Indian Farmer Suicides: One Every 30 Minutes

A farmer in India carrying a harvest in a field over his shoulder.

pixelfusion3d / Getty Images

If you read TreeHugger, you probably know about the shockingly high suicide rate among farmers in India. But it's not just high: it's one farmer every 30 minutes, according to a report [PDF] recently released by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University Law School. Smita Narula, co-author of the report, was a guest on Democracy Now! last week and gave a fantastic, articulate, and comprehensive overview of the issue.

In it, she puts the one-farmer-every-thirty-minutes statistic into an even more disconcerting context:

What these intense numbers don't reveal are two things. One is that the numbers themselves are failing to capture the enormity of the problem. In what we call a failure of information on the part of the Indian government, entire categories of farmers are completely left out of the purview of farm suicide statistics, because they don't formally own title to land. This includes women farmers, Dalit, or so-called lower caste farmers, as well as Adivasi, or tribal community farmers. In addition, the government's programs and the relief programs that they've offered fail to capture not only this broad category, but also fail to provide timely debt relief and compensation or address broader structural issues that are leading to these suicides in the country.

The video is really worth watching: it's less than eight minutes long and explains a lot about issues we should all be more aware of and concerned about. And you don't even have to click to another page—watch it right here: