Small farmers most prone to suicide, show government data

Maharashtra led all states in farmer suicide numbers in 2015, according to NCRB figures.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi | Updated: January 10, 2017 8:58 am
farmer suicide, suicide, maharashtra drought, drought, marathwada drought, marathwada farmers, marathwada farmer suicide, ncrb,no rain, no modern technology, marginal farmers, indian express news, indian express explained Medium farmers, who have between 2 hectares and 10 hectares of land, contributed a fourth of the 8,007 farmer suicides in the country in 2015.

More than 72% of farmers who commit suicide have less than two hectares of land, latest data on farmer suicides compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show. According to the NCRB report for the year 2015, less than 2% of farmers who committed suicide were large farmers with more than 10 hectares of land.

A hectare of land is roughly equivalent to 2.5 acres.

Medium farmers, who have between 2 hectares and 10 hectares of land, contributed a fourth of the 8,007 farmer suicides in the country in 2015.

It’s not as though the smaller the farmer the more likely he is to commit suicide due to farm distress. According to the NCRB data, small farmers were 45.2% of all farmer victims, while marginal farmers made up 27.4%.

According to the latest (2010-11) landholding census by the Ministry of Agriculture, 67.1% of all landholdings are marginal — smaller than 1 hectare — while 17.9% are small (1-2 hectares). Medium (2-10 hectares) and large (over 10 hectares) holdings are 14.3% and 0.7% of the total respectively.

However, the share of land under cultivation by marginal and small farmers is much smaller. The census shows that the operational holding (i.e., the area under cultivation) with marginal farmers is 22.5%, with small farmers it is 22.1%, with medium farmers it is 44.8%, and with large farmers it is 10.6%.

Srijit Mishra, the director of Nabakrushna Choudhury Centre for Development Studies, Bhubaneswar, and who has devoted years to the study of the Indian agrarian crisis, said, “The data needs to be studied further for a proper comment. But, in a general sense, farmers who have alternate sources of livelihood (including as agricultural labourers) may cope with the crisis better when compared to those who may depend almost entirely on farming; relatively speaking, this may be one of the factors separating the marginal from the small farmers.

“Also, farmers who are enterprising and have seen success can find it difficult to handle (the situation) when things fail. Statistics may also not be completely reflecting the complexity of the problem. The data on large farmers says they make up 2% of farmer suicides. That is almost twice their share in farmer population!”

Out of 2,195 suicides committed by “Marginal Farmers”, 834 were reported in Maharashtra and 354 in Chhattisgarh, accounting for 38% and 16% of the total.

Among suicides committed by “Small Farmers” — the largest group among victims of farmer suicides — Maharashtra (1,285 out of 3,618) again topped with a 35.5% share, followed by Karnataka (751 out of 3,618) which accounted for 20% of such suicides.

A total of 160 “Large Farmers” committed suicides in 2015. Telangana, with 79 such suicides, accounted for almost half the numbers. Chhattisgarh was a distant second with 37 suicides by large farmers.

Among the states with the worst figures of farmer suicides, Chhattisgarh stood out as the only one where more marginal farmers (354) committed suicide than small farmers (310). In most other states, suicide figures for small farmers were more than double that of marginal farmers.

Suicides among medium farmers were almost comparable to those among marginal farmers, with Chhattisgarh again being an exception. Against 354 marginal farmer suicides in the state, there were only 154 medium farmer suicides.

NEXT: WHAT IS DRIVING AGRICULTURAL LABOURERS TO SUICIDE?

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  1. K
    Kaliyug
    Jan 11, 2017 at 7:13 pm
    With the potion rising the way it is in India there will be no room to do agriculture. Strict FAMILY Planning is the only solution.
    Reply
    1. D
      Dillip Patnaik
      Jan 10, 2017 at 12:17 am
      Government should subsidize income of small farmers and provide vocational technical training to earn money apart from farming.
      Reply
      1. G
        greenspace
        Jan 9, 2017 at 11:30 pm
        Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev has exactly said the above in one of his Q and A sessions. It does not need a research to come to this conclusion. Keep observation and common-sense will give you the answer!
        Reply
        1. B
          babu
          Jan 9, 2017 at 9:16 pm
          Just wait for 2020 most of the farmers will be gone after that lt;br/gt;They artificialyou raze the daal price because it is not possible to CanadaIan grain as ioctl grown food
          Reply
          1. L
            Legal
            Jan 11, 2017 at 12:27 am
            Farmers' suicides r noticed only in states which use maximum Agrochemicals and GMlt;br/gt;-lt;br/gt;TN, Karnataka, APs, Maharashtra, Punjab witness the majority of farmers' suicideslt;br/gt;-lt;br/gt;It is these so called developed states that use the maximum farm chemicals and GMlt;br/gt;-lt;br/gt;Fertilizer and the GM lobbies are big mafias who bribe the CMs and central Minsiterslt;br/gt;-lt;br/gt;The day India bans 'Chemical Farming' and 'GMs', all our farming woes will endlt;br/gt;-lt;br/gt;The day India readopts our cow based organic farming, farmers will see prosperitylt;br/gt;-lt;br/gt;Sikkim CM - Pawan Chamling is the only honest and corruption free politician in Indialt;br/gt;-lt;br/gt;All other Politicians right from Modi to Raja are agents of some MNCs or Biotechs
            Reply
            1. A
              Asi
              Jan 11, 2017 at 5:58 am
              Anti-National Poor Farmers!!!!!!!
              Reply
              1. N
                neerja
                Jan 11, 2017 at 12:44 pm
                this cashless india will further make these very farmers desperate , so it is a stealthy way to compel them to give up their land to multinationals
                Reply
                1. N
                  neerja
                  Jan 11, 2017 at 12:41 pm
                  That's why Government should implement solutions instead of wasting country's resources on regal memorials, bullet trains and smart cities.
                  Reply
                  1. R
                    rajan
                    Jan 10, 2017 at 1:45 am
                    Rather than dealing with the grave situation, the Government is Busy with smart cities, bullet trains etc. That day is not far off when all land- holdings will be In the hands of commercial houses with surviving farmers working as ill paid unskilled labourers. Government has just slogans for the poor with no intent to improve their lot.
                    Reply
                    1. S
                      Sunil Kokrady
                      Jan 10, 2017 at 12:06 am
                      We investigate the data only to come out with presumed result. In fact even ordinary unnatural death investigation is not complete without Age, education , number of family member, bank transaction or even social environment. Farmers could be forced to commit suicide by money lenders, political strongmen and even by family for opposing the changes of time. Let us have full picture of all these deaths before we even think of correcting the situation. My own feeling is that in India farmers suicide has become political weapon instead cause of concern. Political parties use these deaths to force govt to give huge amount as compensations , loan waivers which again goes to wrong people and cause more misery to farmers. We never consider that our farmers are denied right to sell their property at market price like others. They have to pay huge bribe to political systems to change the Land use Notification. Even 2313 Land Reform Act could be the reason since it curtails farmers freedom to sell his property at his desired price under Social Impact essment. Hence my request your esteem journos to give complete picture rather than blinkered picture so that we can come out with right answers.
                      Reply
                      1. K
                        K.Vijay Kumar
                        Jan 10, 2017 at 2:34 am
                        The Government is busy in nurturing the rich.Where is time for the leaders to solve the problems of the poor.
                        Reply
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