which pushes a farmer to such extremes.

Dileep - Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
A well made documentary. We have been seeing, talking and feeling bad about the issues for the past decade or so. I am sure this documentary will tell people outside Andhra Pradesh the price that we paid for so called "development."

Avnish Garg - Birmingham, Midlands
I strongly believe that the developed world has double standards for itself in comparison with the developing and underdeveloped world. In order to promote its economic motive, it is ignoring and oppressing the others by implementing policies such as dumping and GM crops. What we learn out of this is that all that glitters is not gold and all things foreign are not in the best of the nation and its people. I would request the government of India to please study its own strengths and resources before relying on foreign sources for help.

lock haven, pa
I enjoyed the video and the text and all this information. I learned a lot about another place and a crisis that I really had no idea even existed!

Bijaya Kumar Sahu - New Delhi, Indiana
The suicides of thousands of farmers in India tell the distressing and revealing of country agriculture and livelihood. The desperation that marks the lives millions of farmers is indeed a serious concern and national tragedy. The disastrous policies, woeful access to affordable credit, greedy and corrupt middlemen, the technology, which is not suitable for the non-irrigated areas (and much of cotton is grown in dry land regions) and indifferent administrations are among the factors that have pushed farmers to their breaking point. On one side, government has been coming out with new policies, technology and credit system; and on the other side, the farmer is not getting any benefit from those policies.

Ziad Abdul - Trivandrum, Kerala
Shame on us Indians that such high profile documentaries on our problems are being done by U.S students. We Indians have it relegated to inside pages of newspapers and TV news in briefs. We should ask the U.S to take care of our farmers.

Shibsankar Jena - Jnu, New Delhi, India
The hegemony of the western development discourse in most of the third world countries has marginalised the local indigenous knowledge system which has created so many negative consequences in third world societies. Among these, agriculture is one of the examples where increasing rates of farmer suicide, the growing gap between rich and poor farmers and the ecological crisis of the dry land agriculture is the result of dominating nature of modern development discourse. The deconstruction of modern development discourse through a dialogue between local knowledge and scientific knowledge can be a suitable approach for the overall development of marginalised section.

Sarasota, FL
This is a very precise and well-researched piece. The case of suffering farmers is in part the result of WTO led entities and also of the Indian government. I am glad that the recent Qatar rounds have been cancelled. Amazing jobs!

Prabhu Nath Pandey - NEW DELHI, INDIA
Its a trap laid by the west to reconquer India again. Seed is the heart of agriculture. Agriculture is the heart of Indian economy. Allowing the west to sell bt seeds is nothing but giving control of your agriculture to the west . India, in coming time, is on the path of giving its freedom back to west .We love being governed , being ruled. Freedom is not for us.

Laxminarayana VN - Mysore, Karnataka
I was not able to watch the film because it did not open. However from my angle, not withstanding other views, I would like to add that the main culprit is the western mode of development and the value system supporting it. These are the basic causes of economic breakdown of our farmers and the suicides. Traditionally India believed and practiced food-centered affluence unlike the west, which has the money-centered affluence. A poor man in India was, I emphasize, was the one who had nothing to eat. But the perception of the west, which was largely based on the businessman's world outlook, a poor man means a man without money. Now, thanks to the British colonialism and the American led imperialism and all that goes in the name of progress and development, India is led into this cannibalistic money centered world, assisted by the agents of the west who are blind with ignorance of India and avarice. Both the so-called richness and the poverty are the fallout of this anti human tirade that is going on in the name of LPG etc. Farmers are not committing suicide in the strict sense of the term but are strangled to death by the inhuman arms of the killer economy practiced all over the world by the MNCs who have acquired enormous powers to override national borders and constitutions, left or right.

Gajanan Kadam - Pune, Maharashtra, India
I think suicide by farmers is an event that he ends his life without his own desire, but for a lot of another reasons. I think the main reason for suicide is indebtedness. We cannot solve this problem without political desire.

Milan, Italy
Thank you for your research. We all need to be awakened about the side effect of so-called progress and start choosing to feed our brain and stomach avoiding multinational labels.

Ravi - Bhopal, MP
Thanks for such an enlightening data, and we hope our government would take the above stated steps in mind for their village programs for our farmers.

Pallavi Shrivastava - Tempe, AZ
It is indeed a very serious issue and no straightforward solutions have been identified. There are two immediate, crucial parts to the problem: 1). Reducing and eliminating suicides. (Some of the solutions are mentioned above, also the help imparted to reach the actual target). 2). Help the affected families and liability bearer after the death.
I am really trying to look for some resources to get help to the widows, kids of the farmers left behind. Please do share if you have any information or ideas to tackle it (pallavi.s@gmail.com). It is indeed a great coverage with valuable information on reality.

Jennifer Stewart - San Antonio, TX
If they are pimping poison to people to use on their crops they are no better than drug dealers in my opinion.

