Food security of farmers essential to check suicides -S Harpal Singh

-The Indian Express

‘A farmer’s distress can be handled if he does not have to worry about his next meal’

If you ask Chate Gnaneshwar — from Emaikunta in Indervelli mandal of Adilabad district or other farmers who cultivate foodgrains for self-consumption like him — of a solution to control farmer suicides, he is most likely to point out towards ensuring food security for the poor agriculture community. “The distress brought upon by the failure of commercial crops like cotton and the volatility of markets can be by and large taken care of if the farmer does not have to worry about his next meal,” Mr. Gnaneshwar opined while talking to The Hindu on the importance of food security even for farmers.

He pointed out towards the neat stacks which he was making, of the harvested wheat while explaining his point of view. “I save enough of this wheat to last the family till next harvest,” he added to buttress his point of view. Pendur Bhagwant Rao, the Adivasi headman or patel of Samaka village, located about 2 km away from Emaikunta, concurred with Gnaneshwar’s opinion with regard to food security being crucial for the farming community too. He recalled the suicide of Thodasam Maruti in October last year and attributed poverty and attendant lack of food security as being a major reason for him (Maruti) to take the extreme step.

Promotion of millets

“There are 137 families in my village cultivating 689 acres of land mostly cotton in kharif. Only about 20 acres of it was under jowar which was once our staple diet,” he lamented as he talked about the ever decreasing incidence of cultivating food crops in the tribal belt. The aboriginal farmers in former composite Adilabad district were unaffected with the all pervading crisis in agriculture sector despite severe losses, until a couple of decades ago. The decline in millet cultivation had started then which finally resulted in loss of food security eventually ending in suicides for a growing number of farmers.

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The Hindu, 21 February, 2019,

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