That excellent magazine from Nepal, Himal, used to be monthly, went to appearing every two months, it is now back to monthly from July 2006.
I have this article about the farmer suicides in Vidarbha in the July issue.
July 01, 2006
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Dilip: A very lucid article.
A couple of things: This article has some interesting points on the cotton glut: http://www.indiatogether.com/2005/may/agr-vidcrisis.htm
The glut seems to have been led by a combination fo failed promises and market forces (in this case, booming international markets which saw cotton acreage rise this year by 20%, according to the article).
I don't have any expertise to comment on the general demand-supply patterns or minimum prices or even if vidarbha needs to grow cotton or why these suicides are localized to cotton farmers (if indeed they are). What interests me is the BT cotton advertising - one of the factors you have stated. I have a few questions:
1. In your talks with farmers, did they draw the wrong conclusions from the advertising/packaging of BT cotton seeds regarding pesticides? You do mention that the advertising/packaging has some precautionary labelling - is this ignored? Or is it not noticed at all?
2. what is the regulation on advertising? Has it changed given feedbcak (if any) that there has been significant non-comprehension by the consumers (i.e. farmers) about the BT cotton seeds?
3. is any NGO or organization working to educate farmers on the BT cotton advertising?
4. What do you think would be the expertise of the farmers in their area (farming)? They may be illiterate but I am sure they are not stupid. What other factors might account for their not heeding precautionary warnings? (if they exist, of course).
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