Mohan Surve - Mumbai, Maharashtra
The farmers are trapped partly by ignorance and partly by the ignorance of the rulers about how markets, especially multinationals, controlled the means of livelihoods. Market has created a need of chemical fertilizer and pesticides. Farmers have forgotten its traditional method especially the natural processes in cultivation and lost control by adopting these inputs. The middlemen exploit farmers and unfortunately the government does not protect the interest of the farmers in a true sense. The victims are not only farmers, but in the future, you and me.

Sheetal More - Mumbai, Maharashtra
The number of suicides of farmers is increasing day by day; it is just because of the ignorance of the government.

Al Sheldon - Saint Louis, Missouri
GM products are not to blame for the poor cotton crop...bad weather is. Had the inputs been poor and the weather bad this situation would have been far worse. GM may be able to help against water shortages someday...these suicides are tragic but let's not blame science or big business for all that is bad in our lives.

Sarbeswara Sahoo - New Delhi, India
Suicides of farmers in Maharastra really needs to be debated seriously. Because this problem is observed to all the dry regions of the country which are characterised more or less the same with features like a semi-feudal and semi-colonial agrarian structure beset with usurious money lending, dependent on rain, mostly inhabited by the dalits and the marginilesed vulnerable to discrimination and exclusion, interlinked agrarian credit market and apathetic bureaucracy. All these factors are working for suicides in the Maharastra and other dry land of the country. Hence the holistic model of dry land development, i.e. the watershed technology, is to be implemented with more rigour to minimise the suicide problem.

Srijit Mishra - Mumbai, Maharashtra
The situation is grim and serious. I ought to have read this earlier. In some related work in Maharashtra I observe the following: an agrarian crisis has precipitated a spate of suicides - SMR for farmers in Maharashtra 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 by USA, low import tariffs, failure of MCPS and withdrawal of the state - declining public investment in agriculture, poor government agricultural extension and 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 with greater interest burden. In short, the farmer is faced with yield, price, credit, income or weather uncertainties.Those interested in the details may have a look at the following.
(a) Srijit Mishra (2006a) Suicide of Farmers in Maharashtr, (submitted to the Government of Maharashtra), www.igidr.ac.in/suicide/suicide/htm
(b) Sriijt Mishra (2006b), Farmers' Suicides in Maharashtra, Economic
and Political Weekly, Vol. 41, No. 16, pp.1538-1545,
http://www.epw.org.in/articles/2006/04/9990.pdf.
(c) Srijit Mishra (2006c), Suicide Mortality Rates across States of
India, 1975-2001: A Statistical Note, Economic and Political Weekly,
Vol. 41, No. 16, pp. 1566-1569,
http://www.epw.org.in/articles/2006/04/9994.pdf.

Jnana Shetty - Pune, Maharashtra, India
Free trade agreements by the government of India in areas of agriculture are the cause of suicide of farmers in India. It's up at an alarming rate. I was looking up the net if anyone has documented a film on the subject and I found 'Seeds of Suicide'. Chad Heeter has done a thought provoking job in his own way.

Willingboro, New Jersey
Unbelievable! This is another unreported, important situation which affects all of us humans who share and, for each of our short lives, are blessed to share this planet. It appears this information is deemed to be not newsworthy by our press here in the USA. Shame! on us, our press and whatever it is we concede to be important and life affirming for ourselves and all the earth's children!!!

Andrew Paul Gutierrez - Berkeley, CA
As a researcher of thirty years in cotton worldwide, all of this was predictable. Silver bullets to complex ecological problems rarely work.

Gandhi Krishna - New York, NY
Good to see some coverage on the pathetic situation on the farmers in India. But, personally I have seen the local state governments in India acting very irresponsibly with zero accountability. Some of the above comments have over used the word "impoverished"; why don't you pause a second and ask yourself who made them poor? Who looted them? Who is responsible for the maligned state of conditions? It's you colonialists. U.K. should be prosecuted for its barbaric crusades and the queen should be dethroned to Indian central prison.

- Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
The rich should be ashamed they are rich, just as those who want to be rich. I would rather be self-sufficient, so the rich will eventually have to go back to work. The gap between the rich and the poor is heavily employed by interest on debt. I am ashamed to say that my yearly extra automotive costs would equal the yearly wages for 84 of India's peasant farmers. Just imagine if I were to use this money every year to strategically supply native organic seeds and at least an equal proportion of skilful farmers/advisors to work towards the objective of debt reduction and self-sufficiency.Pariki said, "I am not angry with anyone because the money lender has the right to ask for repayment," yet Pariki surely knows thousands of his own country's farmers will end their lives from the same tragedy as his dear wife. After pondering this unexpected statement I found some answers. In order for this man to find peace and move forward he would have to first realize how dearly precious the lives of his children, friends and health meant to him, and secondly accepting full responsibility for his debts. I have more compassion for the distressed underpaid uneducated peasant farmer who drinks pesticide to his grave, than the distressed overpaid educated professional stockbroker who jumps to his grave through the window of a skyscraper. Am I right to pass judgment this way? I am not so sure. I am also aware of the majority of bankrupt farmers and stockbrokers who did not end their lives in their darkest moments. How did they survive? I think most of them survived like Pariki did!

