07: Feeding us, but killing themselves…

The Maharashtra government carried out a door-to-door survey of farmer households in the six districts of Vidarbha ( Amravati, Akola, Yavatmal, Washim, Buldhana and Wardha) that have seen the highest number of farmer suicides. Seventeen lakh households were covered, in 8,351 villages.

  • 75% of households in the six districts were distressed.
  • Over one-fourth of the 17 lakh families were under “maximum distress”.
  • More than three-quarters of the rest were under “medium distress”;
  • One-fifth were shown not to have any distress.

Major sources of the distress

  • Debt (over half the households)
  • crop losses or failure, (70%)
  • expenses for a daughter’s marriage, (>3lakh families)
  • the rising cost of healthcare.

The state government’s website puts the number of farm suicides at 2,400 in these six districts, between 2001 and 2006. It shows that this year has been by far the worst. By November, the number had reached 1,215.
The report admits that in spite of the prime minister’s and chief minister’s relief packages, the number of suicides in the six districts “continues to be in the range of 100 per month”.

Source: Government of Maharashtra, 2007