Economic hardship causes farmers' suicide: Guj minister

Several farm activists in the past have claimed that as per the figures of National Crime Bureau, around 13,500 farmers have committed suicide in the state since 1998, with 2500 in last four years. DH illustration

Gujarat Agriculture Minister R C Faldu on Saturday claimed that the use of duplicate or fake seeds, fertiliser and insecticides in the state was responsible for economic distress among farmers, leading to their suicide.

“If one ends up using duplicate seeds, fertilisers and insecticides, it can cause the crop to fail for the year and massive loss, driving some of them to suicide... We (farmers) are not yet so prosperous economically that if the crop fails for a year, we would be able to sustain it,” Faldu was seen telling a gathering of farmers in a video that went viral on social media. “The farmer has to commit suicide even 70 years after independence? It is because the farmers are not encouraged the way they should.”

Several farm activists in the past have claimed that as per the figures of National Crime Bureau, around 13,500 farmers have committed suicide in the state since 1998, with 2500 in last four years.

Faldu, who was addressing farmers from Junagadh, Porbandar and Gir Somnath districts in Saurashtra region, then went on to advise farmers to purchase and use only authentic and approved seeds and fertilisers for farming. “Please inspect the label before buying. If you are illiterate, take help of someone literate and only then buy,” he said.

Cong blames govt

The agriculture minister was referring to the availability of spurious seeds and duplicate fertilisers in the state. “Many have opened factories at desolate places to manufacture duplicate insecticides, fertilisers and spurious seeds across the state. They are destroying farmers. We have initiated a drive to nab them and have also initiated action. ...we have been able to find such factories,” the minister said.

The Opposition Congress pounced on the statement by the agriculture minister, saying that Faldu was stating the obvious. “We have been maintaining this for long and today agriculture minister himself is accepting that there is a menace of spurious seeds and duplicate fertiliser and pesticides. We have made numerous representations but the government does not seem interested in addressing this serious concern of farmers,” Harshad Rebadia, Congress leader from the state said. 

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Economic hardship causes farmers' suicide: Guj minister

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