Navin Kurian - Mumbai, Maharashtra
Last month when I was hosted by villagers, I was so overwhelmed by their hospitality. I knew I should do something to repay their hospitality. They provided us food and stay without asking anything in return. If a guest stays in village houses, pay the villager for the food in kind (books, utensils, clothes). This would improve their way of life, not make them money minded. Also prevent big hotels from taking over land and spoiling the delicate ecology of that place and destroying habitats of endangered species. This project needs deep thinking so as to create a better future and not destroy
the future of the people there. When I say destroy I am reminded of the cities Calangute (Goa), India, where all the locals have sold their property and left! The place is only filled with hotels and there is not ecology left, i.e. wild birds, etc. Also drugs and alcohol and rave parties would just destroy the ancient culture and dignity of these villages.

(anonymous)
The epidemic is real, and there are other reasons for the suicides. The modern way of agriculture has been improving the agriculture production in India, which means the pesticides and the hybred seeds work perfectly well, as expected. The main reason for the suicides is that the famers can not pay back the loans. This is because of drought, which means the famer has nothing to sell, or because of a good monsoon when there is an excellent production from all of the farmers, which drives the produce prices so low that sometimes the farmers can not even recover the production costs and can not pay back the loans.You can imagine the result. The farmer has to go on taking loans (in hopes that next season is going to be a good one) until the point he breaks down.

brent everett - Garden Grove, CA
As detailed in the documentary "The Future of Food," Monsanto is on a world-wide quest to take over the seed market. What they do is genetically alter seed and patent it. But beyond that, the seeds grow plants whose seeds are sterile, forcing a farmer to buy more seed rather than harvesting seed from his current crop. But it goes beyond this --the newest generation of seed won't germinate until sprayed with Roundup!How does this happen? Part of it has to do with IMF loans that dictate opening up markets and other "austere financial measures." What THAT means to local farmers in many second and third world countries around the world is that subsidized US exports (such as seeds, fertilizers, food staples) put them out of business. They can no longer compete with the cheap, subsidized imports in their own country. Part of the IMF re-payment "measures" may also include farmers raising crops that are not in their best ecological or economical interest.

Nora Halbert - Olympia, Washington
I completely agree with the above comments about these impoverished farmers being used as guinnea pigs, it's absolutely barbaric. I'm doing a paper on reasons for suicide in my college writing class and coming across this I decided to use it as an example of why people may commit suicide. In Aristotle's 'Ethics' he says suicide is selfish not only by diminishing the well-being of so many others around them but to "deny society a productive citizen." The farmers in India I fear feel themselves no longer a productive memeber of society with so much failure in their lot as farmers. Not only is it wrong to test an unknown science on a people impoverished and living off the land but the reprucussions of feeling useless leading then to suicide is murder and these corporations should be dealt with as murderers.

Leesa Oliver - Houston, Texas
How is it that genetically altered seeds can be sold to farmers in one of the most impoverished countries in the world when there still is so much not known about this science. It seems they are simply guinea pigs for the big corporations that produce these seeds at the expense of the poor farmers. How does their government as well as the American government allow this? They should all be held accountable; especially the corporations.

Leesa Oliver - Houston, Texas
How is it that genetically altered seeds can be sold to farmers in one of the most impoverished countries in the world when there still is so much not known about this science? It seems they are simply guinea pigs for the big corporations that produce these seeds at the expense of the poor farmers. How does their government as well as the American government allow this? They should all be held accountable, especially the corporations.

(anonymous)
This story is based on the usual line of how globalization is bad for some people without adequately explaining how the suicides are related to globalization. Is introduction of new technology, even if of questionable effectiveness, considered globalization? Most people usually call that exchange of ideas. It is the local system of questionable sales practices, lending and land ownership that causes the suicides, not introduction of new agricultural technology. It is similar to blaming globalization for car accidents that occur on the streets of Bombay.

Seshadri Ramani - Peoria, Illinois
I felt sad for the ignorant farmers who believed the vicious marketing of the big companies. The traditional farming techinques of using organic fertilizers were replaced with heavy use of chemical fertilizers which not only spoil the eco-system but also places the farmers under heavy debt.As was well said in the program, the farmers of India need access to:
1) Credits with low interest rate
2) Access to markets elimitaing the middlemen who eat into their profits
3) Quality advice on weather, latest organic farming techniques.Thanks again for providing an eye-opener.

Kevin Anderson - Olympia, Washington
Thank you, thank you for doing this story! The video looks terrific. I will share it with everyone I know.