The government of Maharashtra, a state in western India, has acknowledged for the first time that Bt cotton is a failure that will likely reduce yields by 40%, from 3.5 to 2.2 million quintal. The region’s cotton farmers will face about Rs6,000 crore, over 1 billion USD. Accumulated losses are to be even more staggering: Rs 20,000 crore, or about 3.6 billion USD, due to rising cultivation costs.
Faced with unbearable debt and health problems, the National Crime Records Bureau predicts that 5,000 farmers will have committed suicide by the end of the year, compared to last year’s 3,500. If you’re surprised by this number, know that Monsanto’s cost-inflated and ineffective seeds have been driving farmers to suicide for quite some time, and is considered to be one of the largest — if not the largest — cause of the quarter of a million farmer suicides over the past 16 years.
“The agrarian crisis sweeping through the state due to Bt cotton failure has only widened,” says Kishore Tiwari from the farm advocacy group Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti. “Unlike when cotton crop failure was reported only from Vidarbha and Marathawada, reports of such crop failure are now coming in from Khandesh in north Maharashtra, too.